!(The Fast Track for Impatient Hacks to a Gig in Software Tinkering)

Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains

2017 was a pretty significant year for me. I got married, quit my job as an engineer, moved to another state, and started studying full-time to become a web developer. You see, my wife is a nurse.

What I should say, more specifically, is that my wife (Lindsey) is a traveling NICU nurse and I am her traveling house spouse. In fact, we recently wrapped up our first assignment, which was in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Being from south Texas, we were both able to experience a true fall for the first time and enjoyed the changing of the leaves. We took a trip to our nation’s capitol, hiked several mountains, drove the Blue Ridge Parkway, and went to the eastern coast. We are now in Salt Lake City, Utah for at least three months and it is absolutely beautiful.

I did a considerable amount of research when trying to decide if I should jump into the world of development. I needed to know if there was a viable path for me to succeed in this new potential career path. I stumbled around for a few weeks watching some Youtube videos about ‘A life in the day of a developer’ and such. I tinkered around with freeCodeCamp and Codecademy for a while and discovered a plethora of boot camps available across the country to ‘learn programming in 12 weeks’. It all looked interesting, but not convincing enough to take the plunge into a major life change.

Increasing frustration at my job as an engineer at a failing gas company fueled my search to discover a plausible path for changing my career. In the midst of reading reviews of several different coding programs, there was one reviewer that had forsaken all other programs in the name of one called Launch School. I looked up said program and was only able to find 5-star reviews…I was intrigued. As I read their ‘Is this for me?’ page and FAQs, it became steadily apparent that this was the path for me.

The philosophy of LS was the clincher rather than the content alone. Their slogan is: “The Slow Path for Studious Beginners to a Career in Software Development.” The emphasis is on Mastery Based Learning as opposed to Time Based Learning. This is in stark contrast to the traditional learning approach. Assuming time is not an obstacle (which is a heavy assumption, unfortunately), this is the ideal way to learn to proficiency. You refrain from tackling new material until you have mastered the current material.

Procedural Programming in Ruby from Launch School’s Course 101

If you are blessed with an opportunity to learn to mastery…do it! I wish my engineering degree had followed this education model. I now have a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset, and this is so helpful to remember when I have feelings of doubt as to whether I can actually continue on this path. I feel confident that once I land a development job I will not suffer from Imposter Syndrome, but instead will be prepared to tackle whatever is thrown at me.

I’m not interested in hacking through a crash course in the latest frameworks so I can trick my way into some ‘job’ tinkering with websites. I would feel inadequate, because I would be. I’m interested in pursuing a long, fulfilling career where I can use the tools that I have learned to proficiency.