The start of something new!

This is the start of a brand new blog about me and my changing career. I am a father of a wonderful daughter. I am also a woodworker and engineer.

I started my professional career with a Masters degree in Materials Science and Engineering. In the process of getting that degree, I became expert at microscopy and digital image analysis. I was recruited away from Materials Science before I even finished my thesis, and never really looked back. In fact, based on my own experience and my observations of many people with advanced degrees, my Master’s degree means two things:

  1. I am the world’s expert in my thesis topic.
  2. I have learned how to research a topic and learn on my own.

So I taught myself everything I needed to know about microscopes and image analysis to become a recognized expert on both topics. I spent many years selling and supporting microscopes and digital imaging systems (hardware and software) and enjoyed this career tremendously. It allowed me to meet many great people and to travel the world. I have been to Red Square and Riyadh… The list of places I have visited is too long for me to remember without digging out my old passport!

Unfortunately, I kept getting laid off due to business restructuring. After the third layoff I did some serious thinking and concluded that it was time to change career paths. After a few false starts I have decided that I enjoy programming enough to make it my new career. So I am now starting a class on Java programming at The Iron Yard.

Why take a coding boot camp? Well, I have programmed in many languages:

  • C/C++
  • Visual Basic and VBA
  • c Shell
  • Pascal
  • Dos Batch files
  • Windows PowerShell

But I have never felt comfortable calling myself a professional programmer. I have done QA and Technical Support and found both frustrating because I could not fix the bugs I saw. I have used programs I wrote to solve my own problems and to solve customer’s problems. I have even taught programming for the Image-Pro Plus macro language. So, why not become a professional programmer?

Taking this boot camp class is the first step for me in rebuilding the growth mindset I had in graduate school, although I certainly did not call it that at the time. A growth mindset is based on curiosity and the idea that adversity is a challenge to be worked with rather than avoided. Over the last several years I have reached the conclusion that I learn by doing; I learn by making mistakes and then figuring out how to correct those mistakes. That is a long winded way of saying that I use intentional practice.

I am hoping that this class will lead to a new career and eventually to starting my own business. See I have an idea for a company and a service percolating in the back of my head. There are many companies doing what I want to do already but they are at the very least doing a piss poor job of marketing because the idea came to me from a personal need. I should be getting ads from all of these companies but I am not. So my current plan is get a few years of experience and then reevaluate my idea. Could it be a that I will wait too long? Maybe, but then again I’m still waiting for the first bit of marketing from all of those companies I just mentioned.

And, if my current idea is a bust, then the skills I will develop here will put me in a better place to tackle other ideas. I will be hunting for other unmet needs that I think I can satisfy in a way that others have failed to even try.