How I very deliberately ended up in tech

This journey is fairly well documented on this blog, but I’ll distill it down to a post, since I’ve answered this question a few times lately.

Early years

I started playing guitar and bass as a teenager, and upon arriving at college had to declare a major. I chose music since that’s the only thing I could see devoting the majority of my time toward studying, and picked the Recording and Production track in the Music Industries Studies dept at Appalachian State University. Only later did I realize that my affinity for recording and production was due as much to my love for computers as my sterling ears.

After college I joined a band and spent 7 years on the road, traveling mostly all of North America, but occasionally the world too. I did not have a desire to spend my life on the road playing music, however. I always pictured moving from a music performance career into a music business career as the industry hadn’t completely imploded yet. It was actually at the same party described in this post that I had the vision of where I wanted to be later in life, and it was in “the business”.

The road

So years went by and I had more or less learned everything I cared to know about the music business when I had another epiphany. This post chronicles that one, and it was about technology. It was on a long car ride that I discovered, truly discovered, the economy that was about to come. “Oh! This is going to be a thing!” I thought to myself that first day of the iPhone App Store. “A thing that if I learned it, I could continue to be my own boss, continue having a creative rewarding career, and probably even make enough money to feed my kids!”

So I went for it. I bought myself a Mac laptop in July of 2008 with the goal of teaching myself iPhone app programming. I had no idea what I was doing or even how to learn.

After the road

I got truly sick of my previous career in early 2009 and spent the rest of that year planning my exit. After quitting at the end of 2009 I had nothing but time on my hands to spend about 100 hours a week banging this stuff into my brain.

I had a contact that threw me some work and out of that came the first Drupal site I ever built. In 2010. 2010 was a rough year by every metric, but we got through it and by 2011 I had a new music gig and a full funnel of contract work. Life was looking up.

Child #3 and beyond

Life got turned upside down again with the arrival of son #3 in 2012. At this point I had no time to fill the contract funnel anymore and decided to take the dreaded “straight job”. I’d only intended to stay for about 6 months until the waves calmed down at home, but as it turned out I really like working with people, and the people at the job were really cool for the most part.

I’ve been here since, almost 4 years now. I’ve moved from mostly front end developer to mostly Chief Architect of this entire joint, since almost everything interests me on some level and my boss and I have a really symbiotic working relationship. I also (in my opinion) excel at seeing the big picture of the system and figuring out how to get it done.