Why work in web development?

I’ve been getting this sort of question quite a lot from family, friends, and people the community. It seems like a good topic to write about. However, I see this “decision” as more of a natural progression, at which point it becomes hard to explain succinctly. But I’ll do my best.

I’ve always loved building things. When asked to build a leprechaun trap for St. Patrick’s day, I was the only 2nd grader who modified the plans to have the trap-door function properly. By the time I was in high school I was making boxes with hidden compartments and structures out of fallen trees in my back yard. I used the tools and materials available to me at the time.

I also really like languages. Not only do I like learning different languages, but I also like seeing how a spoken language is used to invoke different feelings. It seems fitting that my first full-time job was in financial services. As you might imagine, language is one of the most important skills in the industry. I got to learn how to interview people to find their problems and concerns in the least time possible. I also got paid to speak Spanish,which is always good fun.

After a few years of work experience, a family member suggested I look into project management. This person has known me all my life, so I immediately started taking night classes, and was enthralled. I was learning alongside professionals who were doing really amazing things like building hospitals, and developing GPS mapping services. This was the type of work I wanted to be involved with!

After taking some time to pursue some personal goals (learning Korean, and becoming a better teacher), I started studying computer programming on-line. This was great because I was using languages, to build things. It didn’t feel like a choice, but something I had to do. I would read about programming as much as possible on the way to work, while eating dinner, any free moment I had.

When my teaching contract was up, I had a decision to make: continue teaching, try to find an entry-level project management position that valued my certification, or get better at programming. All three options where good, but programming was without a doubt the best choice. What’s more, over the coming years I’m sure I can integrate my project management, and teaching skills into my day to day life as a developer.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure it was much of a choice. It felt more like walking down the street to meet a good friend you haven’t seen in years, but have heard is cooler than they already were. You excitedly walk faster with every step to see how they’ve grown. Yes, the tools I use today are different than anything I used before, but when it comes down to it, they are new tools I can use to build even more sophisticated products and services.

Without those experiences I would have never ended-up here. It wasn’t one decision after all, it was 100.

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