Before engineering, I worked in sales, marketing and product.
With an incredibly marketable and high-paying Political Science degree, I interned with the US Congress for 3 months. I quickly realized the bureaucracy of government was not for me. I had served as Executive Vice President of Alpha Kappa Psi, the Co-Ed Professional Business Fraternity at Western Washington University and felt that the business world would be a much better fit.
I quickly found a job with Onvia, a Seattle-based tech company (since aquired) that provided an aggregated database of government contracting opportunities across the country. With my Political Science degree, I thought this was great synergy to start things off. With myself and my manager, we owned a new eCommerce product that was a fraction of the companies total revenue. I handle all customer service inquiries for up to 700 customers, and my manager and I shared the responsibilities of grooming the product backlog & working with developers and the UX design team to contribute improvements to the product. In one project, I got to touch some code & instantly got hooked.
I'd always been capable of learning anything. I didn't have a 4.0 GPA, but I did test out of the 2nd grade. I graduated high school when I was 17, and graduated with my bachelors at age 20. My mentor, an older brother from my business fraternity in college, also graduated with a Political Science degree. He made the decision a few years before to transition into programming, and I got to see his progress first hand. He went through an immersive process, then got some freelance work. Then, he got a better paying job. Then, he got a much better paying job. After that, he was working for a great company & making great money. I thought, if he could do it - so could I.
My experience is why I'm so passionate about mentorship in technology, and why I dedicate so much time to organizing Meetups and creating products to help junior developers be productive (see the other parts of this site for details). I was fortunate to have someone in my life looking out for me, helping me along and providing support - technically and emotionally. They weren't perfect, but who is? I'm dedicated to paying it back to the world, and helping other people see that the journey I took is possible for them too.