What was your first big step in this never ending journey?

・1 min read

If you're a constant reader of dev.to, you may have noticed that all I've ever posted are discussions, and that's because I find more questions than answers in my head, for I've never actually thrown myself to get a Junior Developer position (lack of time), but I've made cool stuff during my Systems Engineering studies at the university and I know HTML, CSS, JS, jQuery, PHP, Java, and I'm learning React right now.

What I want to know from you guys, regardless of your position (i.e. Junior, Senior, ...), is what was your first big step and the story of it.

DISCUSSION (6)
 

My first big step, was learning how to understand and learn things by myself. It's the biggest step you can give, and i'm not talking about new technologies or frameworks. I'm talking about all in your life. Absolutely, it was the biggest step in my life.

 

My first big step?

Let's start with my first, accidental step...

I accidentally took an Intro To Programming unit in my second year of university. I was studying Music Production and Technology at the time and, skimming through the available elective list, I saw "Programming I" and immediately thought "oh cool, I could learn some advanced MIDI tricks or something".

Wrong!

I showed up to the first lecture and knew straight away that no music was gonna be happening in that room. But I also thought, "I like computers and video games, and this could be handy for writing my own audio plugins one day".

It took one week for me to be hooked. I had so much fun! The problems were challenging, the people were interesting and I found myself 100% self-motivated to do the work - I was that annoying kid who finished his practical assignment the day he received it. Not because I was a brown-noser, but because it was just fun.

By the end of the semester I decided that music was important to me, and it would stay a hobby, but my professional future laid with software. So I transferred to a more technical university and plowed through a software engineering degree.

My first big, and intentional, step was applying for a Junior Software Engineer role with a big bank after having studied software for less than 6 months. I had no pretence about my skill, I knew I wasn't qualified, so I had no fear going into the process. Worst case: I'd apply again in a few years when I was more appropriately qualified.

Plot twist: The manager I interviewed with liked my moxie, and gave me one of the three available positions, on the condition that I pulled my own weight through my probation period. It wasn't some low-rent internship, they expected me to be as productive as my peers. So, I worked a little harder that I would have liked to, but learned a lot in the process.

It's been over 5 years now, a couple of jobs have come and gone, but I still find writing software as challenging and fun as I used to. So that's nice 😊

 
 

Accepting the fact that I lost about 2.5 years of my life running away from programming by playing video games because after I met some awesome people, I thought I was already behind.

Also, I never took the time to practice or even ask for their help because I thought I would bother them or waste their time as well.

Until my big brother told me:

"Chris, why don't you learn how to make video games instead of playing them?"

That was probably the push I needed to just go for it and really push my limits.

 

Breaking through my mother's insistence that there were no programming jobs and my CS degree had no meaning.

 
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