When I was younger I would play many video games. Often those video games often involved large groups of people up to 40 players in a World of Warcraft Molten Core raid. All 40 of those people would need somewhere to communicate, and someone needed to provide resources to facilitate that.
At the time Ventrilo offered their VoIP platform for users to use, but if you wanted to use it you needed to have a server. When I was a young kid, servers would cost $20 – $100 a month to maintain which was incredibly expensive for someone who was in high school. Also if you wanted a website, you needed someone who knew how to setup a PHP based forum that indexed a SQL database. This is where I found my love and joy for coding initially…
DSL just came to my neighborhood sporting 1.5Mbps download and a 128k upload which was incredible considering I had been using 33.6k for years since that’s all that was available to me since my mom got it free from the school she worked for. All my friend’s parents had a little more money, so they could afford full 56k. I started a winter job as an IT intern for a small income tax firm in the town where I lived for minimum wage while all my friends went to go work for Mickey D’s. I figured I was now harnessing the mental dexterity and had the financial capability to put my plans into action. I built my own home server, configured my own dynamic DNS to run off my dynamic IP address, and began hosting my Ventrilo VoIP server along with the PHP based web software.
I had begin to become popular within Counter-Strike leagues as I played in the cyber professional league. What I had created would generally cost you hundreds of dollars in fees to a 3rd party private ISP host every month. I really enjoyed helping others using technology to do it, and it gave me a sense of social power. At the time I didn’t do it for the money as I made $7 an hour at the income tax place while I harnessed skills people would pay top dollar for at a 4 year university. I would wake up from my sugar coma the next day and clean the Hot Cheetos off my keyboard while I made the updates how we took down one of the top rated clans on the west coast. I wouldn’t learn how this experience would really shape my future till many years later…
Fast forward to today when world leading economies have been brought to their knees. Working your good old fashioned honest hard day at a respectable job just doesn’t cut it anymore when it comes to paying the rent, keeping the lights on, keeping food on the table, and being able to put gas in your beater to get to work. Many people have been “forced” to look to alternative ways to make money. Some have resorted to many ethically questionable tactics to make ends meet, but one thing I have seen is the incredible amount of people who have decided to become “software developers.” I know this because I was one of them. My 6 figure sales job “changed their pay structure,” so I was also blessed with the opportunity to volte face into my former life.
Code. This is the big thing that drives the bay area. Trillions of dollars are spent purchasing intangible merchandise known as software. One software company in itself is worth billions in it’s own right. Mom always said to learn my times tables and go to college. I figure since I had past experience in it, I could brush up and jump back into the fire. For myself, I was successful in this endeavor, but everyday I hear about some software developer who went to a bootcamp or 4 year university even and can’t find a job. How can someone with that much wit to learn that many algorithms not be able to get a job?!?
Later on as time progressed I had found myself back in tech again job after job learning more skills, passing go, collecting 200 dollars when my friends who went to coding bootcamps, and 4 year universities would ask for my advice. Why was it that I was able to land a job effortlessly when they struggled? After some in depth research and some life experience in, all the clues leading up to it all makes sense.
In computer science, generally you find introverted types of individuals. I myself am very introverted, but one of my jobs earlier in life involved knocking on doors. This really taught me quite a bit about how people are different but all fundamentally the same. It also helped me get my wellies out early in life so I can talk to anyone really. You always hear about that introverted guy who couldn’t ask for a date. It just turns out introverted individuals lack the social experience to “ask” for the job with non-verbal social cues. In the big bad bay area we live in you really have to say you’re the one for the job without saying it. All this is communicated by how you communicate with your hiring manager during your job interview.
When you go to school you are charged with the task of projects. In English class you are given essays to write to practice AND demonstrate your ability to be fluent in that language and topic. The same is 110% when it comes to coding. I don’t know a senior software engineer yet who doesn’t code everyday for some side project that they’re working on their the charity of their cause. If you spoke English only 1 day a week, you wouldn’t be very good at it. The same is again 110% the same with coding… It just amazes me how such intellectually capable individuals wonder why they don’t have jobs when they neglect to do the 1 thing that is the most important…
Projects, projects, projects will make you or break you. I’ve had the opportunity to lead teams to build software projects. I would often try to support others in the best way that I could since I enjoy it by giving them the easier tasks while I take on the hard hitters. I would often be disappointed how others wouldn’t want to put in the work to complete their part of the project, and much more importantly helping others become successful. It’s unfortunate that as human beings we can be fundamentally lazy and selfish. One personal challenge I’ve always have made to myself is finish these projects by myself which has earned me the title of “Full-Stack Developer.”
The road to success isn’t ever easy, but it’s never as hard as we make it for ourselves. Success isn’t a short sprint but it is the longest marathon you’ll ever run in your life. You may ask “How do I get a job Matthew?” I would tell you, “Enjoy the marathon, and make it all a positive part of your life experience.” Once you begin to meet people who are hungry for more, you will be addicted….