Down The Rabbit Hole: How I Taught Myself To Code & Became An Engineer
When people find out I’m a self-taught software engineer, they often say, “I want to do that. How did you teach yourself to program?”
I can say it all in 5 words. Go down the rabbit hole.
In Alice In Wonderland, Alice sees something utterly fascinating to her: a rabbit with a watch. She’s so intrigued that she chases after it and goes down a mysterious hole.
“She had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and, burning with curiosity, she ran after it.”
Find what is fascinating to you about programming and chase after it. Go down the rabbit hole.
I never planned on becoming a software engineer. I dropped out of college and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. After seeing my big sister code, I got a little curious about it. I decided to forget about what I ‘should’ do with my life or what I was ‘supposed’ to learn. I started coding. I started Googling. I followed my curiosity.
Much like when Alice follows after the white rabbit, I had no idea where this path would lead to. I just knew I had to find out.
My favorite podcast episode — ever — is one in which T.K Coleman and Isaac Morehouse talk about being irresponsibly curious. Their point is that we try to be well-rounded, follow a practical path, and focus on what we’re ‘supposed’ to know. When we do that, we end up half-knowing a bunch of things that don’t inspire us and that we don’t care about. Yet if you want to truly learn, find what you’re curious about and chase after it.
“The more irresponsibly curious you are about the pursuit of knowledge, the more everything becomes interesting”. -T.K Coleman.
People said I should do the responsible thing and go back to college. But I didn’t. I decided to irresponsibly chase my curiosity. I went down the rabbit hole, and I knew some people thought I was crazy. I was a college dropout, I was living with my parents and I was spending all my time coding, something that many believe a dropout cannot pursue as a career. Yet I didn’t care. I let go of what path I was supposed to be on. Later, I realized I had discovered my biggest passion. I did an unpaid engineering internship and eventually got my first job as a software engineer.
I didn’t set out to be a software engineer. I chased after my curiosity and one day realized I had become one.
What fascinates you? What is your white rabbit?
Find out and chase after it. Go down the rabbit hole.
It will only be a matter of time before you find yourself in Wonderland.