My interest in software engineering is a new romance. At 31, I never really saw myself returning to school. And actually, before this pandemic, I would never have had the time to return to school. Isn't it curious how the world can present you with an opportunity just when you need it the most?
I grew up in the beautiful rocky mountains of Colorado. The youngest of three, I was born and raised in beautiful Breckenridge, CO. To some, this is paradise, to me, it often felt more like living in Disneyland. Breck is a ski resort, and one of the largest in the country. Every winter thousands of tourists would flood my hometown from all around the world to ski. My parents worked blue-collar jobs; I never knew a life of extravagance although many others around me certainly did.
My first love is music. I discovered my passion to perform when I was in middle school. I often tell people that bass chose me, not the other way around. At 13, I got my first Fender P-Bass, and at 14 my band teacher pushed me to play Upright Bass in the orchestra. Music came easily to me. It was the only thing in life that I was really good at. By senior year in High School, I was performing in the Colorado All-State Orchestra, All-State Jazz Band, and All-State Symphonic band. I was accepted to attend the University of Colorado on scholarship a year later, where I would go on to earn my Bachelor's in Music Performance in 2013. In college, the entrepreneur in me started to take shape.
Along with five of my best friends, I started a company from the ground up, my band, “Eminence Ensemble”. Together, we have toured in almost every state, even in Canada and Europe, at some of the largest music festivals in the world, and in many tiny bars along the way. In the beginning, we had to manage, book, write, drive, perform, and get funding on our own, all while working odd jobs. Needless to say, this was my calling. Music came to me and opened many doors that I would have never been able to reach otherwise. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic.
2020 to me has been a roller coaster, as I'm sure anyone who is reading this will agree. The music industry, especially, has been leveled by the pandemic. Many venues have gone out of business that I used to play regularly, many more career professionals have been displaced in its wake. Just for some perspective, in 2019 I played over 100 shows; in 2020 I've played less than 10. My company has had to push the pause button.
So I’m here. Jerry Garcia said “Once in a while you get shown the light,
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.” Coding to me is more than just a new gig. It's a new start. It's a new medium; a new form of expression. As a musician, I understand that learning to code will be hard. Nothing worth having comes easy. But I know that doors will open that I never dreamt about, and I know that half of finishing, is getting started. 10 years in the music industry has certainly taken its toll, I have no regrets, but it's still not paying the bills. I’ve been sober from alcohol for six years now. Ive been driving Uber, working in Kitchens, and doing whatever I can to make ends meet, and to be frank, drowning in debt.
I want to make a good living for my wife and family. I want to excel at coding. I want to be the future of dev. I want a stable career that I am in control of. I want to combine my passions. I want to pay off my student loans and credit card debt. I want to THRIVE. This pandemic, in all its grotesque horror, has given me the opportunity to take control of my life.
So who knows what's next really? The best thing we can do to prepare for the future is to arm ourselves with knowledge. That's why I decided to study Software Engineering.