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Hi everyone, I'm in a bit of a critical point in my life, and I would be extremely thankful to have the input from people with experience in the software development industry. I've been very anxious about this, so really, thanks for the advise in advance. This might be a little long. I'm sorry.
First, a bit of background: I'm 29, I graduated from Industrial Engineering a couple of years ago. While I was still in university, I also found interest in programming, specifically Android development. No programming was taught in my classes; I just casually came upon the idea through the process of rooting my first Android phones, which was something I enjoyed doing. It's been my dream for some time now to turn my own ideas into apps and make this into my business (first Android apps, then probably iOS apps if all goes well. I'm more of a creative person so I want to release my own apps based on my ideas, not client work.). I would obviously like to have a successful business for that matter. I've taken several online Java and Android courses, and I'm now at a point where I know enough to start building the first app ideas that I've had. I'm still very much a beginner, by the way. So they would be nothing fancy, but they'd be a usable and practical product with the potential of being improved upon as I continue to develop my Android knowledge.
A small note: I like Industrial Engineering too, designing and optimizing processes and all that, and would like to apply this knowledge in my business.
Ok, so I currently have a non-programming job that roughly pays my personal bills. I can do it from home and part-time because it's freelance, which is awesome and quite a miracle in my country. It leaves me a lot of free time to start building stuff and continue learning about Android and more CS stuff. It's also a very non-stressful job, which is very helpful when trying to combine it with other activities. I also struggle with anxiety, OCD and depression, so this kind of job has been a very positive change for my mental health. I would very much love to follow this specific path where I continue to support myself on this job, while I simultaneously start releasing apps and working on this until I actually start earning enough money and can eventually transition to this as my full-time job.
My problem is that I have one major gripe with the previously described path. I have some work experience but in areas that are not related to the software development industry. Earlier this year, I did a short internship at an actual software development company where they did client work. They were supposed to train me further in Android development, but it was pretty much a scam; I didn't receive any sort of training, and I really didn't feel comfortable overall with their culture and everything I could sense from the environment, so I ended up leaving the internship early since it felt like a waste of time and also didn't feel quite right. BUT, while I was there, I was able to pick up on some things as other employees talked to each other. These people seemed to have their processes very clearly defined and fine-tuned. They used a lot of different tools to do several things ranging from communication, tracking project tasks, tracking time, managing the APIs that they built, etc. I obviously didn't have any knowledge of these tools or the processes they followed. I still don't really know exactly what they were doing. I was only able to notice how they had several processes and tools in place. And I couldn't help feeling overwhelmed and anxious about how little I know about all these processes and tools and how much of a disadvantage it is to not have any industry experience like that at all.
I know that having some relevant industry experience increases your chances of your business succeeding. And I obviously want to succeed at my attempt of making a business around my apps. And as I said before, the path that I described first is the one I'd really like to follow. But this experience at the software development company has put the idea in my mind that if I want to be able to have a successful app business (or any other software business), I absolutely need to work at another company that does this, for some time, in order to gain some industry experience and then eventually transition to my own business. I'm having the idea that if I don't go and work at another company, I'll never get the kind of real-world industry knowledge that I need to be successful later, like it's the only way, and if I don't do it, my dream of having my app business would fail very early on. The problem is that for very strong personal reasons, I don't want to work as an employee in another company anymore. So I'm having the idea that if I went through my desired original plan described above, I wouldn't be able to get the same quality of knowledge and industry experience that I would when working at a company and that I would eventually fail. But, as I said, I really don't want to go through working at a company anymore.
A part of me also thinks that if I stick to the path that I want to follow, I could still get that same level of industry knowledge on my own. At some point the founders and/or employees of the company where I did my internship had to sit down and define their processes, do some research on tools and processes that other companies were using, try them out and keep on testing them and optimizing them over time. Maybe they even started from scratch too since the founder was pretty young when he started. So I'd have to follow the same process too until I found my own choice of tools and processes. It would certainly take me longer than if I had worked somewhere else where I could see an example of tools and processes already in place, and it would probably cause a higher amount of setbacks and trial and error. But that's why I'd have the support of my current job (along with living a bit frugally) until things hopefully work well enough for me to be able to fully transition to my app business. I also think that my Industrial Engineering background could actually be very useful in this regard and that things could probably turn out alright.
I don't really know much about this industry as you can see... So I'd like to know the input from persons who actually do. Is it really an absolute must to work at another company? (I know it would be the ideal thing to do... But as I said, I have very strong personal reasons against this.) Or am I a bit too obsessed with this idea and my second point of view is also viable? That where I follow my desired path and can still eventually get the desired level and quality of industry knowledge to make my business succeed.
I'm very sorry for this terribly long post. It's just that I've been very anxious, obsessed and depressed about this. I really needed to talk about it with people who know more about this than I do. And I thank you so much for reading and giving me whatever input you can.