Career Crossroads

If you didn’t see my post about Looking For Any Full-Time Work this is a follow-on post.

Before I get into where I’m at, I want to write a bit about where I’ve been before.

Where I’ve Been

Back in 2010 (ten years ago! what?!), I graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with my Bachelor’s of Arts in English, and a Certificate for Creative Writing. I had zero education or experience in marketing myself for writing jobs, and really I had no idea what I wanted to do exactly, so I ended up working at various places in the food industry and retail. The joke that I tell about this time in my life is that I was in the “liberal arts to retail pipeline.” You learn to respect the workers in the service industry when you struggle as one, and I had a lot of eye-opening experiences. But, I wasn’t really that happy with myself. I wanted more.

Then, in 2014, I took a course in computer science and taught myself how to program, all with the help of launchcode.org. And they got me a job in tech, as a programmer!

From 2014 through 2017, I worked as a programmer, mostly as a backend web developer and devops/sysadmin person, and I was fairly happy. Because I knew some computer science and worked with good people, I learned quite a bit on the job and learning new things is good for me.

Then, I had to take two years off for family reasons, and that put a serious kink in my career. I was having a hard time finding a job after that, so I decided to give freelancing a try. Although I like the idea of freelancing, I have not been successful finding enough work to sustain the effort.

This very simplified version of the story leads us to now.

Where I’m Going

I had a lot of conversations about what I want to do with my career now, and I have come to the conclusion that I need a change of some kind, using my communication and writing skills more and programming less. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to be programming until I can’t type anymore, but I found out that I don’t need to have that be my day job.

One thing that I decided in 2020 was to write more, and as I have slowly worked on that, I realized that I could become a technical writer. I firmly believe that I can do this work, and I have a few examples of explaining my weird tech ideas on this blog. Here’s an example.

I had a career conversation with a friend of mine who has a lot more experience in the field than me, and she told me about Developer Relations, which is a subfield in tech about making developers happy using technologies. It focuses on communication skills, like creating presentations, talking to users, and writing blog posts. I’ve already applied to a few positions, and I think that this could be a really good fit for me.

So, the question is: which one? Which do I choose? I think at this moment, I’m going to pursue both, because as I said, I firmly believe that I can do that work, and that it will make me happy doing it. But it might be advantageous to focus on one path. So, which one?

Published by sehqlr

I'm a multipotentialite Millenial from St. Louis, MO. My day job is freelance web development and DevOps, but in a previous life, I was an English major. I'm on the STL Tech Slack, GitHub, Keybase, and Twitter, under the @sehqlr handle. (It's pronounced "secular" like the world-view.) I'm also on Mastodon as @sehqlr@weirder.earth.

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