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From Nurse to Coder

chrismis79 profile image Christine Fletcher ・4 min read

Mid-life Crisis?

Call it a mid-life crisis or the path I was just meant to take, either way I’m thankful for the experiences that have brought me this far. I decided to share my story because after telling someone about my journey they were inspired to do something different with their life. When I tell others I have changed career paths from nursing to coding, I get mixed responses. Most people ask me “why?” That is the question I intend to answer in today’s post.

I was burnt out of nursing is the short answer. I remember my instructors talking about nurse burnout in school, when as green students, we couldn’t understand how someone in the healthcare field could become so jaded. It happens. I get it now. I promised myself then at 20 years old if I ever got to the point I was burnt out and could no longer care for patients the way I know I can and should, I would get out. Finally, that is what I did.

I say finally because it took me a long time. I made decent money as a nurse and I was comfortable. However, if you have known me at all for any length of time, you know I have tried, without success to start up a business or side gig to hopefully one day work my way out of nursing. I never made it a priority so of course it never happened. I was too comfortable.

Find what you enjoy doing and you will never work a day in your life.

Part of the problem was I really had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had always heard the saying, find what you enjoy doing and you will never work a day in your life. I always thought, “yeah right.” The things I enjoy doing are artsy such as singing, writing and crafting. I also enjoy gardening and cleaning can be quite therapeutic at times. None of these things seemed to lend itself to a stable career. That is, until I stumbled upon coding.

Turning Point

During October of 2018 I worked my last full-time shift as a nurse, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I continued to work every once in while with a local staffing agency but was fortunate enough to be able to take some time off and explore some career options. During this time, I started working for an IT staffing agency and was introduced to the IT community.

The IT community was very intriguing to me. It is very open and everyone shares their work and ideas with one another. I met several people that are software developers who had changed careers later in life and were happy with their choice.

“There are plenty of online resources out there to start learning."

When I first told my wife Amanda that I wanted to go to school to learn software development, she told me “There are plenty of online resources out there to start learning. Do some learning on your own, let me see what you can make, then we will discuss enrolling you in a training program.”

Early Learning

I had always thought you had to be one of those super smart people that had been coding since they were five to learn this stuff. Turns out, you just need to have the motivation to learn. I found a couple of different free online coding courses that got me going with some basic HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The one that was most helpful for me was Free Code Camp. https://www.freecodecamp.org/ Turns out I kind of have a knack for this!

I made a couple of basic websites and enjoyed the entire process, from learning and researching to planning and designing what I wanted my site to look like. Then, I put all those words and symbols in a file and it magically appeared on a web page! Exciting stuff! However, I felt if I wanted to make a career out of coding, I needed a more formal education.

I felt if I wanted to make a career out of coding, I needed a more formal education.

When I showed Amanda what I had built she seemed rather impressed and was supportive of me finding a coding boot-camp to join. I had been doing some research and found with my prior degree I didn’t necessarily need another 4 year CS degree, nor did the thought of going back to college appeal to me.

The problem was money. Most boot-camps I found charged anywhere from $5,000-$30,000 up front and were only 3 months in length! Plus, there was no guarantee that I would get a job when I finished. Sounded risky, especially when most shared nothing about the success of their graduates. That is when Amanda, in doing her own research for me, found Lambda School.

Amanda asked if I had come across Lambda in my search, I had not. She told me you can go to their school for NO COST upfront and pay later ONLY if you get a job making at least 50K/year! I was like “WHAT?” I had never heard of such a thing! I soon learned Lambda was really shaking things up in the IT educational arena! A school that invests in you first! Loved the concept.

Loved the concept of Lambda Investing in me first!

Lambda School seemed to fit the bill of what I needed. It is a 6+ month intensive coding school that offers a full-stack software development program among several other tracks. In doing my research online I saw several negative posts about Lambda and how the ISA (Income Service Agreement) is a scam. I’m sorry, but if I don’t pay a dime until after they have completely trained me, helped me find a job, AND I’m making 50K/year? That isn’t a scam. The only thing I have invested is my blood, sweat, and tears. No, Lambda isn’t paying me to say these things!

In future posts I plan to talk about the application process to Lambda School, share my experiences and what I’m learning as well as what I like and don’t like about Lambda School. I hope you follow along in my journey! Until next time!

Discussion (9)

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dthompsondev profile image
Danny Thompson

"Turns out, you just need the motivation"

This is why I am so obsessed with motivating other developers! To help them realize how phenomenal they are!

You are amazing Christine and I am so excited you made that leap into tech!

Keep doing amazing things and reaching new levels 🙏❤️

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Christine Fletcher Author

Thank you so much Danny!! That is my goal. I want to motivate people, especially women, to have the guts to at least try!

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Danny Thompson

YESS!!! Especially women! I have a HUGE passion to help get more women into tech and it has been working so far in my city, Memphis,TN. This is a subject I could about for days, but a huge passion of mine!

Keep being phenomenal Christine!

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Christine Fletcher Author

Thank you so much for the encouraging words! Makes sharing my story a little easier!

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Anthony Kizer

I absolutely love hearing these types of stories, because there are so many individuals out there who feel stuck in a job just because they "make decent money" and are "comfortable" financially, yet slowly become burnt out and silently question their current path. Looking forward to your future posts, Christine!

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Christine Fletcher Author

Thank you for your kind words! Looking forward to sharing more!

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Ami Scott (they/them)

I'm so happy for you and proud of how far you've come and and much you've learned!

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