Well… it was actually a 55.5% decrease in salary but 50% reads better. But why did I accept this? Was it a stupid mistake? I know my partner probably thought so at the time, albeit she was very supportive of my decision.
Long story short; programming enticed me. I became addicted to the art of programming.
Growing up I always had a love for technology. I loved to game on my Super Nintendo back in the day. I loved going on my dad’s old IBM PC when the internet had just become a thing. And, I loved gadgets; from walkmans to mobile phones, and even recently a VR headset.
I loved all things IT that much, that during my high school years, I had selected IT as one of my choices to take forward to obtain a qualification in (it is now mandatory). IT in school focused more so on how to use Microsoft Office tools more than anything else, but I still liked it.
Of course, IT wasn’t my only hobby. I also had a love for sport, football mainly. When I started college, I had chosen the following 3 subjects to study; IT, Physical Education and Psychology. I failed IT in my first year, I began to hate the subject. I was no longer motivated to pursue it and instead of choosing to re-sit my exam, I dropped the subject completely. Instead, I pursued down the path of sports.
After college I went straight to University to pursue a career as a Physiotherapist. I graduated in 2013 and made every bit of effort to make it work. I volunteered to physio for regional semi-professional football teams to gain some experience. I even started my own clinic in the local gym for a year all whilst applying for physio-related jobs. I finally accepted an offer to become a physio contractor in the Royal Air Force. The money was great, and so was the job.
My job as a contractor in the RAF required me to live on base. During my first few months I had no problem with this, in fact I loved it! I was loving life; working during the day and spending my evenings playing Rocket League on my Xbox One and watching TV series from the walking dead to Game of Thrones. On the weekends I would come home to spend time with my partner and my family.
Eventually, I got bored of basically doing nothing productive on the evenings during the working week. I wanted to make a bit of extra cash and utilize my time better. I was alone during the week, I had no distractions, I felt it was important to do something more. I certainly had the time for it. I remember one day googling something along the lines of: How to make money on the side?. The answer which kept popping up all over... you guessed it... Programming!
My intention was not to study 4-5 hours an evening, I planned to spend 1-2 hours. I still wanted time to relax. However, I became hooked instantly to programming, that I could not stop myself from doing just a little bit more.
It took 20 months, 7 telephone interviews and 3 failed person-to-person interviews before I got my first developer job. The job was located 40-minutes away from my house. I had been living away from home for 3 years and the idea of me being back sounded great.
There was of course one catch. The money. I had accepted a significant reduction in pay from my previous job.
At the time I was not sure if my partner understood or appreciated this. She had just begun a full-time Nursing degree which would mean predominantly relying on my income for the next 3 years.
I had researched the development prospects of a software engineer prior to applying for jobs of course, and I was every bit confident that the money would come in time. It did.
I have been working professionally as a software developer now for 2 years. I am still shy from the salary I used to be on as a physio, but I am confident that this will come in time, and even be surpassed!
Do I regret my decision to leave my University degree behind? Not one bit. My partner finally came round to understanding, accepting and admitting; that this move was the right thing to do. She loves having me around the home more... I think.
Thank you for reading.