Ever wonder what it was like to be born and raised in The Valley? Okay, not the Silicon one, but the one right next to it; the San Joaquin Valley. Growing up in the '80s near the tech hub of the world I've always had this inexplicable thing for computers. We received our first home computer when I was 12, and experienced PCMR in the form of a glaring CRT displaying Windows 95. It was at this point that I wanted to know how software was made.
The internet was still too early in its mainstream infancy to tell kids not to learn programming with C++ using the Win32 API. Although I failed to compile anything other than a blank window, those lessons followed me into college where I started as a Biology major and quickly turned to Computer Science.
Unfortunately, emotional immaturity and lack of self-confidence proved fatal to my motivation to complete the program at the local university. Over the next 10 years it was a back and forth love affair. It went something like this; teach myself a language or framework, find some hope to work as a developer, apply to a few positions with no experience, and then go back to finding grunt work at a warehouse.
My entire working life as an adult has been experienced in retail or production warehouse positions; the last three years of which as an equipment operator in cold storage. With an income to afford it and still holding a passion for learning, I felt it was time to receive a formal degree. This month, nearly twenty years in the making, I finished my Bachelors of Science in Software Development.
While the proverbial monkey is now off of my back, the hope-snatcher and his friend “imposter syndrome” are on the prowl again. This time, however, I’ve made the commitment to push through, continue learning skills, and just put myself out there for as long as it takes. I want to be a developer because it's the only passion I’ve ever had for doing something aside from baseball in my youth.
Writing code that creates tools for leveraging our time and abilities is a powerful feeling. So far I’ve received a formal education in various languages, tools, and frameworks and a greater appreciation for the software development process. For many, learning more about their glamorized field actually becomes a deterrent, but thankfully it encouraged me even more.
The goal is to start in a junior or entry-level Java developer role, possibly even an internship, and learn what it takes to be a senior developer. Then, take on those challenges and responsibilities to effectively lead a team and become a software architect if management isn’t my thing. During this process, earning a Master's in Computer Science to further my education and potentially discover new interests to specialize in.
If you made it here, thanks!
There is so much more to this story. Suffice it to say that the glory belongs to God, and here's to the continued progress in software and (most importantly) personal development as a testimony to that.