I'm a normal guy living a semi-normal life in a very normal, small town. I drive a normal car and have an amazing (but normal) girlfriend. If I knew you 3 years ago and you'd told me I'd be a fully functioning web developer today, I probably would have ignored you...
Back then, I was working a dead-end job, but I'd accepted it. I was attending an online university for IT. I knew I was smarter than the tasks at hand which were presented to me and I knew I deserved better than the daily mistreatment I got from being the only computer nerd in the microtunneling shop full of mechanics.
Honestly, I feel like my boss knew this, too, because I did everything. From janitorial duties, to fleet management, to temp supervising, and at one point, they even wanted me to learn app development on my own time, so I could develop for them an app! So that's what I started doing.
It wasn't till the end of my time there, when I asked to be transferred to another department, did my experiences get a little more interesting. I don't regret my time in the shop, necessarily. I learned enough about the fleet management software they used to get me into a situation in my new dept to help design the new fleet management software suite to which they were switching.
Now, my hand in the process was actually pretty minute. I was really more the middle man in the process to relay what functionality we needed to the team of the company building it. But this was proving difficult, so I tried to learn the language the program was written in, so I could figure out the limitations into which I was running and try to fix them or work around them.
I could feel pretty early into this process the hunger I was developing. Coding is like solving puzzles inside other puzzles. The smallest coding puzzle can both ruin your day and make you cheer with excitement when you solve it. This passion and hunger to code lead me into the point at which I decided it was time to change my life.
... Or as I coined it: my YOD. All to often, I get this feeling of being stuck in a rut. I feel like things need to change or aren't changing enough and it really irks me when life feels too stable. Is that normal? In this case, I got this feeling and it wouldn't stop. The idea of the YOD was to make myself so uncomfortable with new experiences, that I could potentially change my life.
I was coming up on the new year of 2017 and essentially decided to take a random road trip for my winter vacation. I went to SoCal, up to Vegas, over to the Grand Canyon, almost back to Vegas again, to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, and then came home... completely uneasy. So much so, that when I returned home, I ended up putting in my two weeks notice the same week.
I had a little money saved... and not too much planned outside of that. I just knew I didn't want to deal with the fluff of the shop where I worked anymore. To my surprise, I was actually requested to a meeting the following week with my shop manager, the office manager, the HR lady, and the owner of the business to discuss some "special terms" to my quitting.
As it turns out, I really was the only guy who knew both the new and old maintenance software. They requested I stay until it's completion. At that time, I had quit the university, but I was still in the program for the app development. So, my terms were that I could work part-time starting at 5 am, so I could get a full day in studying this app development afterwards. And, surprisingly, they agreed.
For six months, I held up my end of the bargain. I had decided that at the end of my time there, I was going to go have finished my certificate and then pack up and spend the summer in Norway (because flying there is insanely inexpensive). And then... I met a girl.
I finished my role with my company and was all set to leave. Only, as I headed to Portland to get ready for my flight. All the feelings I had for this trip were melting away and the girl was winning my heart. We* got up the next morning and then ended up sleeping in instead. I haven't looked back sense.
Instead, I used my remaining savings and almost all my time to learn android development (... wait, what?). I was putting 15 hours a day into it when I came across a course on Udemy which came with a PDF titled "How to make $10,000 while learning to code". Among the first steps: Build your own portfolio site. And history was made.
Nowadays, I've finished 4 certificates for web development and by some miracle, I still have the girlfriend. I'm looking for a corporate job and trying to build my freelance business. I ran out of money long ago, but that hasn't stopped my drive. I'm still spending double digits of hours routinely here behind the computer. I'm happy now, though. I'm doing something I REALLY enjoy! I'm glad I finally realized what I needed to do to get here.
I blog about my coding, which you should read and tell me how I'm doing! You're also invited to just drop me a line and tell me what you think about my story and my YOD. Maybe you want to do a YOD of your own and don't know where to start. I definitely have some pointers.
I also try to get out and do some kind of adventuring every week via hiking, mountain biking, dancing, or what have you. This is the reason for the nature-photo headers and also, I post videos about my adventures on YouTube! They're rough, but I'm always improving.
In any case, for now... I havta get back to work, so take care and look around awhile!
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