The first step is a doozy!

Posted by vicision on June 7, 2016

Titles are the toughest part, aren’t they? I must have stared at my screen for 15 minutes before copping out with the above. But you have to start somewhere, so there it is and here I go.

First, an explanation of my blog’s title, which also doubles as my GitHub handle. “Vicision” is a neologism/portmanteau (yes, I’m a nerd) that I coined years ago after coming across the term vicissitude, which Merriam-Webster defines as:

Anyway, I decided to take the root of the word and make it my own, adding a more positive spin to the idea of change (after all, life is about growth, and growth is change, so there is no life without change!). That’s where the double meaning comes in, with the mash-up of vision and decision. It’s oversimplifying things a bit, but I think it’s pretty accurate to say that those are two of the most important steps in effecting any positive change: first you have to imagine the change you want, then you have to act on it and decide to pursue it.

Which all makes vicision an apt title for my blog: I decided to change my life completely from the path I was on and learn to be a web developer through The Flatiron School’s Learn-verified program. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it was a necessary one. I was recently downsized out of a graphic design job that I’d held at a major comic book company for over 6 years, and felt that it was time to take my life and career in a new direction.

A little backstory: as I wrote in my application essay to the Learn program, I’m very driven by curiosity and a desire to understand how everything works–the “hows” and “whys” of the world. Increasingly, the answers to those questions lie in code. Having worked as a graphic designer for years, I’m also a creative person who is very detail-oriented and enjoys problem-solving, so building something new and making it work “just right” is extremely appealing to me.

I’ve always had a fascination with technology, a trait possibly inherited from my grandfathers–one of them was a self-taught machinist and the other a repairer of electronics who could fix nearly any device, even if he’d never used it before (and this without the internet!). I also grew up around computers, even before the PC-ownership explosion that began with Windows 95; there was the Commodore 64 that I played games on as a kid and the Mac that my dad, a teacher, was able to bring home from his classroom during summer breaks. Later, I would major in Computer Art when I went to college.

Naturally, my interest in technology and curiosity about how things work (coupled with a bit of an anti-authoritarian streak that made hacker culture appealing) led me to an interest in programming. For the longest time, though, this interest was mainly a surface one. I’d dip a toe in, and was never afraid to experiment and tweak things when it came to computers, but I was never more than a power-user at best. Coding seemed too much like magic, or at least too much like math… Either way, honestly too much like “work,” and more time required to get a grasp of it than I was willing to sacrifice.

Last year, though, sensing that I needed a change in direction (and that one might be imminent whether I liked it or not), I began lightly dabbling in learning Ruby and JavaScript (and brushing up on HTML and CSS), but I just never had enough time to devote to pursuing it as a career. Well, thankfully, now I do–while it could have been a negative experience, instead my layoff was a blessing in disguise, as it gave me the opportunity to truly pursue learning programming and in turn, a new and rewarding career doing something I’m learning to love more every day.

In other words, as the motto goes, “Learn, Love, Code”!