Why Software Development?

So as part of my bootcamp experience Flatiron School requires me to write blog posts. This is a feature that I don’t think all bootcamps have but is smart. If I can write about coding then I show a deeper understanding about why I am a job ready developer. We all know that our online presence is part of our “resume” now as more and more hiring managers are looking at social profiles when making job decisions (even if it’s a legal slippery slope…).

So I have assigned topic of, “Why did you decide to learn software development?”

There are many reasons I decided to learn software development. Initially, it was because it is the “cool” thing to do these days. Demand is > Supply when it comes to people in the tech industry and overall everything we do now is being run by a computer. The Internet of Things (IoT) needs to be programmed. I truly believe that we are moving to a knowledge economy and very soon (on the grand timeline) most repetitive jobs will be replaced by robots, including driving. See a great post on automation here. However, people will need to program these things.

Things like bootcamps are popping up like crazy as people are making the jump to be developers. The potential pay and benefits are attractive too. We’ve all seen images of massive tech companies and their offices where you can take a break from your bean bag workstation and get a massage from the in-house masseuse while listening to a private live Billy Joel concert streamed to your company provided Bluetooth Beats headphones. Okay, maybe not that extravagant but you get the idea. Or the person who travels the world making 6 figures and all they need is a laptop and internet. Having that remote work freedom at some point is also attractive. Who wouldn’t want this life?

Another driving force is that I was in hospitality. An industry that is NOT family friendly. 55+ hour weeks are required for salary managers in most instances and nights, weekends, holidays are the busy time. I kept with it by saying I would eventually be in a high enough job title where I would be doing more strategic planning and thus work a more typical 9-5 schedule. I still believe that to be true. Once a person gets to District Manager or F&B Director you check in on early morning and closing operations occasionally but you could care less how the money is counted at close, just that it’s counted correctly. If it isn’t counted correctly there’s always a manager below you to push that to anyways. Something I rarely speak about but through my 10 years in the restaurant business I was laid off 4 times. I was paid severance a couple times and a couple times just collected unemployment but the lack of job stability paired with seeing people 2 years into a tech career making 2x what I was making cemented my interest.

So I dabbled while still working my restaurant job. I learned from freeCodeCamp the most among many other places. Knowing that I could work on a project for hours without taking a break, then stop for the day, then pick it up two days later, then stop, then get stuck the next day and make zero progress, then two days later finish it off, and LOVING that process cemented in me this is something I wanted to do.

I also realized that on the intellectual front I would always be challenged and have something to learn when it came to software development. I’ll never know it all and that is a bonus.

So how could I make this career transition with a mortgage and 3 kids? In person bootcamps were out of the question. There are two in Nashville (that I know of) and I know people who have graduated from each. First, Nashville Software School is an awesome program. However, it takes 6 months and we didn’t have 6 months of me not working to spare. The other is The Iron Yard and while they have a solid reputation the approximately $1000/week tuition was not going to work. In addition, I knew I couldn’t be out of pocket completely for 12 weeks, my family life would fall apart. So I came across the Flatiron School Online Web Developer Program. Work at your own pace when you have time, job guarantee, a solid curriculum, and high praise from people in the industry I spoke with. The work at your own pace is what sold me the most. I could code before the kids got up and after they went to bed and all weekend long when my wife was home. I could still take care of my kids all day M-F and we wouldn’t have to pay for a nanny. I could potentially finish in 12-15 weeks (they say the curriculum takes ~800 hours) just like a more traditional bootcamp but spend $6000 instead of $10k+. Boom, now to get in. I applied, did some coding, and got accepted (acceptance rate is ~8% so it’s competitive).

So ultimately I decided on software development for a few reasons:

  • It genuinely interests me outside of doing it as a career.
  • The pay ain’t bad.
  • More “normal” schedule so I’ll be home for dinner, off on weekends and holidays.
  • The possibility of working remotely.