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How I got into software engineering

wolde_ai profile image Denis Woldemariam ・3 min read

I never thought Software engineering was a thing for me. Not even a bit. Not at all. I never heard of it or know any software developer in my close circle or even in my community for that matter. I imagined it was something people see and hear in the movies. So it did not occur to me that it was something I could pursue as a career. Even in college when I had the choice, I did not take it. Instead I opted for Economics. It was something I was familiar with and one I thought would be much easier. But I never thought it was a subject that would lead me to a fulfilling career.In the end I graduated with it anyways. After I graduated from college, I was not sure what I wanted to do next. As a first generation college graduate I did not have someone to mentor me and I felt lost.

So I decided to go out and try different things and challenge myself. I reckon that’s the only way to really find out what I am capable of and what is a meaningful fulfilling career for me. After all, we can’t find out until we try and the answer is always no until we ask. I know it’s a cliche but it is true. But also I did not want to miss out on opportunities. So when my brother told me about the various opportunities in the army, I signed up for it. I was happy and excited for it. Six months later, after so many unforgettable memories and intense but challenging learning experiences, I graduated as a combat medic from the army with valuable life saving skills and new life long friends. I was transformed by the experience. I feel privileged to have gone through the experience as it helped me grow on a personal and professional level. After all, where there is discomfort, there is growth.

Being a combat medic had a profound impact on me. I learned a lot about myself and what it means to go out and be something bigger than yourself. What it means to serve others in a meaningful way. How to communicate and be adaptable to different situations. I also learned the power of being part of a community and the importance of being aware of your environment, how you think and carry yourself around. Without this realization, it would have been impossible for me to be resilient or adaptable to different circumstances and situations. Or even summon the courage to keep failing forward to success. Most importantly though I learned how to work and get along with others in a professional setting. I believe learning how to interact and get along with people while managing your responsibilities is probably one of the most important skills anyone can have. Precisely because everything in life is all about relationships. So it’s important for me to develop the character to have integrity, be respectful and kind to others.

Not long enough I was introduced to software engineering through a college friend of mine. This time I did not hesitate. I jumped straight into it. The reason being I was more courageous and inclined to try out and explore new things. Even if it meant failure. Precisely because I want to have different experiences and learn something new as much as possible. Plus I didn’t want to miss out on a great opportunity. And so I went ahead, and signed up for software engineering bootcamp through the VA’s VETTEC program. And I am happy I did so. It’s probably one of the best decisions of my life. Because it opened up so many doors and possibilities for me.

Can anybody do it? Yes! I honestly believe anyone can do it with the right resources, some guidance(mentorship) and diligent effort. But of course this does not mean that it’s going to be easy. Most definitely it’s not. It can be frustrating at times and oftentimes challenging but it is a fun and very rewarding endeavor for the most part. Mostly because you get to help and solve problems for people and businesses alike while being creative. And you get paid well while you’re at it. Is it for everyone? I don’t think so. Like anything in life it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Some are going to like it and others are not. But that is besides the point. The point being, with a little bit of support anyone can do it. Because I did and you can too.

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