I had completed 3 years of an undergraduate degree in biochemistry when I decided to drop it and become a developer.
In retrospect it was a pretty crazy decision. I was really lucky because I had the family support that allowed me to do this, but it was still a risky move.
The study of biochemistry is actually really interesting. It's all about the internal machinery of cells and how DNA works. I still love reading about life sciences news, especially with new developments like gene editing.
But when I imagined myself working in a lab and building a career in academia, something was missing. I didn't just want to do research, I wanted to make things.
That's what eventually brought me to software. In software I could pick up a computer and make things. There's something so powerful about that. And I didn't need anybody's permission.
Compare that to the world of research and academia. You have to ask for permission, so to speak, at every step of your career. You ask to be accepted by a professor to work in their lab. You ask journals to publish a paper. You ask for funding for your research. You ask permission to speak at a conference. If your work is really good, then eventually it turns around and people start asking you for things, but it's a long path to get there.
Here's why software is different and why it appealed to me. With software you don't need any institution or lab to learn it, you can do it yourself.
You can build and publish your work and nobody's going to stop you.
If your work is good, people will share it and even pay money for it.
That's why I ended up becoming a software developer and it was exactly the kind of career that I was looking for.