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Lisa Maskovich
Lisa Maskovich

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How did I get on this path?

I grew up in an era where computers were not commonplace in residential homes. The only time I sat in front of a computer was in the quiet, dark computer lab at school. The computers were small yet somehow bulky, and gray but oddly also tan. The screens winked back at you with that all-familiar green blinking cursor. I would travel along the Oregon Trail trying to keep my family and oxen alive, try to follow along with Mavis Beacon as she attempted to teach me proper typing techniques, or do my best to figure out where Carmen San Diego was hiding.

The computer lab was small and in a portable building. They would send us there for around 45 minutes in groups of about 15. We had computer lab 2 or 3 times a month. I remember being worried that I would break the computer. I was intimidated by the technology and hyper concerned with following the directions perfectly.

When I was 16 my parents purchased a PC. It was the cheapest computer Circuit City sold and it came with the Encarta CD-ROM! There was no internet, so the computer was just a word processor, a place where I sat to write school papers. The computer was not fun. The computer was not exciting. It was the location where I made many late-night mental declarations like, "I'm not going to procrastinate ever again!", and then a few weeks later... "Why do I keep doing this to myself? Okay, focus... plate tectonics, what should I write about plate tectonics... does my teacher even read this?"

I left high-school with a positive outlook on life and zero aspirations! I worked some delightfully crappy jobs, got my first cellphone, bought my first car, and then..hmm? I was 20, I hadn't accomplished much beyond owning a Nokia and having a car loan. I decided to dabble in some higher education and with no plan or direction, I began taking classes at community college. Eventually, I transferred to the local University and got myself a BS degree in Construction Management! All is well, I have now figured out my life. hmmm, maybe not.

I finished college around the same time that massive layoffs were taking place. So I took my college degree, my positive attitude, my large student loans, and embarked on an unpaid internship! Eventually, my unpaid internship became a paid role and things started to come together. I worked mostly on street and sidewalk improvement projects.

After a few years on that job, I had the opportunity to live in Europe and I couldn't pass that up. I spent 5 years in Europe. I made some great friends! I learned to speak terrible Italian, terrible French, terrible German, and terrible Dutch. In 5 years I should have become proficient in at least one European language, but I can't say that I did. Shame on me.

While living in Europe I began studying Geographic Information Systems. I was sure that this would set me off on a bright future!

Moving back to the States I ended up in Kansas to work for a big GPS company. I was hired as a cartographer to help make nautical navigation maps! Unfortunately, even though the company required applicants to be proficient in GIS, they did not use it. They had proprietary software that did the job and that was what we used. The daily tasks were more about QA and had very little to do with cartography. The longer I worked there I was becoming less and less hire-able elsewhere. It didn't take long for me to realize that the job was not the right fit, but one thing that I really liked about the job was that it provided me the opportunity to interact with software engineers.

One particular SE inspired me to go for it! He told me about a few different programs that might be good to pursue and that is how I ended up at the Lambda school.

Coding, WebDev, and Computer Science have been my life since starting the program back in February. I attend classes and work on projects M-F and on the weekends I spend time preparing for the upcoming curriculum. It is the most challenging thing I have ever done. I have cried when I've been exhausted and still not understanding a concept, I have danced excitedly when a project comes together without much trouble, I have questioned my abilities, and then conversely felt the condescending power of telling a computer what to do. It has been quite the rollercoaster.

I have learned a lot over the last 5 months. I have learned the benefit of stepping away to avoid feelings of confusion and despair, I no longer panic when I see an error in the terminal, and I know where to find good resources.

I know that I still have a long way to go, but I am at a point now where I can look back and see how far I've come. One thing is for sure, I know that I am on the right path.

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