Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day 2 of a New [Scary?] Journey.

Am I really doing this?  This wouldn't be the first time I've attempted a career change...  and it would certainly be less expensive (no expensive masters program this time) if I focus on self-study and do affordable online courses to supplement my free training resources.

It's scarier this time around.  I'm older (early 30s) and leaving my established career field.  My background is chemistry.  I've worked for 7 years as an analytical chemist in pharmaceuticals....(this includes a year gap where I went back to college to get a Masters in Teaching, but could not find a job as a middle school science teacher afterwards, so I went back into the lab.)

This year, I moved with my partner to the Netherlands from the US.  This was a dream fulfilled for us and one we made happen by taking a huge chance: selling everything, quitting jobs, and moving to Germany to find work.  Luckily he successfully found a great job in the Netherlands.

I'd like to think I'm a bright, inquisitive, tenacious problem-solving chemist... which hopefully my scientific mindset will transfer over and be beneficial in learning to code.

Here's the things I think I have going in my favor to be successful:
  • My partner is a senior level C#/.NET developer who knows front-/backend and middleware.  He will be my mentor.  Even though he is not familiar with RoR, he knows a lot of other languages, knows how to set up a dev enviro, etc, so he is a resource.  He is going to learn RoR along with me so he can help and we can collaborated on projects when I get to that level.
  • I can devote a full-time job's level of time commitment to learning.  I am not employed.
  • I have a background in not only science, but QC.  That means I'm used to things having to be done exactly a certain way so that they are credible and analyses go as planned with intended results.  I'm used to attention to detail to a ridiculous degree.  I am also flexible and adept to troubleshooting and working through problems.
  • There are a ton of online resources for training.
  • There is a RailsGirls meetup group in nearby Utrecht, NL.   There is a frontend meetup group in Amsterdam, NL.  Both of these cities aren't too far by train.  The meetings are in English too.

I am starting this blog on the advice in the posts of Josh Kemp who was able to go from beginner to a full-time, employed RoR developer in ~9 months.  I am mainly blogging to hold myself accountable, rather than for self-promotion at this point.

My goal (7 months?) is to become proficient enough I can find an paid internship or junior level position.  I want to learn RoR and HTML/CSS.

Here's my gameplan for the rest of November...
  1. Finish the Computer Sciences Circles intro to programming/Python course.  I started this course a day ago, when I was looking into the 1-yr BS degree in CS from OSU and they recommended trying it out.  I want to finish since I've started.  I'm on exercise 7C currently.
  2. Set up my development environment for RoR with the help of my mentor.
  3. Read Zed Shaw’s "Learn the Command Line the Hard Way"
  4. Pick one of these courses and start it:
    1. The Odin Project
    2. One Month Rails
    3. Epicodus free online course
Back to studying....