Kaity Hallman, November 19, 2015 | 3 min read

Taking Control

I talked myself out of it at least one million times before committing.

What the hell was I thinking? Leaving a perfectly stable job in the town I had lived in my whole life – Columbia, SC – surrounded by my friends and familiar places.

I was terrified.

The truth is, I was even more terrified of staying stagnant. Sure, my job was stable. There was never a shortage of work to be done. But my passion for the craft had dissipated. I worked long hours in a cube, in the black hole of a corporate office. We had no windows. I worked through lunch. I drove home every day, stuck in traffic, asking myself, “How am I going to live like this for the rest of my life?” With a background as an in-house print designer, my future looked bleak. Print is dying. Corporations cut creatives first when the market is down. With everything going digital, I knew I needed to build programming skills. But I lacked the motivation and the discipline to truly commit to teaching myself to code after long days at the office. I felt I would never have the chops to be a successful developer.

Enter Tech Talent South.

Though it often felt like the fire inside of me had been doused, a tiny spark remained. It was enough to inspire me to take control of my life, my career, and my future. Many a Google search later and there I was. Delving into these same student blogs, reading their stories. Their lives were changed for the better.

“That could be me,” I told myself.

Sure, it was risky. I would be giving up this so-called “stability” I had convinced myself I needed to get by. But I was lacking fulfillment. Drive. Purpose. I wasn’t working for me, I was working for a corporation that, in the end, only saw me as a function to drive sales. I wasn’t making a true difference. I realized that I didn’t want to just “get by” anymore. Reading the student blog showed me that I could get out there and change the world by learning to code. And TTS would help me get there.

I was still terrified until the moment I started class. But by the end of the first day, I knew I had made the right choice. I will never look back and say, “What the hell was I thinking?” like I thought I would, and like I did as I gave my two weeks notice, as I packed all my things into a tiny storage unit, leaving my hometown and everything I’ve ever known behind.

It hasn’t been easy. CSS positioning is a bitch. And I’ve spent hours trying to undo an error while building a Rails app. The perfectionist in me didn’t quit until my Rock, Paper, Scissors program executed every single possibility with the utmost accuracy. Could be interpreted as frustrating to some, but to me, it was invigorating to see that the passion inside of me was still alive. To create. To problem solve. To find resolution. I am constantly inspired by my instructors and my classmates. We are all so different, yet we can come together with the same energy. We are part of something truly amazing.

I have found that I can apply the same principles to life as I do to coding. Problem solving. Dedication. A search for resolution. I took control of my life. I am learning to code. And I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything else.