Turing School - How Did I Get Here?

In all honesty, I haven’t had time to ask myself this question since I started class at the Turing School of Software and Design in late October, 2014. After wading through financial statements and investor reports for one year too long as an Investment Research Associate, I woke up one day a Ruby loving, Vim editing, Rails developing machine. Ok, it didn’t happen overnight, but it feels like I have come an incredibly long way in such a short amount of time.

I’ve always been enamored with developers and the work they do ever since I worked with technology startups for the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network while in school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’ve always dreamed of making the leap into Software Development, but always thought that it was unattainable without a computer science degree.

This all changed when I moved to Denver and heard stories that ran the gamut from people who changed to programming midway through their careers to people who had never attended college and taught themselves to program. With this newfound inspiration I began gobbling up any resources I could get my hands on. I started with Codecademy’s HTML and CSS courses. Then through the guidance of a fellow UNC grad who made the leap into Ruby on Rails, I started Michael Hartl’s online course for Rails. Needless to say I was a little overwhelmed learning on my own, but felt comfortable learning through the tutorial. It didn’t take long before I would come home from work and spend the rest of my waking hours building Ruby on Rails applications, much to the dismay of my girlfriend.

I loved seeing the fruits of my labor live on the internet even if they were just toy applications. As I began to exhaust the online resources I was aware of (I now know they are endless), I started going to tech meetups to see if I could get my hands on more knowledge. Even at this point, I wasn’t sure if this would lead to a career change, but I knew there was something to the joy I was experiencing through developing in my spare time. What I found at these meetups was not resources in the true sense of the word, I found something even better, mentorship. I found veteran developers that were willing to take time out of their day to help me with something that I had been stuck on for days, and even other fledgling newbies that were on the same journey as myself.

It was through this community that I learned about the many bootcamps and schools that turned people like me looking for a change into Software Developers. One meetup in particular opened my eyes to the fact that I could actually turn this into a career. I had the opportunity to hear Jeff Casimir and some of his alumni tell their stories. I knew then and there that I was going to apply to Turing. Luckily I heard back pretty quickly, and in the course of a few months I went from an Investment Research Associate to a full time student learning Ruby on Rails and JavaScript.

I have come a long way since starting class back in October and I have never worked so hard and accomplished so much. Two of the most important lessons I have learned though, are that this has been the greatest career decision for me personally, and nearly anyone with enough passion and grit can become a web developer. With that being said, I hope this blog can be an inspiration and a resource for anyone that is toying with the idea of becoming a full-time Web Developer.