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26. From Sales Associate to Software Developer

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Bloc was kind enough to do an interview with me recently about why I chose to learn how to code and why I chose them in particular (versus a traditional college degree or a different bootcamp). The interview can be found here. I already said what I needed to say there about my choice to study software development at Bloc, but I thought I would go into a little extra detail here about why this was, and is, a struggle for me. My responses to the interview were accurate, but I think I sounded more like I have life figured out in the interview than I really do.

Easily the most stressful element of choosing this path is financial. I don't want to make a career choice based solely on how much money I make, but one of the reasons I wanted to get into software development was that I knew it would teach me a more specialized skill, and more specialized skills generally result in higher pay, which is useful when you have a ton of student loan debt (like me). It probably doesn't help that our capitalist society has a strange, contradictory habit of looking down on people who want to make more money. Wanting more income is not greedy, in my opinion, at least not when you're trying to get out of debt and move up to a reasonable wage in the United States (which appears to be right around the $75,000/year mark, since that's when studies say there's no longer a correlation between income and happiness). Sure, there are hedge fund managers who make so much money that they could not spend it all if they tried, so giving those guys a raise does nothing to improve their quality of life and is therefore a waste of money. But most folks just want it to be easier to pay the bills without having to pinch every penny they get, and it's therefore nothing to be ashamed of to want a raise.

The second-most stressful element of going into software is that even over a year into it, I still feel extremely new to it. This is obvious in some ways–of course I'm new, it's a field that many people study for decades and still have lots to learn! But I honestly can't say that I had tried to learn a new skill in the eight intervening years between when I started learning to code at 24 and when I started learning to play guitar at 16. I was accustomed to being pretty satisfied with my writing ability, even though that too could doubtlessly use some improvement. It makes me second-guess my decision, though. Should I go back to a field I'm more comfortable in? Or should I stick to this one?

The last stressful element of it is that I overthink everything. And by everything, I mean everything. I overthink writing this blog post, I overthink code, I overthink talking to people. I don't really know how to fix that, but it's been a constant issue with trying to plan my future out (which really never works as planned anyway).

As I've been writing this article, I got a tentative, I think, offer to work at Radial Development Group, and that cheers me up immensely. But I guess planning for the future often stresses me out as much as it can excite me.

Dan RiceComment