From Healthcare to Software

From Healthcare to Software 

by 

| December 13, 2023 | in

I am a software developer in the first year of my career at Don’t Panic Labs.

My background, though, is not in software or technology. My background is in healthcare. My profession, for nearly the past decade, was as a Physician Assistant with experience in Vascular Surgery, General Surgery, and Gastroenterology. I was initially drawn to health care with interest in science and physiology and how all the pieces of the body work together. As well as a drive to serve and help my community.

While I greatly enjoyed many aspects of health care and a career as a health care provider, after a few years, I struggled to find a sustainable work/life balance. I was working long hours, evenings, nights, weekends, holidays, and was living a lot of my life on call. My life had become work-centric.

After the birth of my first daughter in 2019, my priorities and outlook began to shift. I desired a career that was challenging and fulfilling, and that utilized my problem-solving skill set and my love of math and science. And I wanted the flexibility to be there for my family and be involved in my children’s lives.

In short, I wanted my cake and to eat it too.

Life Outside of Healthcare

I began to think about a potential career change my acquired skills would translate to. For the first time in my life, I began considering what my life would look like outside of healthcare.

I was nervous, overwhelmed, and — to be honest — a little scared. I was also excited, open, and liberated in a way I had never felt before. The idea of pursuing a career change at this stage of life meant I could choose something I was truly passionate about. A career that would be fulfilling and fit my needs.

I began researching various career paths and the needs of our local community. In my search, I came across a common phrase: the Silicon Prairie – this exploding tech presence in our community and a great need for skilled developers.

As I dug into this a little deeper, I found myself captivated by software development and the process of creating and maintaining workable, functional, and enjoyable user experiences in the technology of our everyday lives. I started a web development course online and was instantly hooked.

Joining the Pathways Program

I began looking into local software development courses and programs to further my skills to, eventually, make the career jump. There seemed to be an overwhelming, unending list of online boot camp options. I then came across the Pathways Program at Don’t Panic Labs. It was the perfect mix of guided teachings and real-world experience. I knew this would be a perfect start to my career transition. I applied, was accepted, and was a member of the spring 2023 cohort. I graduated in July and have been working as a software developer for Don’t Panic Labs since.

The Pathways Program was challenging, quick-moving, and focused on the fundamentals of software development and engineering. I built a solid base of knowledge to navigate front and backend development in any stack. I developed the tools to think like an engineer to successfully solve problems developers commonly work through.

Reflecting on my time in the Pathways Program, I learned many valuable things about myself. I learned I am creative in my problem solving. There is never one way to solve a problem, especially in software development. I also rediscovered that I am persistent. When grasping complex concepts or overcoming bugs, I was able to work through those problems, even when I felt out of my depths.

Life as a Software Developer

Since completing the program, I have collaborated on several projects in numerous languages. I have worked on frontend development, backend development, web application development, and mobile application development. I have been thoroughly challenged, stretched to think in different ways, and have solved countless problems.

I am confident I have made the right decision regarding my career change. I am following my passions and pursuing a career that will empower me, challenge me, and continue to push me to learn and grow, as technology is ever changing. I am allowing myself to find a better balance for myself and my family.

Advice

For anyone considering a career change or entering the field of software development, I abundantly encourage you to do so! I encourage you to know your strengths and do your research about the field you are entering. Identify your knowledge gaps and put in the work to close those gaps, knowing there will always be work to be done.

Most importantly, have the confidence in yourself that you can accomplish your goals and have the career you deserve. Fortune really does favor the bold.