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Why did I choose to study software engineering?

jonathan_cummings profile image Jonathan_Cummings ・3 min read

I wanted to explore the field of Software Engineering because of all the unique opportunities it provides. Living in a pandemic has shown me how important the tech industry is. During the first few months of COVID I remember being told this was going to be very short and temporary. Ok yes, technically it still is “temporary.” But what happens when “temporary” continues? We must adapt and adapt we did. We learned how fast so many jobs could be done remotely but What does that mean? It means there is a huge demand for tech jobs to support this shift. I want to be part of this new world.

Growing up in the 90’s we had a family computer we all shared. One of my favorite memories were of me sitting next to my mother while she played Everquest. Everquest, in my opinion, was the first successful MMORPG. It was so intriguing to me to watch this fantasy world play out and wonder how it all came to be. As time went on, I’d sit on stacks of phone books at her desk making attempts at playing the game. This sparked my love for computers. I was so curious on how everything worked and how a computer could generate all this information. My late stepdad was a software engineer; he would tell me bits of information trying to teach me a little here and there. I still cherish that time we had and what he taught me. I watched as the internet grew, changed and became more refined from the 90’s to now the 20’s! It has been exciting to watch but I never knew how to get into the field.
As time went on and I gained more and more access to the internet and I would explore. Explore I did and found a site called Myspace. Now if you’re a millennial just hearing Myspace it makes you shudder but hold up. First off, Myspace was the OG social platform back in the day and it fostered some interesting avenues for creativity. I remember getting on there and learning the most basic of HTML to customize my page adding so many unnecessary details. Staying up late hours on end just to create the best font for my page was my life.
Now fast forward, coming into adulthood I didn’t really know where in life to go. I wasn’t sure how to get a job in tech or what the right questions to ask even were. I ended up going to community college and stumbling into my field of work of being a Psychiatric technician, basically a fancy word for Psych nurse. I love working in mental health and I do it very well. However, my favorite aspects of my job are working on the computer. Being at a desk makes up only 10% of my day. Everyone has always come to me when there was an issue with a computer or needed to fix something, and I took pride in that. I love collecting data and manipulating it to display trends.
Finally, I found myself researching Software engineering. I became so intrigued and couldn’t stop reading about the career and all the opportunities I could pursue. The idea that I could do all my work at a computer just felt so satisfying for me, and it makes so much sense. It is what I’m comfortable with and it’s something I want to know how to do. As I’ve begun learning about Ruby, I have found myself so excited to learn and challenged. I want to learn more and keep learning and that makes me happy. I feel like my life has taught me to be problem solving orientated and that is probably the most desired trait of working as a software engineer. If I am faced with a problem, I will solve it. Now I have no shame in admitting I don’t have all the answer, but I will find the answer with help of a peer or the internet. It might sound odd that working in nursing has prepared me for working in tech but quite honestly, I think it really has. This is because of how resilient, how problem solving orientated it has made me and how patient it has made me. That is why I decided to study software engineering.

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