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Why did you decide to learn software development?

terrythreatt profile image Terry Threatt Updated on ・4 min read

For some getting into software development is a straight and narrow path. C.S. degree, build some project, throw in an internship or two then the magic happens. My path has resembled something closer to a broadly shaped circle with events that caused course correction.

Exploration

I always loved exploring new information and problem-solving at its core. When I was 14 I discovered sheets of handwritten HTML/CSS/JS notes and spent days wrapping my head around this new language enough to hack together my first web page. This required lots of dusty and outdated books from the library to render a page full of naively horrible spinning shapes and gaudy Times New Roman text. However, the experience blew me away and created an interest that would prove to be unshakable.

Obstacles

I didn't own a personal computer at the time and managing trips to the local library after school became increasingly difficult to swing. This newfound interest got filled with new activities most of which involved sports. It happened to a bit more accessible for me to hop on a school-sponsored sporting event than to trek somewhere off to find one of a very limited supply of programming books and then code on a public library computer with a strict 45-minute use policy. Sports served me well being apart of a team and learning to build skills. Also didn't hurt that I became pretty good at most but it definitely didn't fulfill my need to problem solve.

New Hope

When I turned 16 I remember my mom buying a Dell desktop computer for family use and weeks of convincing her to put it in my room. All that convincing worked and wow what a time! It's safe to say I learned most of my google search skills serving me a developer today from this period in my life. Discovering tiny forums for answers to questions about how computers worked way before StackOverflow was born. Another pivotal point at the time for me was the social media platform Myspace. It helped me to earn my first bit of money with code. The emergence of the platform allowed me to sharpen my problem-solving skills to figure out how to create custom layouts for personal myspace pages for random people over the internet for a little bit of cash.

New Trial

Probably about 6 - 7 months into my Myspace custom design foray. The requests for custom templates really died out for me and I was left with what was going to be next for me. I truly enjoyed coding but it wasn't clear that I could have a career doing it. In Fact, I had never heard or saw anyone around me with a career as a developer so I didn't even give it any thought as a realistic career path for me. So, while I am going through college majors to decide on what I will be doing for the next 4 years of my life I went with sports administration. I had consistently spent a great portion of my time playing sports and some of my greatest role models were athletes or coaches. The decision almost felt like a no-brainer for my 16-year-old self since I had a heavy influence in sports and I knew I could do well as a coach someday.

Confirmation

5 years and hundreds of credits later I got my start in sports as an events & operations manager for a local university athletic department. My proudest moment came after a handful of promotions and being tasked to help create a parking plan on very short notice for a Division I football team that grossed over 30 - 40K people in fan attendance requiring 35 different parking lots all over campus. This included gathering outdated information (data) about pieces of the parking plans of the past and creating a new approach (specs) to create a solution to the problem of losing our entire parking operation and staff a month before the first game. That experience fulfilled me in a way I couldn't imagine but was the only one I had to chance to tackle in my 5-year experience working in sports. This got me open to a potential career change with opportunities to problem-solve. Just as I am open to new possibilities I discover a full-stack Javascript book filled with Angular & NodeJS problems to solve at my favorite used bookstore. Even though I hadn't touched any code in over 6 years. By the time I completed the entire book I was finally convinced to start a career as a software developer and burned all the boats as they say to get started.

Why

Developing code was my first and most consistent tool for solving problems. It has allowed me to do so in a more effective and efficient way that I have explored in my personal experience. My path to becoming a software developer has been so rewarding discovering what is for me and what isn't. I hope it inspires someone else to take a leap of faith and I hope to create some useful solutions to important problems as a software developer. I chose Flatiron School as my path to grow as a software developer because they offered a curriculum with great structure and proved to have really great results of matching developers with companies solving really impactful problems.

Terry Threatt

Discussion (2)

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Will (Mr_Tib)

This was a very inspiring read. I myself am in the initial stages of a career change and the unknown is very intimidating for me, but also exciting to see the possibilities that are. Thanks for sharing your story.

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Terry Threatt Author

Hi, Thanks for the read and happy that it served as some inspiration for you on your journey. I'm sure you will do great if you go for it!