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Why I'm Here From Where I Came

Jonny Riecke
Current software engineering student at FlatIron School in Seattle. Happy to be learning again!
・3 min read

Hello! My name is Jonny Riecke, and I am a current student at FlatIron School in Seattle. I am at the beginning of my 5th week here, and we have been tasked with reflecting on why we are here in the first place. Looking back, there was never a point where I considered moving into this field. If you would have told 20-year-old Jonny that 30 year-old-Jonny would be going back to school for Web Development, he'd probably be very confused. While I don't think that I've ever had a concrete idea of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, something like this was never in the cards. Now that I am here, I am very excited to see what 40-year-old Jonny will have to say.

I originally moved to Seattle from Denton, Texas two years ago. Unsatisfied with life stagnating after college, I managed to convince myself that picking up my life and moving across the country would solve all of my problems. I accepted a job offer that would change my career from production work at a small screenprinting shop to running sales support at a gigantic corporation that manufactured computer room air conditioning and battery backup systems.
How COULDN'T this solve all of my problems??? Of course this was the answer!

Turns out, the adhesive of my bandaid would wear off over the course of the next two years and I'd find a similar dissatisfaction looming over me. What is different now is that I am in one of the biggest tech hubs in the country, now befriended with a lot of people that work in the tech world. I was no foreigner to coding, as anyone that grew up in a pre-iPhone world had a high probability of at least learning just enough HTML to change their MySpace profile. Both I and technology have changed a lot since then, so would this even be something I could do? I dipped my toes into self-teaching, trying things like Harvard's CS50 and courses on Udemy and got a small look into the gigantic, seemingly endless world of programming. Seeing the number of paths you can go down with coding is thrilling, and I was very encouraged to find that learning one language only makes learning your next easier. It seemed flexible, challenging, and rewarding- things I had not experienced from a job in a very long time.

I knew that I could not go the fully-self-taught route. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to learning. I am easily distracted and even easierly (that's a word) unmotivated, so I knew I had to get into a classroom of some kind. I considered going back to college for a second degree, but the prospect of taking on more debt and being in school for a few more years was daunting. I was trying to convince myself this was the right move until I heard of a friend nearing graduation at a bootcamp. I had not considered a bootcamp as I was not convinced of the legitimacy of alternative-schools. I began researching them, and the general consensus was that, like any other education, it's only as good as the effort you put into it.

Now here I am, 5 weeks in. I keep being asked, "How is it going so far?" and my response has yet to change: I have never been so utterly defeated and completely motivated at the same time. The coursework is challenging and dense, but I had forgotten how rewarding learning is. Working a problem forever and finally solving it is so gratifying and empowering. I have goals again. I am working towards something with a future that I'm excited for. I HAVE PURPOSE!

In conclusion, the need for more brought me here. I'm not sure if I'll ever be completely satisfied with my life, and I don't think I'll ever change the world with programming (or blog posting) but I at least can get the satisfaction of knowing that I'm no longer settling for whatever the bare minimum is.

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