From Comedy to Coding
When I first decided to enroll in Flatiron’s Full-Time Software Engineering program, it felt like I couldn’t have picked a career path more different than the one I was on. What do a career in comedy and a career in coding have in common? On the surface, very little. I had been considering the change for a few years but had never pulled the plug for that exact reason. But as I dug a little deeper, I realized that software engineering was a perfect mix of what I liked about previous jobs, what I was looking for in my next role, and a previous experience I always looked back on fondly.
When I was 10 years old I was frustrated with the lack of pre-made options for a user profile page on a website for kids that I frequented called Neopets and figured it would be easier if I could just make what I wanted myself. As a result, I set out and taught myself HTML and CSS coding principles with the (then fairly limited) resources I could find on the internet and began to build user layouts and later fully functional webpages. When I was 13, I begged my parents to let me get a free domain so that I could practice web development by building my own website. I was lucky that the school district I lived in for high school had a magnet program for Information Technology, which I was accepted into and took courses in for all four years. During this time, I took dual enrollment courses with the local college on a variety of topics, with a focus on web development.
When I began college at Florida State University, I decided to pursue another career path. I received my bachelor’s degree in Media & Communications Studies and a minor in English with the intention of working in the entertainment industry. For the past five years, I have held jobs in the entertainment industry with a focus in comedy. I’ve had very unique experiences being able to go to television and film sets, work with well-known entertainers, and see projects go from an idea in a meeting to watching its premiere on TV — but it hasn’t felt as fulfilling as I had hoped. While I liked the work I was doing, there were parts of the industry that did not align with the things I had learned were important to me in a job. There has always been a part of me that wondered what might have been had I continued the education I began with my IT program in high school. In the past year that feeling has only increased. I’ve found myself looking into coding boot camps and thinking about a career change for a while, but the pandemic has solidified my desire to seriously pursue this career track and enroll at Flatiron.
I’ve always found problem-solving to be fulfilling. I would argue that the top duty in my previous roles was problem-solving — everything from finding a solution to a scheduling conflict to figuring out why a story didn’t make sense to the audience. When I was studying web development previously, there was nothing more satisfying than seeing my code come to life or debugging a code and figuring out why it didn’t work and how to fix it. I want to pursue a career that allows me to creatively think about ways to solve problems. Especially with the world pivoting to be even more reliant on technology as there is an increase in working from home, it feels like there has never been a better time to make the career change I’ve been thinking about for so long.
While I am transitioning out of the entertainment industry to pursue a career in software engineering, I am excited about the potential to blend my two interests. I would like to bring my storytelling skills to make interesting and engaging software, and it would even be exciting to have the opportunity to be a software engineer in the entertainment industry to bring the skills I will learn at Flatiron back and help to create new and exciting ways to distribute entertainment.