Survival of the Fittest in the Tech Era
Why I’ve decided to pursue a career in software engineering
I recently read a quote in an article on technology that made me feel rather uncomfortable. The kind of discomfort that’s motivating, though. A kind of… call to action-uncomfortable. The article stated something along the lines of “Computers are the new pen and paper…and programming is the new literacy.” From autonomous cars and robots to IoT and increasingly more and more automation of jobs, one only has to briefly look around our world today to understand just how much truth there is to this statement. At that moment it became clear to me that in order to survive in our rapidly changing world, I could not remain “illiterate”. I must learn programming.
“Computers are the new pen and paper…and programming is the new literacy.”
But survival alone isn’t the only reason I want to become a software engineer. The iterative process, continuous learning, and mentally challenging nature of programming all appeal to me. And the pay is not too shabby either.
Trust the Process
I’ve been obsessed with skateboarding my whole life. I even managed to make it to the professional ranks, competing and traveling around the world. One of the things, if not the thing, that makes skateboarding so rewarding is the process of turning and idea into a reality. I knew that if I could imagine a trick I could eventually do it. Of course, this is after hours, days, or even weeks of what the tech world calls iterations. We call it blood, sweat, and tears in the skate world but don’t be fooled, this battle is just as mental as it is physical. If the process of building a web application, or launching a new software product is even remotely similar to the very familiar process of imagining, planning, attempting, adjusting, then attempting again until a final tangible version of your original vision has become reality, then I certainly want give software engineering a try.
Be the Change You Want to See
Skateboarding felt like a very hedonistic thing for me… always chasing an adrenaline high, pushing myself to new limits of what I could do. But for what? Who really benefits from how well I can flip a skateboard? The reality is that deep down I have a heart that yearns to serve others. As a software engineer I could have the opportunity to do meaningful work that makes a real change in the world. I could possess the skills and tools to harness the power of technology to solve some of our world’s biggest challenges…hunger, poverty, climate change…the possibilities are endless.
“Once You Stop Learning, You Start Dying” -Albert Einstein
A career in software engineering means a career in learning. Nothing excites me more than this. In skateboarding learning a new trick was the ultimate high. That thrill of victory is what pushed me to go bigger and take on even harder challenges. If software engineering can offer me an opportunity to always be learning and taking on increasingly ambitious challenges in that same manner as skateboarding…and for a generous salary to boot, then sign me up!
This is a no brainer. Statistic after statistic and forecast after forecast show the need for talented programmers and software engineers will continue to increase. Couple this with the mentally challenging nature of the field and the possibility of working comfortably into old age if I want to seems very possible. This demand for software engineers also means I could finally escape living paycheck to paycheck, which brings me to my last point…
Everything about the Holberton School’s approach to education speaks to me. I don’t want nor need any student loan debt in my life. With Holberton’s model they don’t get paid unless I’m successful. This gives me tremendous confidence in their commitment to my success. And from what I can see, they’ve put together and excellent recipe for success… project based learning that’s hands-on and very similar to what I’d actually be doing as a software engineer coupled with access to so many of the industry’s professionals. Lastly, their focus on diversity and creating a level playing field for everyone leaves no room for doubts that I’d fit in or feel comfortable.
To Put it Simply
I want to survive. I want to learn. I want to change my life and the world. I want to become a software engineer and the Holberton School is the best avenue to do so.