My Story - How I got started in Tech

My Story - How I got started in Tech

To whom it may concern,

I’m another year older. And thus, I have decided it was a good time to re-introduce myself.

My name is Lee,

and I am a Software Engineer.

Coding has become my new form of meditation.

I’ve been asked multiple times by people on the interwebs to share how I got started in tech, so I thought it would be a good idea to share my personal story here instead of bombarding your twitter feeds!

So, grab some coffee and let us take a stroll down memory lane.

What I used to do

My professional background consists of a hodgepodge of industries and skills.

Ever since I was a young lad, I would get bored staying at the same job, doing the same thing, for far too long. I job hopped before it was a cool thing to do (and an easier way to get a raise).

I’ve worked in fast food, sales, marketing, social media, photography, more sales, logistics, more marketing, automotive, and even music.

To clarify, the 3 main industries I worked in the longest are Automotive, Music, and Photography, respectively.

I’m an Artist at heart and always will be.
Now that my backstory is covered, I will delve into the more recent events that pushed me into the tech world.

Along came COVID.

It hit us all hard.

Health-wise, thankfully, it hasn’t had much affect on me or my family.

Unfortunately, though, the years of breaking my back in the Automotive field, and headbanging on stage during my music career has left me with the spine of an 80-year-old.

At the very start of the pandemic, I began developing neurological issues which greatly decreased my quality of life. It turns out I have cervical spondylosis. It got bad, real fast, and almost left me paralyzed had I not pushed through and sought help from a physical therapist.

After about a year and a half of pain, discomfort, and perseverance, I was finally well enough to want to get back to work. But now I had limitations due to my spine. My options were whittled down to none based on my previous skill-set.

Or so I had thought.

I started to remember that back in high school, I had taken a couple of Cisco Networking classes. Hell, I even earned my CCNA 1 & 2 certs! And I remembered that I even loved going to those classes.

Now the cogs were turning

After a discussion with my wife about my options, it was decided.
I would be switching my major (I’m still currently in college as well) from a B.S. in Business Management to Software Engineering.

My goal now was to teach myself how to code and get a damn job by my next birthday. Which at the time was technically 4 months away.

I found FreeCodeCamp online and began working through it immediately. I finished the responsive web design portion in record time due to having previous HTML and CSS experience.

Then JavaScript rocked my world, and I was having trouble working through the modules.

YouTube became my best friend all of a sudden. One creator specifically, gave me the first building blocks of understanding JavaScript.

Shoutout to Ania Kubow. Thank you for doing what you do for those of us transitioning into tech.

Now that I had my toes wet, I figured it was a good idea to hop back into twitter after being a recluse for a couple of years. I think I wanted to see if I could pick peoples brains that were already in tech, and hopefully gain some insight on how to make this weird language understandable.

I am glad I did.

It was a stroke of luck that I found someone talking about 100Devs. I had no idea what the hell it or they were, but I was intrigued to find out. And once I did, my whole world opened up and bitcoin rained down from the sky (I’m joking…). I quickly signed up for the cohort, joined the CatchUpCrew (because they started in January) and began the curriculum.

So now, to define exactly what my days consist of:

  • I am going to school for Software Engineering full time
  • Doing the FreeCodeCamp modules
  • Doing the 100Devs curriculum
  • Learning on my own
  • Taking care of my pets
  • Helping others learn to code
  • And finding time to spend with my family.

There aren’t enough hours in the day!

Anyway, continuing with the 100Devs curriculum has by far been the most rewarding of my time spent studying. He (Leon Noel) literally walks you through step by step, holding your hand, giving you candy and domino's pizza, while getting you job ready as a FULL STACK SOFTWARE ENGINEER. The man deserves a damn medal. And the community he built is my favorite part of it all. Because his values align with mine, and I respect his resolve to keep the community a positive one.

Now, fast track 5 months later. It’s my birthday!

And I don’t have a job…. BUT I’m damn close to getting one.

Because of the insight at 100Devs I was able to optimize my “aura” so to speak so that I am professionally presentable and prepared.

I haven’t applied to one job yet, BUT I’ve already had multiple recruiters reach out to me, not to mention a lead developer at AMAZON ask me to apply based off my profile and portfolio alone.

I think I deserve a pat on the back.

I may not have met my goal of breaking into tech by my birthday but lets me honest…. It was an almost impossible one to achieve, and if I had known back then what I know now I would have set a more realistic one.

For all of you wanting to become Software Engineers

  • Don't be too hard yourselves. Coding isn't easy.
  • Set realistic expectations of yourself.
  • Check out Ania's videos. She explains things clearly.
  • Check out the 100Devs community to see if it's for you.