Finding a job as a developer: going from social work to programming

Good news – I’m able to mark our first item off our bucket list: find a coding job.

I graduated with a degree in sociology in 2011, then to grad school for a year. Afterwards I was utterly lost. No one in my family had ever gone to college, but their dream was always for me to go. I jokingly tell people that my family thinks that all I have to do is show up someplace with my degree and I get a job. It was a slap in the face when I applied for a few months with no luck.

I hopped around from dead-end job to dead-end job. Eventually, after volunteering at a nonprofit, I got a job as an AmeriCorps member, then full-time staff. The work I did was varied, but after nearly three years there, I left for a few reasons. I didn’t feel the agency was living up to its mission and the clients were the ones getting hurt. I couldn’t abide by that. Also, in that time, I got married and started thinking about my future. The life I wanted to provide for my wife and future family wasn’t going to be possible on social work salary.

I decided to explore my options and ultimately focused on technology. I took some online and evening classes to figure out – do I even like coding? Am I good at it? Could I make a career out of it?

After much research, I decided on Fullstack Academy. After three months of intense work, I completed the program on April 7 and was job searching ever since.

There were days I was sure I had made a terrible mistake. I quit my job – I could have been making money, instead of  scrimping to get by. No one was ever going to hire me. I was a fraud. These were all things the wife heard on multiple occasions. But the sweetheart she is, she encouraged and motivated me to keep moving forward.

I received the official offer a few days ago and I still can’t believe it happened! I’ll be receiving a substantial pay bump and working at an awesome company with good benefits. The type of stable job I could stick around for a while.

I just hope I savor this feeling – it took over 6 months to get here, and I put in a lot of time, effort, and money. But I had a goal – to get a job by July 1st, and here I am, a few days short, and I did it. I want to remember this feeling the next time I take a leap of faith and try something. I want to remember this feeling of accomplishing my goal. And really, that was the spirit and motivation of this whole blog in the first place. To go live life and really, truly experience it. To visualize what we want and to then make it happen.

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