Though question. I used to train swimming, but I gave up this in favor of the MSc degree. If I didn't go that way, I would be a trainer or safe guard now, I think. Answering this question, while I am a dev already, I could say that would go with PM role or something like this in IT anyway.
Before I got into software development, I was on the path to marketing and/or a "creative" role of some kind in writing/design. It was up in the air, but I'd always been creative and I very much enjoyed the creative elements in marketing.
When I got out into the real world, I started feeling creatively constrained and gravitated towards software as an outlet for doing that for real. I always felt like I needed to sell or justify in marketing. In software, I'm doing creative problem solving and the results are inherently satisfying.
It wound up being the case that I did a combination of all the things and my plan B has always been in the marketing realm if I ever found out my imposter syndrome was real and I need to go back to the other stuff.
Before I became a developer, it was more along the lines of 'I need to do something' without having any sort of passion for the jobs I did. I studied economics, then dropped out. I worked for a few years in agriculture and was kinda close to become a farmer, like my father. That was the 'safe' path, but I would have been miserable. Learning to code while I was working in these shitty jobs was definitely the best decision of my life.
Great that you found your real passion :)
During university, my plan was to pursue meteorology as a career. ...Then I hit second-year calculus and quickly discovered that my brain is not wired for complex math.
Switched gears to computer science. I concentrated on digital logic and hardware. ...Graduated. ...Wound up as a web developer instead.
Now at the midway point of my career, I'm out of web development entirely and dabbling in data engineering.
And looking to the future (which might be 1 year or 20 years away yet), I'd like to get away from IT altogether. ...Buy a farm and raise alpacas. Yes, seriously!
I knew pretty early on I wanted to be an engineer (8th Grade) and had a school system that fostered that.
By high school I was deciding which "kind" of engineer and had narrowed it to electrical and software.
I dual-majored in EE and CS in college (5 year program = 2 Bachelors degrees). It didn't cost much more than a normal 4-year degree. I dual-majored because I loved doing both EE and CS and wanted to maximize my employability. It was the recession and moving back home was NOT an option. I had to survive and thrive on my own after college.
From then on I've made a career out of it and love it, warts and all. It feels like a golden opportunity to be able to do what I love, make a good paycheck out of it, have a thriving community around it, and be able to share what I make with friends and family.
I've got an EE degree that just gathers dust, so that's a career that could've been. It does help to know some low level stuff but I'm not thinking about NAND gates when I'm writing Java or Python.
Writing appeals to me. If I ever go remote and freelance, I'd like to write for fun.
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