That One Time I Grew Up And Became A Web Developer
I've wanted to be many things in life: Writer, Tattoo Artist, Restauranteur, Architect, and loads more I can't recall. I frequently get inspired and think to myself "my gosh, this is what I've been searching for, this is what I was born to do" and so as any knowledge seeker would I turned to papa Udemy and bought a course. At this point, if you're thinking "oh, what a gift this man is. truly remarkable that he can change his specialty at the drop of a dime", you've probably never purchased a course from Udemy before. Hunter Trammell: owner of a lot of Udemy courses - does not guarantee that I've finished all of them. A few of my inspirations made it to light, I wrote 3 novels: 2 published, one later unpublished because it was smut, then a 3rd that rests comfortably in a hard drive at the bottom of my "computer bin", and my most important and final career inspiration being a Developer.
School was never my strong suit whether it be the academic aspect or the social aspect. I was the kid with a million ideas and a track record for not following through - due to dreaming too big and wanting success too fast. High school came around and not much changed, I sat in the library most days because I felt uncomfortable approaching a table to sit with the other students at lunch. I had so much free time with no friends that you'd think me to have excelled with my studies, but I enjoyed entertainment a lot more than I enjoyed schoolwork. I knew I wasn't going to be able to afford college tuition and lost motivation. I dropped out of high school at the end of the first semester of my senior year. After dropping out I went through the testing process to get my GED because I felt I wouldn't be able to get a job without it. I had been working at the local AMC movie theatre and planned to move into management once I was old enough for the role. I passed the exam and even won a scholarship for an essay I submitted on my experience with dropping out of High School. I let my stubbornness get the best of me and made one of my most regrettable decisions, to receive the scholarship (which would have covered a full semester at the local Junior College) I needed to write a thank you letter to the donor. I chose to not write the thank you letter out of protest - a protest that you should not give with the expectation that you will receive something in return (gratification). For whatever reason this seemed like the best course of action - and I sealed my "I never went to college" fate right there.
When I turned 18 I was asked to apply for a supervisor position, I gladly accepted and failed the exam. It was a really low point, I failed the exam because the math questions were too difficult for me, and honestly thought that resisting the temptation to google the answer was a trait to be admired. As a developer, I have learned this to not be an admirable trait, but more on that later. I waited the probationary 90 days, then a position opened up and I took the test a second time. After the plea's from the other staff to 'just google it' I passed the exam and was officially a supervisor. I was making $10/hr and felt on top of the world. I worked hard to earn the position I was in and continued to work my way up for the next several years. Fast forward to 2014, I met and soon after started dating the love of my life Ceri. We had an instant connection and were inseparable from that point.
We were expecting our first child Murphy in 2016 and reality set in - hard. I had always been living paycheck to paycheck, I had even got in the habit of over-drafting my account $200 each pay period to make ends meet, but that proved harder to dig myself out of making the wages I was. I was a manager by then but was only making $11.75 and overtime didn't kick in till 46 hours so my paychecks weren't that pretty. I knew that I needed to take the next step, I was professionally ready to take on a larger role and now was a great time to pursue it. After a few interviews and no offers, I decided to take a leap of faith. I wanted to stay with AMC because it was all I knew, I was good at it and knew every system like the back of my hand, but being so close to the corporate office, the positions I wanted were all getting taken by people trying to position themselves to get their foot in the door with corporate. Well, if they were all heading here to get a piece of the action, so was I. I applied for a few roles, but the one I received an interview and later a job offer with was with their IT support desk.
Mind you before 2017 the closest thing I had to a computer was a crappy laptop that was plagued by years of torrenting and 'bad links', I had no technical experience but I did have experience at the theatre. I struggled for the first few months with computer terminology, I wanted to build a PC but lacked the money to do so. All of my coworkers had A+ certifications while I had nothing. After I gained an understanding I got good, I was comfortable with explaining technical concepts to non-technical people and that is what I think helped me the most at that job. I later got a promotion to a Level 2 position, which is the highest level under the department leadership. After a few months, I realized that I was stuck. I had plateaued and I was scared. I picked up the technical knowledge as I went and was able to figure things out, but my next move was uncertain. When I was working at the theatre, management came and went so it was generally a good bet that a job would eventually become available. But this was not the field and jobs don't change that often (imagine what good pay & benefits do to employee retention). The other L2's I was working with had been in the same position there for 5+ years, if anything opened up, regardless of skill, seniority would come into play. My only move was to try and move outside the department but to do that I would need a specialty that I did not have.
I enjoyed working with computers and technology, I had never shown interest because I thought it required too much math and seemed like something that was out of my league. I decided to pursue my A+ certification as a starting off point, I knew I wanted to do something with computers and this seemed like a good spot to get my foot in the door. I went through the course, learned a ton but slept a bunch (I fall asleep very easily when I'm not engaged #igottheapps). I honestly went in with an interest in current computer systems and was ready to learn about GPU's, water cooling, etc, but was a bit disheartened to learn that it was mainly focused on older systems the stuff that is in use in offices, schools, etc, not gaming computers. I passed 1 of the 2 exams, the networking section got me. As I started to look more into possible avenues in technology to look into, I was reminded of a local coding Bootcamp through KU. I could learn how to be a Full Stack Web Developer in 6 months. My interest was peaked and I gave it a lookover. Interesting, but tuition was to be paid in full before the start of the course. I couldn't afford it. To my luck, the program was starting a financing option, after talking with my wife I decided to give it a shot. I had terrible credit and had been denied about every credit line I applied to except for Amazon (which was a bad idea, maxed out within an hour of approval - to be young and naïve). To my surprise I got approved - and I didn't need to make a payment until halfway into the program. This was really good news. I changed my work schedule so my days off lined up with the weekday classes since I worked nights and the class met in the evening and go to work.
A fire was ignited that still burns bright to this day. I did a lot of growing in 5 years, I channeled my self-destructive tendencies and gave myself an outlet to express myself. I always wanted to be an artist but was never great at drawing, I wanted to be a writer but struggle a bit with the editing/proofreading aspect. With development, I can fill in the gaps with the click of a search bar. I am no longer confined to 'natural ability or years of foundational learning and discipline. If I want to do something new, I pull up the documentation or find a tutorial, the knowledge is endless.
I've still got plenty of room to grow, but my pursuit of excellence is far from over. I'm finally past tutorial hell and can confidently say I'm a developer and I make things for the internet. Lately, I've taken a step back from tinkering with new tools/technology to focus on better understanding the core concepts of programming. I tutor several hours a week and have learned so much just from being forced to explain why things work - highly suggest tutoring or some form of instruction as a learning tool. I am genuinely passionate about development, of all my 'failures' in life or my abandoned impulses this one outshined the rest and I am very thankful for this.