From Teaching to Tech — My Journey to Front-End Web Development
I had just finished my education degree, graduated, and officially became an Ontario Certified Teacher, when it hit me: I don’t want to be here.
While teaching was something I legitimately enjoyed, I found classroom teaching to be a little too rigid and, after graduating, the profession once again became the target of a political campaign. Seeing my friends, who were passionate about teaching, struggle to find consistent work pushed me further away from the pursuit of classroom teaching and I began to look at education-adjacent careers. One job that caught my eye was a curriculum consultant for a mathematics video game company, which I had used during my time in the classroom.
I have always been interested in coding and video games. My friend taught me to customize HTML using our Neopets and Piczo accounts, I liked to dive into my computer’s settings to customize it as much as possible, and playing video games was a regular hobby (oh the glorious Playstation 2). Having a job involving video games was something I kept at the back of my mind, but that job posting brought it to the forefront.
I never applied for the curriculum consultant as I was offered a tutoring position from a recruiter who found my profile on an education job posting website. While I enjoyed tutoring, it didn’t serve well as a career path.
While helping coach new skaters at a Toronto Roller Derby practice, I overheard the head coach saying that she had started her career as a pastry chef and then transitioned to being a front-end web developer. After practice I asked if she’d be willing to grab a coffee to discuss her career change, and we made plans for later on in the week. When we met for coffee she told me about how she changed her career within a year.
We talked about how she learned HTML/CSS, then completed an immersive web-development bootcamp which prepared her for her career. After talking more about the school she attended, Juno College of Technology (then called HackerYou), I was sold. The bootcamp would get me job-ready, I would receive support while job searching, and I would be part of an alumni network that actually helped each other.
When I complete bootcamp in 8 weeks (we’re done week 1 now), it will be 6 days before the anniversary of the coffee chat that changed my life. When I thought about my career after university I didn’t expect this, but I’m happy I’m here.
(Originally published on Medium)