Ashley Ware, January 2, 2019 | 2 min read

A Chemical Engineer Starts her Journey in Tech…

I’m an engineer by education and experience. No, not software. Chemical. Not quite sure exactly how I ended up here but glad I did nonetheless.

I was always interested in gadgets and computers. But to be honest us millennials were born with those things in our hands. I didn’t realize there was a fulfilling career hidden in those things. I pursued engineering instead. Mainly because my chemistry teacher taught us how to make candy and before you ask, no. I don’t make candy now. I’ve had a few wonderful and fulfilling years in engineering, but the excitement is winding down. I’ve been doing the same type of work and am becoming bored more and more every day. My former manager said to me once, “Enjoying what you do so you never have to work a day in your life is a myth”. He believed you’re supposed to work hard to earn money that supports a life outside of work that you enjoy.

I used to believe this was true. I’d show up to work and give my all just to be too burned out to build that life outside of work I’m supposed to enjoy so much. I decided I needed to do something different. I decided that pursuing something technology related was the best early career change I could make. It’s an ever-growing industry with endless possibilities.

I too, like many engineers, am very “left-brained”. I tend to be analytical about very simple things. Learning to code could give me the tools that I need to dust the cobwebs off the right side of my brain.

Once I moved back to my hometown, I started looking for coding schools. The thing that attracted to me to Tech Talent South the most was that the teachers are actual (“currently active”) industry programmers/designers. Some are freelancers, while others are employed by companies ranging from startup to mid-sized businesses. Learning from their respective journeys has been an experience that I am extremely grateful for.

Crossing paths with people actually in the industry as well as aspiring programmers, my eyes have been open to a bunch of new opportunities and programming languages. I was always fascinated with artificial intelligence, but I recently learned about search engine optimization (SEO). Now I wonder what kind of magic I can create by marrying the two together. I have also been exposed to product management. The concept is something that is familiar but still applied to a different industry.

I guess my point is I still have no idea where I’m taking all of this knowledge, but in every class, I am shown that the opportunities are endless. My 2019 goals include building a blog application, building a productivity app, completing a 100 days of code challenge and completing a 100 days of design challenge. I am sure the more I put these new found skills to use, my strengths and weaknesses will reveal themselves to me. Along the way, I will break many things but it will eventually develop from a beautiful journey to a beautiful product.