Friday, January 8, 2010

Becoming a Web Developer Launch

I'm have a bit of a quarter life crisis.

I recently graduated college after studying computer engineering for five and a half years. I'm not trying to talk myself up or anything, but I am good at going to school. Over the years I have practiced the art of schooling and I can study for and pass a test with the best of them. I'm not the best at retaining the information, but I have regurgitation down to a science. I left school with the masters degree in hand and the notion that this success would translate into my career.


I'm by no means failing at my job. I just haven't achieved the level of success I expected. My coworkers are more clever, efficient, and well-versed that I am. My ego was inflated from my success at school so this came as a shock. The lack of confidence tends to snowball until I've mentally incapacitated myself. This along with learning about how the corporate world works has brought me to a certain level of disappointment. I expected a collaborative learning environment and instead I found a world of individual contributors and red tape. This brings me to my quarter life crisis.

I've recently started reading financial blogs by other gen-y folks like myself. I'm a true nerd for finance so I really do enjoy reading them. My readings have brought me to some people that have a different way of thinking about the term "career." You do not have to work in a cubicle for a big company getting your 401k matching dollars to be a professional. These people have different ways of bringing in money from owning businesses, to consulting, to temp work. They let their passion for an industry, a cause, or travel drive the way they earn their money. As a result, they do what they love and live the life they want to live. It is in no way a commitment to being poor, but a commitment to making money doing what you love.

My discontentment in the corporate world combined with the inspiration from these financial blogs made things start to click in my brain. When I wrote software for school and fun I loved it. I don't think my problem is with technical work so much as the environment. Have you ever had a moment when things just suddenly became clear? I feel like the right course of action has been staring me in the face forever. I just didn't have eyes to see it until now. I want to get back to writing code I love. I've always been interested in freelance work, but I didn't know that there were any freelance jobs for people with my education and skills. After doing some research I realize that there is a need for freelance web developers. I feel like the job could not be more for me. I have the educational background, I could freelance and make some extra money, and if successful I could do the job from anywhere on the planet! That includes my living room, a local restaurant, or the beaches of Tahiti!

I realize that I tend to be a dreamer. I get an idea and then get distracted by another before I'm successful in pursuing the first. I have other big goals for 2010 that I'm sure will slow down my progress on this one. This is a no-fail idea though. Worst case scenario I learn about web development and never make a dime. At least I've gotten some knowledge out of the deal.

Now let's be upfront here. I may have gone to school for computer engineering, but I haven't made a web page since high school. This is going to be a learning experience. There are a lot of technologies that I need to become familiar with before I have a prayer of making some money doing this.

That said, I now journey into the unknown world of the internets...