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A Long Overdue Year in Review

The last time I wrote a post like this, I’d weathered an additional six months at my job (as well as the ongoing pandemic). At the time, I kept hoping my situation would get better if I could demonstrate my skills, but ultimately decided to leave both my job and my profession for the following reasons:

  • My career goals were incompatible with my rigid job description (and there was no opportunity to change teams/roles)
  • My skip lead told me that he didn’t see any traction in software (which might explain why I wasn’t supported in the software work I did pursue for the company in project downtime)
  • I was extremely geographically isolated in a small practice, and felt like the company would not unify its practices (even within the same country) to an extent that I’d be able to meet the kind of people to take on the type of role that I wanted.

As a result, I decided to go all in on software, and do another batch at Recurse Center starting in May, immediately after wrapping up my job (However, I would advise new applicants to RC to take a week or two to unwind before barreling into zoom heavy interactions!).

Things I accomplished during and after my second RC batch:

  • Taught a workshop on E-ink at Never Graduate Week
  • Deepened my knowledge of Javascript frameworks (React) and learned a new one (Svelte)
  • Contributed to open source! - During my batch, I overlapped with Will Lachance, who was working on a very cool interactive document framework, Irydium. One of the best things about RC is finding out about other people’s passion projects and being able to help out.
  • Worked more in the open - (did things, broke things, wrote about what I did and what I broke) - I started using my full name on Twitter and some of my other internet presences (like Github) This was scary at times coming from past trauma, but being in a supportive community like RC makes doing scary things less scary.
  • Deepened my knowledge of D3 and really got the hang of working and prototyping in Observable
  • Discovered a love of databases and distributed systems and went down a giant rabbit hole on CRDTs and real-time collaboration possibilities.
  • Built a full stack data visualization web application to look at infrastructure data -
  • Worked through OO design patterns in C# and Python
  • Wrote about building a full-stack web application to look at infrastructure data and what can be learned from that data - Blog
  • Learned Three.js
  • Started learned Webassembly (tbc)
  • Started learning Rust (also, tbc)
  • Deepened my knowledge of C# (I found C# 9.0 in a Nutshell particularly helpful)
  • Submitted my first talk to PyCon, and got accepted! I’ll be presenting in person in Salt Lake City at the end of April!
  • Probably most importantly, got PAID TO WRITE CODE as a freelancer, which was obviously a major goal for me.

The last quarter of 2021 was a particularly hard one. While COVID seemed to be waning, I experienced a set of personal and professional setbacks that meant putting off my job search for a bit (as many people know, navigating the U.S. healthcare system can be a full-time job on its own).

So where am I now? After having mentored several structural engineers to help get them into programming and working as a freelancer in the fat middle, I’m ready to get a full-time software engineering job. I do miss working on a team and being able to bounce ideas off others. While I often do coworking sessions these days with people that are in different programming jobs from me to stay motivated, I miss working on a common product/mission. I’m looking for mission-oriented and sustainability or community focused software (remote-first) companies.

I care about being in an environment where I can at least sometimes share what I’m working on publicly (something I was often never able to do with structural engineering work due to NDAs). I enjoy teaching as much as I enjoy learning, and I want that to be part of my career. Most of all, I want to write code and get better at writing code! I’m keeping an open mind as to specific roles/stacks and I’m excited to see what’s out there :smile:

Published Mar 7, 2022

Striving to stay curious.