Why I changed careers

The number one question I got asked in interviews before changing careers is why I decided to change from structural to software engineering. In this post I share my reasons why.

A long story short, I started programming for the first time whilst completing my thesis. I was required to write an algorithm for a mathematical model, which I enjoyed so much that I decided to take a break after completing my degree and teach myself computer science before committing to a job. It very quickly became apparent that this was the direction I wanted my career to go in and I have five reasons for making that change.

  1. The amount of innovation happening
    With the opportunities available to us to today it has never been easier for people to make and learn new things. Examples that come to mind are self-driving cars and augmented reality. Developing software brings me closer to this excitement and also keeps my brain fit so I can keep up with a world that is changing exponentially.

  2. The ability to see the results of your hard work
    By this I mean the feeling every developer gets when they get a new feature working and get to see results almost instantaneously. One of the first times I experienced this was when I got a basic version of my algorithm working for my thesis. I remember writing loads of spaghetti code with no idea about design and after fiddling around a bit I clicked on ‘plot’ and a graph popped up on the screen depicting my results. Believe me, this was a really exciting moment!

  3. The ability to apply what you learn straight after learning it
    There have been numerous occasions where I have read, watched or listened to something new and I am able to apply this at work or in my own projects. An example is design patterns. As soon as you are able to use and recognise them programming becomes a lot more elegant.

  4. The team and work atmosphere that we are exposed to
    With Agile processes such as Scrum and Extreme Programming, teams are able to work extremely effectively. As a result, individual members are able to learn more, the team is able to interact better with one another and productivity increases dramatically.

  5. The people that are attracted to the profession
    There are so many good and inspiring developers out there that are genuinely interested in helping others. Just have a look at the trending open source projects on GitHub.

Final Thoughts

So those are the reasons I made the change. I don’t regret the decision at all and can highly recommend doing it. Have a look at how I changed careers for the steps I took to make this all happen.