Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Will work for knowledge.

Man, life is good! Through a series of extremely fortunate events, I landed an internship at a real company, working on real software. Not only will I be working on a legit application, but I get real world work experience, deadlines and all. It was only 8 months ago that I wrote my first 'Hello, world!' program, not knowing the first thing about computer programming. I think its worth explaining how this opportunity came about.

When I first started learning to code, I was constantly searching the web for things like "How to learn computer programming" or "Learn software development," and things like that. In addition to all the code bootcamps and online schools, tutorials, and curricula (did you know that is the plural form of curriculum? Neither did I!) I found a blog written by Joshua Kemp. This guy taught himself to code and laid out a clear cut path for wannabes like myself. His story is also very cool, and is worth checking out.

Well, I ended up reading every single post of his from beginning to end - over three years of posts. In his first post, he basically said that he was starting a blog to keep himself accountable. I thought that was a great idea and decided to do the same. I have not blogged anywhere near as consistent as he, but I did blog nonetheless.

In addition to putting myself out there and keeping me accountable, this tactic also made it known to my friends and family that I was pursuing this goal. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I had just finished an RoR app by following along Michael Hartl's Rails Tutorial and promptly posted a link to it on Facebook. A friend of mine came across it around the same time that the CTO of his company mentioned that he was looking for an apprentice. He put us in touch and the rest is history.

I didn't even mention the best part: the guy I am working under is a bonafide computer scientist. I personally believe he is a genius. Not only is he knowledgable, but he is also patient and willing to help me out with whatever I don't understand (which quite frankly is a large amount). The company is established enough that there is tons of work to do, yet small enough that I will be able to have direct access to my mentor day in and day out. At this point in my coding career, I have to believe this is the absolute best thing that could have happened for me.

As the title of this post implies, this is an unpaid internship. I have to say, I still think I am getting the better end of the deal on this one. No amount of tutorials or books or videos can beat working on a real project with a willing and able teacher/mentor.

A lot of things had to happen for this scenario to take place, and I have worked very hard for the last several months. But that work is already starting to pay off. I have finally found a career I can honestly say I love. My wish is that everyone I know finds the same, as there is nothing like the feeling that you found your calling.

I will continue to write about this miraculous journey, with the hopes that someone, somewhere is inspired to chase down their dreams. So here is to the future, and especially to the now!