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Why I Took a 50% Pay Reduction to Become a Software Developer

jrdev_ profile image Jr. Dev ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿ’ป ใƒป4 min read

Wellโ€ฆ 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.

TLDR
Long story short; programming enticed me. I became addicted to the art of programming.


Background

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 dadโ€™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 wasnโ€™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.


Where it all began

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!

From this point, January 2017, I dedicated 4-5 hours on an evening after work to programming. I started with HTML & CSS, and moved on to JavaScript and PHP as time went on and my skills progressed.

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.


Applying for jobs

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.


Conclusion

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.


Header photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

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jrdev_ profile

Jr. Dev ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿ’ป

@jrdev_

Software developer working in the aviation industry

Discussion

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Glad to hear your story. This is the most amazing thing about programming, it is one of those few things in life where what u put is what u get. There are other jobs where talent and hard work is not enough.

 

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 dedicated 4-5 hours on an evening after work to programming. I started with HTML & CSS, and moved on to JavaScript and PHP as time went on and my skills progressed.

It took 20 months.

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.

Thanks for sharing. If you like it, it is the best. Also, for productivity freaks, it is probably more productive as well. (not about the money.)

 

Unless you get paid more, you're going to regret in the long term. Money cash is the most important. It's the $$/hr that matter, because money gives you big choices.

So if you are a sucky coder and can't earn cash, go back to your original day job. If you are getting better at coding, invest all the time and commitment to become a better coder, because, unlike what people think, money is important. You can have choices: travel the world, buy whatever you want, donate etc.

I am a developer for 15 years.

 

Interesting story! Money isn't everything :)

 

Great story, my story is very similar and now after 10 years Iโ€™m making beyond anything I was before. It takes sacrifice to get the things we really want and this proves it right here.

 

Amazing Story. It was really inspiring :D
Thanks for sharing

 

Great post Mr. A. Keep up the hard work ๐Ÿค

 

At least you can now massage yourself for free, you are going to need it... :)

 
 

A nice and inspiring story. What was your age at the time of that decision?

 

Thanks Alaz, I was 27 when I got my first job