Making the switch - Part 1


I had recently graduated with Bachelors's degree in Mechanical Engineering and Physics. I was working as a Manufacturing Engineer at an organization that engineered, machined then assembled safety equipment for non-automotive applications. There was a part of me that loved what I was doing. All the exciting equipment, tools, and processes I had never seen up close and personal before. It was pretty cool. But, something was not right with this position. I was spending all day at work learning about and building with the tools I had only imagined using. To come home and sit at a computer learning how to develop software for a micro-controller. Something, I had never imagined using.

Pretty quickly, I found my interest in software was greater than the interest I had ever felt toward mechanical engineering. The software was able to be crafted or modified so quickly compared to a custom tool or manufacturing process. Minutes to hours compared to days or even months. The next step was to figure out how prevalent software jobs were in my area. Come to find out, software engineering is a pretty popular industry in my area. So that was a great start. I could find a new viable career path without the need to move to a different area.

Next, I dug in deeper taking a look at job postings for software developers in my area. I was interested in the education requirements employers were looking for. I remember feeling as though I was not qualified to take on any of the open positions I found. During this time I was continuing to learn more and more about building software. I stepped back from the micro-controller and started focusing more on the languages I was seeing in the job postings. I found these languages to be more interesting than the one used on the micro-controller. This furthered my interest in a career change.

With my interests at an all-time high and confidence in my qualifications at an all-time low, I determined it was time to go back to school before I could make the career change that I wanted. I ended up deciding to get a Masters's degree in Computer Science. The idea is going this route was to prove to myself and prospective employers that I was able to be successful in this career. Giving me the leg up against other candidates I would be interviewing against in the future. I ended up finding the perfect university, I could take all my courses online. Each test could be proctored at a location near me. All I had to do was apply and come up with the funding and the time.

Funding and the application process were a great success. I was in! Now the hard work and perseverance were going to get me through this to my dream. After all, I was going to do this while working full time. As part of my acceptance, there were a couple of undergraduate classes that were prerequisites to the program. After those, it was off to the races!

In part 2 I will discuss how I landed my first software development project and took my first steps into the industry.