Sunday, December 29, 2019

Self Taught Engineers

I thought this article on being a self taught engineer was great. It's by Amina Adewusi who wanted to get a career going as a coder.  She learned about it through the marketing of the bootcamp people who promote the idea that people can change careers. For this she is grateful to them.

However, as a single mom, the logistics and finances of a boot camp were daunting. So while attending a conference, she was introduced to the idea that a person can learn to code on their own.

The article is excellent addressing such things as how to find mentors, when to start interviewing, how to use the "tech tests" from interviews as an opportunity, and how to hold oneself accountable.

My experience in the tech industry confirms Ms. Adewusi's view of how possible it is. As a 62 year who has been in the tech industry since the late 1980s, I have rubbed elbows with self taught engineers hundreds of times.

Sometimes I worked for them. At Silicon Graphics in the early 90s, I worked for Carol (something) who had gone to work as a secretary after high school. I don't really remember her career story (or her last name) but she was running a big engineering organization at a premier Silicon Valley company and I think her tech skills were all acquired independently by her.

More often, I have employed self taught engineers. I ran a video game development company in London in the late 90s with about a 100 people, often more, and perhaps half of the of the tech staff were self taught "hackers",  a term we used back then to distinguish between the self-taught and the formally trained.

I've run an educational software for the last 15 years and the engineers that have most helped with the actual coding were...yup... totally self taught. We also have plenty of comp sci and software engineering graduates and many with masters degrees.  And we have some bootcamp graduates. One of our clerical staff just left us to go to a bootcamp.

Many ways to get there....

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