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Kirsten Hardern
Kirsten Hardern

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Career Change to Code

Why am I changing careers?

One simple answer: I LOVE to code and program. Sure, I am not master of the trade yet, but dabbling in it here and there is enough to convince me that code is the perfect creative and logical blend.

For years, I have dedicated myself to studying Microbiology, Genetics and Biotechnology. I even graduated and with my degree landed myself a job in the laboratory. I should have been living the dream, right? Nope.

I would go home in the evenings, feeling exhausted and unsatisfied. Something was missing. I did not know what that something was until I started to help out family members build their websites on Wordpress.

Opportunity brought forward a curiosity and passion I never knew I had. I left the laboratory and instead found myself working in a corporate environment to align myself with the thinking patterns of businesses that work with tech. Even if only to a degree, understanding the way tech businesses make money and their consumer markets is eye-opening.

The journey of juggling learning and a full-time job

Well, I love learning new things about code. That makes it easier for me to forge my way through the unknown, despite there being mounds upon mounds of it.

I give my all in my workdays, but in order to avoid feeling lethargic or experience the dreaded burnout, I set a hard start and stop time for work to ensure that the hours I spend learning are uninterrupted and available to me. Sure, there are days I cannot follow this exactly due to emergencies or other odd circumstances, however, sticking as closely as I can to the work-home time boundary is life changing. Is it easy? No! Is it worth it? A thousand times, yes!

My findings: The best way to learn code and programming languages

I find that getting trapped in an overwhelming pool of tutorials and courses is the biggest pitfall when it comes to learning code. Do yourself a favour, stop placing pressure on yourself to be a whizz and be able to replicate code from theory. Code is best learned by practicing. This can be done by trying to replicate technologies that you are interested in making yourself.

Another issue is the feeling of having to learn at a rapid pace. If you don't understand something, even if you have put your "scheduled" time in for the subject, try other resources and practicing it until you have a firm understanding. The act of moving on to the next section because it seems like you are making swift progress is very destructive to your learning.

I mentioned getting suck in by many courses, however, whilst that is a problem it is also ok to learn the same subject through multiple resources. Not all teaching types are the same and one source may sit better with you than another. Remember though, practicing is where the magic lies. Don't hop several courses before attempting to practice.

My goal

I am building a solid foundation with code projects, whilst ensuring that I keep up with modern concepts through reading and interacting with tutorials that I find interesting.

With time, I hope to get a job that allows room for me to me guided and mentored by seniors so that I can adapt my practice to real-world standards and gain an even deeper level of understanding.

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Top comments (3)

christiankozalla profile image
Christian Kozalla

Sounds very nice. I wish you good luck and much fun coding!
I've seen on your profile that you're starting with React. I did this, too, but some month later, after I tried Vue.js, I kinda wished I had started with Vue.js.. It's a framework building single page applications, like react, but it's easier to learn (especially for beginners)

kirst_codes profile image
Kirsten Hardern

Thank you very much, Christian! I am loving the journey thus far.

Yes, I am starting with React. I have looked into Vue.js as well, however, I have scoped out the job market and have seen that there are far fewer jobs for Vue.js and that React is dominating. It is for this reason that I am looking to learn React first. Stress not though, I will not cast Vue.js aside!

I am sure that once I have a handle on React, that I will venture into Vue.js and see which I prefer. Thanks for the advice , I do appreciate it!

cedricdig2 profile image
cedricdig2 • Edited

Congratulations to you! And I wish you success in your new business. It's always lovely to read stories when a person has finally found himself and managed to achieve his goals.
I have a friend with a similar story. He thought that he would be an economist, but when he graduated from college and started working as a financier, he realized that it was not his. It turned out that he was very attracted to medicine.
He took phlebotomy courses — and now works at a local clinic. When to save money for training, he wants to go to pediatrics.
After all, life is fantastic.