“I’m a Project Manager who wants to become a Web Developer” said no-one ever. I know this because I’m one of only a couple people I’m aware of that chose this transition. However, I’m surprised there’s not more. There are some real competency similarities between the two.
Why did I do it? Oh you don’t care; well, I’ll tell you anyway.
I had incredible respect for the developers who had been on my project teams back when I was a Project Manager. What they were doing I never thought I could do, but I have a need to know how things work, so I was totally enamored by the screens filled with code. I'd run back and Google things. I’d hear, “Say is that PHP I see you are coding in . . . sorry I’ll go away now”.
But I kept being annoying, which is a comfort zone of project managers, and the questions I’d pepper the developers with quickly made me realize how creative coding actually is. You wouldn’t think so from the outside would you? So now I’m hooked!
Some recent life revelations had me knowing I needed more creative outlets in my life and work, and I wasn’t able to convince myself my nifty client power points were cutting it for me anymore.
But what do you do? Go back to school, tack on more debt for a computer science degree and be out of work for two more years? They’ll lock you up in the loony bin for decision making like that in Minnesota.
So I found the solution; I went on a Tinder date…a very life changing, brewery Tinder date. She had been developing for over a year after attending a coding bootcamp in New York and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I think the date failed because you’re supposed to play it cool, however my excitement level was likely obnoxious.
I’ve tried many times to make what I do as a developer sound exciting. We all get it; it’s a tad dry. So my over abundance of excitement did not result in a second date.
I ran home and started applying to bootcamps all over. Prime Digital Academy, the one I wound up attending, had an html resume challenge to get accepted. That night (July 2015) I put my first lines of code into a text editor I had just downloaded and I couldn't stop.
Coding bootcamps now are bit more commonplace. Most are three to four months long, cost a good bit, and you eat, sleep and breath coding seven days a week while you are there. (The good ones at least.) You come out at a junior level, but easily moldable to professional development needs for all sorts of companies.
I’m very lucky to have landed at Irish Titan. I actually almost started here as a PM, offering to learn the technologies they were working with on the side. Anything to keep learning and coding. Luckily, that conviction was enough to take a chance on me as a developer. Thank goodness because, don’t tell them, but I was totally burned out on account side work.
The signs. Those are really the mental keys necessary to becoming a good developer.
1. A need to know how things work.
2. Like researching.
3. Not actually being annoying, but stubborn as all hell ‘til you figure something out.
4. Creative drive.
5. A weird excitement about coding.
6. Obsessive focus.
7. Love learning.
So, Project Managers, do these seven signs sound like you? Then follow these easy steps.
1. Burn out on PM’ing,
2. Go on a Tinder Date.
3. Apply to bootcamps.
4. Beat your mind senseless with code for four months.
5. Get job and never stop learning.
6. Live happily every after.