Back during the web 1.0 days I thought of myself as an artistéI 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.
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".
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.