Sometimes you don’t really know what you like until you stop doing it for awhile.
In 2015, I was a full-stack developer writing ColdFusion and jQuery, working remotely for a small company headquartered in Austin, Texas. I felt ready for a change, hungry for a new challenge. Rather than look for another web developer job, I decided to go for a much bigger change. I thought that I wanted to apply my programming skills to the field of science, by going to grad school for biomedical engineering.
I applied to Drexel University, and was accepted. During 2016 and the first half of 2017, I lived the life of a grad student. However, during this time, I gradually became disillusioned with my grand plan. I came to realize that the work of a scientist was not as glamorous as my (admittedly grandiose) dreams of making life-saving discoveries had led me to imagine. Due to the nature of the courses, I also wasn’t able to use my programming skills as much as I had hoped, although I did get some experience with Python and Matlab. Add to this the extremely high cost of the program and the length of time I would have to be in school before I could achieve my goal, and I began to see that it wasn’t worth it for me. I began to realize that I didn’t want what I had thought that I wanted.
I decided to leave grad school and look for a job as a web developer once more. I feel that I’ve come to appreciate programming more due to my time away from it. I enjoy the win of figuring something out and making it work, of running into an error message and searching the web for answers until I find exactly the thing that I need.
Since leaving school a couple of weeks ago, I have been working to get up to speed on technologies like the newest features of ECMAScript 2015, Angular 2/4, testing with karma and jasmine, node.js with express, and deploying to Heroku. I’ve decided to focus my learning on the MEAN stack for now, which consists of MongoDB, Express, Angular, and Node. In my next blog post, I will write about the first MEAN app that I have built, and what I learned from the experience.