loading...

Coming back to development after a decade away

lexaprogrammer profile image Will👨🏾‍💻✨(he/they) ・2 min read

Back during the web 1.0 days I thought of myself as an artisté

I changed majors my senior year of college to focus on Interactive multimedia, websites and software development. I felt a strong pull for displaying information in a clear and concise manner and worshiped at the throne of Tufte. I loved data and this love fostered a need for me to learn ways to display it with the gravitas it deserved. Learning various technologies were a means to an end. Databases? Markup? OOP? Scripting? Give me a few weeks and I'm on it.

Yeah that makes sense

I held various creative jobs post graduation. I made websites, produced tv & commercials and got into corporate communications. Fast forward to the housing boom of 2006-2008. I landed my first big boy development job working for a marketing firm. They were consulting their real estate clients the traditional way but wanted to break into variable data printing. I created a website with a python backend that streamlined the process letting users pay online and was available 24/7. Business grew exponentially and so did my salary. When the bubble burst I decided to focus on IT Operations because it seemed "less volatile than programming".

mistakes were made

As a GenXer who grew up with a strong work ethic I decided to start at the bottom, work hard and wait to be recognized for my efforts. I got so wrapped up in reaching for the brass ring I forgot about my real passions. I've bounced between a bunch of different focuses: Technical writing and documentation, training, process creation, deployment, networking and helpdesk. All in an effort to regain the spark I had creating with code.

If you are reading this and thinking of transitioning to development, or in my case back into development, JUST DO IT. I'm still in Ops but missed the creative nature (and salary) associated with creating tools and making the best software I can. Ever since I’ve started coding again I can feel my brain wrinkling every day. I am learning so much and want to contribute to the community at large. Yes, I do have concerns regarding entering development at this stage of my life but I encourage everyone to pursue their passions. Even if you never make a career of this at least you won’t have regrets.

Discussion

pic
Editor guide
Collapse
redlotusdesignz profile image
Diana Chin

This is a wonderful post, Will! I'm also in the same boat on transitioning into front end web development after spending so much time in the customer support industry. Granted, I do my freelancing in web design, but coding is where my happy place is at :)

Definitely sending you good vibes your way! Keep on learning as much as you can. Never give up!

Collapse
ehmuitodrama profile image
By Andressa Santos

E assim vamos a luta! Fiz o curso de análise e desenvolvimento. Acabei entrando em empresa de suporte a sites e hospedagem como WordPress, Joomla e outros. Sinto falta de programação e queria trabalhar com isso. Não sei se faço a transição para ficar como desenvolvedor.

Collapse
lexaprogrammer profile image
Will👨🏾‍💻✨(he/they) Author

Eu acredito em nós dois!

Collapse
johnangel profile image
John Angel

+1 Will, I've been in PM and Management roles for the last 11 years and now its time to enter the dev arena again. I'm in that process, building some Web apps to learn and working after hours with a Digital Agency as a Front End developer. A lot of hours invested after my current job but I'm enjoying it so much that I know it will not be much time until I go, full-time developer, again. Life is too short so let's enjoy it while we are here!

Collapse
vickilanger profile image
Vicki (she/her)

Fantastic read!

Depending on the source, I believe you're on the cusp of Gen X and Gen Y. What makes you choose to claim Gen X?

Collapse
lexaprogrammer profile image
Will👨🏾‍💻✨(he/they) Author

At best I'm an elder millennial; I just associate with Gen X more. There was a window when I was a young adult where I had opportunities current ~30 year olds would kill for. I just assumed it would be like that forever.

Collapse
vickilanger profile image
Vicki (she/her)

True. I bug my spouse about this very thing. I think you're both the same-ish age.

Yeah, one would hope opportunities would always be available. I'm sure there will still be plenty.

Thread Thread
lexaprogrammer profile image
Will👨🏾‍💻✨(he/they) Author

The advantage to being a late bloomer and a lifelong screw up is perspective. I’ve been doing a lot of what I thought I should have been doing and failing because I didn’t want it. Now I have the presence of mind to go for what I want to do without feeling like I’m losing anything by compromising.

Scary, but less paralyzing than if I were still in my 20s.

Thread Thread
juditlehoczki profile image
Judit Lehoczki (she/her)

I'm not religious but Amen to that! 😄
I'm in my thirties getting into software development for the first time. Absolutely loving it!
Good luck to you.

Thread Thread
vickilanger profile image
Vicki (she/her)

Perspective is good. I think it's often hard to do what you want to when expectations (eg society, parents, mentors, role models, etc) are often very different.

Glad you're doing it now. Go get it!

Collapse
ndy40 profile image
Ndy

Welcome back.. I tried changing programming languages of late but the fear of a drop in salary wouldn't let me. I can earn more and even climb higher in my current stack but I have love for another stack. The mortgage wouldn't let me make this step.

Collapse
lexaprogrammer profile image
Will👨🏾‍💻✨(he/they) Author

Save up some money, see if you can pick up side projects in what you WANT to do then do it! There is nothing wrong with being responsible but when you are ready to switch you'll already have your portfolio ready!

I believe in you

Collapse
waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

Yes, I do have concerns regarding entering development at this stage of my life

Welcome back! No one is ever too old to become a developer. Welcome to DEV. Just by paying attention to DEV, sharing your story and the things you learn you will be successful!

Collapse
ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Great post, good luck!

Collapse
briankgarland profile image
Brian Garland

Hey, I’m in my late 50’s and getting back into it after twenty years. It can be done!

Collapse
willjohnsonio profile image
Will Johnson

You got this!

Collapse
rhymes profile image
rhymes

Great post! Let's say "welcome back" ☺️

Collapse
andystitt829 profile image
Andy Stitt

Awesome! Best of luck on your transition back!

Collapse
moca_salter profile image
Monica Salter

I can feel my brain wrinkling every day

Ha, well said. That's one of the things I love about coding too, I need that mental challenge in my life. Thanks for sharing your story!