Software Engineering

From Biochemical Engineer to Software Engineer: The Journey


Reading Time: 4 minutes

Have you ever had the feeling what you are doing does not fill you up? Don't be afraid to leave it all behind and start on a new path. Read this BP to discover how one of our peers went from being a Biochemical Engineer to a Software Engineer!

The beginning

First of all, let me tell you how this journey began. I graduated from university as a Biochemical Engineer, and as expected, I did my part and found a job related to my career. I worked in the food industry, in charge of the Quality sector in Microbiology (pretty dope, right?).

To be honest, I felt a little bit unaccomplished. The place where I was working didn't feel right (like something was missing). That's why I started searching for something new. My brother and his friends encouraged me to go ahead and try Front End Development for a fresh start and a whole new world full of opportunities, so I thought:

I just need to sort some code and put some colors in; how hard can it be?

Damn! I was dead wrong

The grim reality

Initially, I was overwhelmed with all the new things that I had to study; reading about functions arrays, and strings seemed like from another world; In other words, I could not understand a single word of what I was reading on my screen, and then it is when “the sacred trinity” entered the room: CSS, Javascript, and HTML (the 3 basic elements to build an average page).

What happened to the only-putting-some-color-in part?!

Now and then, I still hear from my mentors, "Oh! I almost forgot to add to your tool belt a pinch of git, sass and framework"

Sure, it is a pill hard to swallow, and the learning curve is far too long, but it is not impossible.

In every career, the easiest part is always at the top, but the grim reality lies beneath that.

How something so simple like this tinny reaction of combining Carbon and Oxygen can hide something so complex?
or this print on screen: 

puts Hello World

Can mask the monster behind these fields.

But let me tell you that after all this explanation, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I will do my best to convince you that anything you set your mind to is reachable.

The realization

Do not feel discouraged yet! Here comes redemption!

As I mentioned before, the need to stop what I was doing was getting stronger each time; I felt I was not improving, besides it seemed I was running out of time.

Nevertheless, there was always someone to give me some encouraging words, such as “don´t give up! show your progress to someone! It does not matter how little it is”. Hearing those words always boosted my confidence.

There was indeed a lot to be learned, but also there were tons of resources to learn from (most of them free!) I decided to see it like any other muscle in our body, the more you train, the stronger it will get.

Now, how do we do that? Come closer, here´s the secret.

PRACTICE EVERY DAY !

That's right! EVERY DAY, and I mean it.

Long story short, there is no such thing as magic tricks or shortcuts, you need to gather all the available info (lectures, videos, courses, etc) and soak it up.

The real trick here is NOT QUANTITY but QUALITY:

"study 1-2 hours a day and be constant"

There is no point in studying 10 hours just one day a week. The curve of forgetting explains this phenomenon in a better manner. It says that it is better if you repeat a task on and on, so your brain will soak up all of the precious knowledge.

Once you create your study session a routine, it will be just like any other activity in your daily life; it will be easier each time! Besides, if you enjoy studying and are hungry for knowledge, then this will be easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Break the paradigm

Think outside the box!

Most of us decide our career path based on:

  • Our core beliefs.
  • What we are passionate about.
  • Our desire to keep our friends close to us.
  • Family traditions (we are all doctors, for instance).

There a lot of factors that could have an impact on our decision, but don't be afraid to speak up and say:

"This is what I want to do!"

I don't want to say it, but I feel like sharing this unpopular opinion: nowadays having a degree is a bit overrated.

"Anyone can learn anything with the right orientation and practice."

Chances are that if you have any university degree, you will already have the necessary skills to start; I am talking about: research methodology, teamwork, independence, decision making, etc.

At the end of the day, it is your call. You could continue working all your life doing something that does not make you happy, or you could take a leap of faith and chase after something better.

Just a friendly reminder:

  • You are not alone
  • Ask for advice and help
  • Reach out to your friends and beloved ones

Support is key!

Thanks for reading, guys!

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