Why I Want to Be a Software Engineer

One of my roommates in college was a Comp Sci major. Since she spent all hours of the night working on labs, I assumed she had chosen the wrong major. I had no idea what she was doing.

Fast forward a few years later and I’m an analyst on the tech team of a cleantech company. I got to learn SQL on the job, and while it’s not exactly coding, I got my first taste into what it’s like to make a computer do what you say. I’ve always been curious about what is going on behind the scenes or underneath the hood, so when our tech team built new landing pages for marketing, sales agent management for sales, or our new products, I was interested in how they were doing this. At the same time, I was managing bugs that our member support team came across. I grew increasingly frustrated that I could help to define both the bugs and its scope, but I had to stop there and pass it off for the developers to fix.

I got my start by taking a HTML/ CSS class with a local non-profit. I knew I was on the right path. I followed up by taking classes on web accessibility, the command line, and intermediate HTML/ CSS. I was equal parts confused and excited. To me, not completely understanding something is exciting because it means I’m challenging myself to learn something outside my comfort zone.

My desire to learn how to code is fueled by my desire to break into a field which fosters an ever learning, flexible, and meaningful career.

Always Learning

In yoga it is said to always be a student, no matter how much experience you have. I like to take this concept in my every day life. I challenge myself to read books across vast topics, attend yoga workshops, learn new skills (stitching being the most recent!) so I can continue to make connections and recognize patterns about the world around me. Like I mentioned earlier, I take not knowing something as an opportunity for growth, and it seems as though there is no ceiling with programming.

Flexibility

As I’m getting older I realize I won’t always want to live in a city, where most startups and innovative companies tend to incubate. Becoming a developer will help to find remote work. I love the flexibility of not being bound to an office in order to get work done. I think employees should be trusted to get their work done, no matter where they are. Another aspect of flexility is the vast amount of roles a developer can fill. There are SO many different types of roles and industries I can break into. I can teach, be a part of a solid engineering team at an emerging startup, or freelance— it’s tough for me to see where I’ll land after completing my bootcamp because there are so many possibilities!

Meaningful Career

What was astounding to me when I first started to research my career transition was that every developer seemed beamingly proud of their job. As I began to learn how to code, I started to realize why. Software developers of all kinds are building our future. Developers can bring an idea to life. Personally, it’s powerful that I will be able to bring my idea of a yoga class plan generator or an app to teach Tarot to beginners to the world!

What also adds to a meaningful career is the community. I’ve received so much support from both strangers and new friends, whether it was through twitter and using the #100DaysofCode hashtag, or meeting people in real life at local tech MeetUps. I know I’m not in this alone.

I find my reasons to learn to code are evolving. I didn’t pursue this career shift because I thought “Hmm, I could certainly use a larger professional network,” or “Let me pick a field where I’ll continuously feel like a novice”, — these are byproducts. The reason why you start on a trek is never the reason why you finish it. I’m looking forward to watch my motivation to keep learning unravel as I go deeper and deeper into a programming career.

On Getting Over Yourself

Let the gifts you have to offer the world lift you from the weight of persistent self-criticism.

It’s tough to admit but I would never talk to another being the way I speak to myself. It seemed to help me academically and professionally (or so I thought), always doing more because my ego was never pleased. Although when it comes to teaching yoga, it releases this manic, negative, weasel of a monster.

As a yoga student I have deemed myself as quite the yoga teacher critique. I have taken so many classes that I have learned what I should be listening for. So as a beginner yoga teacher, I am aware of the gap between my current abilities and what my aspirations are.

In classes I stutter, have moments when I am at a loss for words, and am so frozen in fear I am unable to move around the room. I have mounts of anxiety in the leading hours before class, then during class, I am sabotaged by my mind’s critiques: “You didn’t say those queues correctly- that made no sense,” or “That student looks very unhappy, she must not like your style of teaching.” What’s the point of teaching if I am suffering so much?

I circle back on my intention of teaching. Yoga has been my guiding light and constant through my ever changing life. Yoga builds both emotional and physical strength, cultivates an inner knowing, and leaves me feeling centered. In short, yoga allows me to enjoy life more. I teach so I can gift the benefits of yoga to others, so they can find the peace it offers.

I’m looking forward to teaching a weekly class (Monday’s at noon!) at Wake Up Yoga Fairmount, and to share the light of yoga. I’m sure my negative self talk will persist, even if I know my thoughts are not true. However, knowing I can offer a relaxed, nourishing, and revitalizing space for yogis and yoginis for an hour during their day makes it all worth it.