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Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride


Finally. I quit my job and am ready to study programming full time. My goal is to become a software engineer at an engineering-centric tech company. But let me back up...

I studied accounting in college. Accounting was more of a practical choice than an inspired one. It certainly wasn't the most exciting thing ever but the prospects of financial security were really important to me and I enjoyed the arcane logic that it was based on. Upon graduating I landed a job that many of my peers coveted - I was going to be an associate auditor at one of the big international firms. I had arrived, or so I thought. Within the first six months I knew I had made a mistake but given the amount of education dollars and effort I had already committed I was locked-in. Better just grit my teeth and learn to like it I told myself.

Fast forward nine years, marriage, two kids and mortgage later the COVID-19 pandemic hit. During the summer of 2020 quarantine orders were in full effect in my home town of Broomfield, CO. After putting the kids to bed, evenings were quiet and I had free time for what felt like the first time in years. While my wife dove into puzzles and other craft hobbies, I started to explore data science, the hot career field everyone seemed to be talking about at the time. I quickly learned that the advanced statistics and regression models were not for me but I loved the python programming aspects of it. I found that writing relatively simple python scripts to clean large data sets was really fun. I liked the challenge of distilling a solution down to code that a computer could understand and I liked that every problem seemed to have a number of ways to approach it. It felt like I was tapping into a creative part of my brain that had long been dormant.

I was quick to dismiss any thoughts of actually becoming a developer myself however. I assumed that developers needed undergraduate degrees in computer science. I assumed that developers were all semi-geniuses and had been honing their craft since before they could drive a car. I assumed that I just wasn't smart enough to be a developer myself. So I left it alone for a few weeks and moved on to other pursuits to pass the time.

But I just couldn't stop thinking about coding and how satisfying it was to write a simple program that did what you wanted it to do. After some time I realized that I enjoy coding, even at a most basic and rudimentary level, in a way that I never enjoyed doing accounting. So I started writing some code again, this time on freeCodeCamp, where I learned the basics of web development: HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I built some simple static websites and and styled them with CSS. Eventually I layered in some JavaScript to make the websites dynamic. Having completed a few projects and understanding the basics, I'm no where near job ready but I gained something incredibly valuable all the same: the conviction that I enjoy this work on a deep level and have an aptitude for it. It was time to dive in and commit.

So after a few months of planning, and pitching my incredibly supportive wife on a career-change, I was able to quit my last accounting job on April 6, 2021. I'll be studying full time with Launch School . To paraphrase Hunter Thompson, I'm ready to buy the ticket and take the ride. I'm not sure exactly where I will end up but I'm sure as hell excited for the journey ahead.