How I Reinvented My Career

Flashback, 2011. I’m working a crappy job with a plumbing and drain service company (pun intended?). This was yet another random job on my resume that had nothing to do with any kind of career. I was bouncing between jobs like a teenager, but I was well into my twenties. I decided that it was time to grow up and figure out my career. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend college and didn’t have much of a support system as a young adult.

I’ve been more blessed as an adult. I have wonderful in-laws who have gone above and beyond to help me with my career. My mother-in-law sent me off to the junior college to learn web development basics. I’ve always been into web development but never had any of the hard skills required to do it professionally. I joined CS50.11A at Santa Rosa Junior College and excelled at all of the work. By the end of the course I was an unofficial teacher’s aide, helping other students learn the topics we were going over.

A few months later and I get a job as a website technician with the biggest local website development & marketing company. I improve my abilities in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, WordPress, and SEO. This gives me a solid base of knowledge to move into the SEO department where I have more development responsibilities. All the while I am studying every night on codecademy.com, teamtreehouse.com, and many other websites. I learn PHP, jQuery, Object-oriented JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, WordPress Theme Development, SQL Databases, Ruby, Python, and dozens of other languages and technologies. I start building websites on the side for small businesses, family, and friends.

Fast forward a couple years. I’ve went up the ranks at the web dev/SEO job and I’m starting to feel like I’ve outgrown the position. I decided to form an LLC with a couple friends in order to expand my side-job operation to full time. Unfortunately, Norca Design, LLC was never meant to see the light of day. It was way too premature in my career and the guys I founded it with were too busy in their day jobs to be able to focus on the company at all. A year after formation I was filing dissolution paperwork with the state. This was just a minor hurdle in my career path and I leapt over it all while keeping my eyes on the future. Shortly after I accepted a job with another marketing company as a front end developer. This was my first full time, 100% development position and I was ecstatic.

Over the course of a year I had moved up from front end developer to senior front end developer and then to web department manager. The company was a startup with a lot of flexibility and growth potential. That flexibility ended up being one of the reasons I left that job. There was a lot of flexibility at the cost of support. When I ran into problems with my job I didn’t have anyone to go to. I spent a lot of time Googling answers to my issues. This is of course natural in a development position but not to the extent I had to. I ended my relationship with the company in January of 2016 and decided to start working freelance full time. After only a month or two of freelance I decided freelance wasn’t my ideal career environment. I started researching coding bootcamps to supercharge my career into programming.

May 16th, 2016 I started attending Coding Dojo in San Jose. I chose to learn full stack Python, MEAN (JavaScript), and Ruby. I’ve so far excelled in each class. I’ve learned more in the last two months than I have in the previous five years. I am well equipped for a full stack software engineer job. I’ve already interviewed with a few recruiters in San Francisco. I’m going to complete the Coding Dojo boot camp at the end of August and I look forward to my new career in programming.

EDIT: May 13, 2018 —

Now just 2 years later, I find myself a Software Engineer for ZapLabs, a subsidiary of Realogy, one of the biggest real estate brokerages in the world. I’m constantly pushing the limits of my career and I haven’t stopped learning. I’m fascinated with the unknown. If I were to give some advice to myself in 2011, when the story of this article began, I would say it gets better, and life is never what you expect. Keep learning!

Like what you read? Give Josiah Rooney a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.