What made you want to pursue a career in tech?
I worked in logistics years ago and the software we used was on the older side of Desktop applications. It was missing features so I decided to try to build a small web application to make my job easier. Once I started learning and building I realized this was like magic, you could make something completely out of your imagination! At that moment I was hooked and knew I had to do this for a living.
What is the biggest obstacle you faced along your career and how did you overcome this?
I'd say there were two very large obstacles that I had to overcome.
1. Dealing with a learning curve and finding the time to overcome it – I was working 12 to 14-hour days at one point, so finding the time to study was difficult. Pair that with having to learn how to code, but also having to learn the tooling and environment around it (IDE, OOP, Functional Programming, etc..) was challenging. My solution was to take it one day at a time and limit my scope. I'd spend at least 2 hours a day studying/practicing and limit myself to one/two tools for that day.
2. Entering the field – it can be very difficult to convince potential employers that you will be a good developer. Especially if you come from a different industry and don't have any professional Dev experience yet. The way I overcame this was by building a small application/extension to the potential employer's current software (even if just a 1-page script that was relevant to their software). Presenting this when you reach out, being able to speak to how you understand their business and bringing value to it, will help you stand out. If you have any soft skills, now is the time to use them.
What are some tips for tech professionals on how to be productive when working remotely?
I would just echo what other work from home developers suggest: To follow your routine as close as possible. Get up at the same time and do your usual daily prep – yes that means not wearing sweat pants or pajamas. Also, make sure you treat your home office like you would your normal office. If you don't go to the break room every 20 minutes at work, then don't do that at home either. Last tip is to work your normal hours. It can be very tempting to get up extra early or stay working extra late. This can lead you to get bored with your work fast so try to avoid that.
What advice would you give to your peers working towards a career in tech?
Try to limit the amount of articles you read about new tech and spend more time actually building things and when you do, go past the 'hello world' part. It is more valuable to spend time building an application from start to finish and spend the time necessary to learn development, unit testing and deployments. It is better to learn this fully in one stack than it is to learn 'hello world' in multiple stacks. Also unit testing – learn unit testing.
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