Software engineering changed my life
Switching “careers” to software engineering literally changed my life. I say “careers” because it’s changed a lot more than my day job. I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but it’s true. Here’s how it’s affected at least four areas of my life:
This is probably the most obvious “changed my life” point. I imagine anytime you go from not-paid-super-well to being paid much better this would be true for you as well. But it’s true, financially going from working in non-profit church-based work to a for-profit technology based startup (or more established company) really can improve your financial situation. It sure did for me. The ability to work remote as a software engineer in general combined with the push for remote work specifically during the pandemic also allowed me to buy my first home, which was a huge deal for my family, and our financial stability.
My day-to-day work is usually doing things that I enjoy. I love learning new things, understanding how things work, and solving problems. And now I literally get paid to do that. Of course there’s other things I need to do here and there like administrative things, write Jira tickets (to track bugs or features), write documentation, help unblock other team members, but by and large the types of things I do daily are things I enjoy and it’s likely why the switch was really good for me personally. It’s got to be pretty obvious because my wife regularly tells me that she has never seem me happier. Thanks babe! 😉
The previous two reasons were more expected I suppose since I’ve always liked computers and troubleshooting things in general, and people have told me that Software Engineering paid well. So I guess those would be more obvious. But the more surprising benefit is that I’ve noticed my confidence start to blossom.
As I think about it, a growth in confidence makes sense. If I’m good at working with computers, troubleshooting technology, programming, designing systems, and solving real problems for my users and/or coworkers, and if I also enjoy it, then my confidence should rise somewhat proportionally. I remember previous jobs where I wasn’t working in my strengths.
I used to do sales at a cellphone company. The commission was decent and it helped me get through college. I really enjoyed the technology part and helping customers with their new phones and tablets, but the sales part was the death of me. I can’t help but tell people the truth, especially when I don’t think buying something is a good idea or isn’t needed, or if the product is trash. I probably got more sales because of my honesty in this area. But definitely not a strength of mine.
I also worked in music and performance, leading bands and performing live with guitar and singing. The singing and performance part in particular aren’t in my strengths. I can lead bands from a technical and efficiency prospective but I’m not a performer. Can I “perform” to a degree? Yes, but it’s not in my strengths and it doesn’t bring me the deepest joy daily.
Another interesting side effect for me has been the jolt in creativity. When I was younger I didn’t really think of myself as a creative, but after making a bunch of random things, writing guitar riffs and piano loops, creating my own apps, and always being able to brainstorm ways to solve lots of different problems I’ve realized that I am creative and it’s really starting to reveal itself. This newsletter is an unexpected result of the creative juices flowing after switching to software engineering somewhat later in life.
I’ve also started a YouTube channel which will probably be more programming-specific for the foreseeable future… (if you’re in to that kind of thing check it out).
And hopefully very soon I’ll be finishing up a v1 of a water tracking app to help people keep track of their daily water intake made entirely in SwiftUI (Apple’s newest technology designed in-house to make it easier to build apps for their devices). I’ll share my learnings from the whole experience of building my first iOS app as well as the back story of how it was really supposed to be a weight lifting app in a followup blog.
*If you’re interesting in learning programming or know someone who is, consider sharing this blog with them or my YouTube channel. I’ll be posting more content on how to learn programming to YouTube very soon.
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