I've been a software developer for almost 7 years now. To say I've had a good run at it would be an understatement (both financially and via life satisfaction)...I have no college degree, and learned most of my trade both on the job and in my spare time. Computers are one of the few fields where you can rise quickly through pure hard work and dedication without the requirement of a degree. With the proliferation of online communities and blogging, getting networked in to make even more of a name for yourself and over the years I've met some amazing people via blogging and communities. So why the title of this post?
I've decided to move on.
*pause for effect*
So what would possess someone with so much time and energy invested in his career to walk away from close to 6 figures a year, reasonable working hours, and a good working environment? The answer really isn't that simple actually and is the culmination of several different factors. And to be honest, I'm not exactly walking away from anything. Over the years, I've gained experience that can never be taken away, and computers will always be one of my main passions...there's no way I could have gotten to where I am today if they weren't. Everything I've learned will be easily transferable to my future endeavors. The short answer is that people change over time. What they want out of life changes, their goals and desires that they strive for. I've been in this business in some way shape or form since I was in my early twenties, and what I wanted out of life then is completely different than what I want now at age 30. Having a stable desk based job was great, but about 2 years ago I noticed myself getting restless, going in to work day after day, watching the months roll by...and unfortunately I started to grow discontent with both my career and the industry as a whole. Again, things change over time...what makes a person happy today may not necessarily make them happy 5 years from now.
So needless to say that after 2 years of more or less just going through the motions of the daily grind, I came to the incredibly hard decision that it's time for a change. Cube life just doesn't suit me anymore. Staring into a computer monitor for 9 hours a day has taken its toll, and after a lot of soul searching and talking to dozens (if not hundreds) of folks both in this business and otherwise the choice became pretty obvious: It was time to exit stage right more towards the top of my career rather than let my growing disinterest and restlessness start to jeopardize my future endeavors. So that's what I've done.
My relationship with my former employer has been severed and as of now I am out of the world of Corporate IT. I'm back in school fulltime working towards my B.A. Chemistry (which was my original major way back when I wanted to be a physician or a chemist, pre dotcom boom). I'll also be pursuing more of my creative interests as well, such as music and music production by taking classes related to those disciplines. I'm still young, and now is the time when there aren't other pressing obligations that would prohibit such a radical lifestyle change. The end goal as of now is either medical school, or post graduate work in Chemical Engineering. Outside of computers, chemistry and music were my biggest passions. The dotcom era steered me away from them...and while it was an amazing experience it is time to get back to my roots. That's not to say that I won't be doing any moonlighting...a complete severance might be too severe, but for now the main focus is school. If I bust my ass, I can have my B.A. in 2 years. I'll do a year here at the local university, and will then transfer to UNC to complete my B.A.
So how will this transition affect my blog, and any loyal readers I have left? That I don't know, but there will definitely be some changes in the direction of my writings. The lack of content over the past 2 years compared with previous time periods should be a pretty good indication of my growing discontent with the software industry. I'm sure I will still make technical posts from time to time as I still have several hobby projects I'm working on, but any content related to the business of software and Corporate IT will surely be few and far between, if at all. Seeing as school will be my number one priority, I'm sure content related to my Chemistry endeavors will begin once I start my major coursework. This will not become a student blog, but the focus from .Net and software development will surely change to more science and music. I realize I'll lose some readers in the process, but I also hope to start getting in touch with a new audience as well. Hell, maybe just stick around to keep tabs on my progress if you'd like. It promises to be an amazing journey, and knowing me, a very interesting one as well.
I will still be lurking around in areas such as Community Server, as well as reading most of your blogs in the little spare time I'll have going forward. I don't think I would have been half the developer that I was without having read your posts and gotten to know you over the past few years...I attribute much of my success to the circle of friends I've made through this blog and other communities. You guys know who you are, and you pushed me to be a better developer, and to give back whatever I could in the process. I'll be keeping up with you guys throughout this journey.
So that's it. Or is it? The only thing that is changing is my focus and where my efforts are directed. If I was able to accomplish what I did in the software industry, I have confidence in myself that my future endeavors should be equally as rewarding. I have had some amazing times in the software biz, and have learned more than I ever thought my tiny brain could handle. While cubicle life ultimately took its toll on me, I wouldn't trade any of it for anything else. Now at age 30 because of my years in the industry, I feel I'm better equipped for this new path than I ever could have been had I not pursued computers...I'll always be incredibly grateful for that.
Wed, Jul 9 2008 12:38 PM