Careers and Colleges are hard choices

 This post is over a year old, and likely doesn’t reflect my current thinking or mindset.

Recently, I had the opportunity come across for me to enter into the Iron Yard Academy. The Iron Yard is a 12 week program and offers employment assistance, the programs vary from different types of development, ranging from Ruby to basic iOS. There’s always the slight risk that a 12 week how to code program is going to be a dud, but when I met with the director and teacher in person, most questions of the validity of the program subsided. It checked out.

While I was speaking to the teacher of the program, I was told that most jobs out of the program would be “setting the type, and not building the printing press.” That in of itself was quite fine given the time spent in the class but after that was said all I could think was “fuck building the printing press, i’d have the time of my life doing nothing but playing with type!” After a couple more questions I was given the OK by both of them and told that I do have the technical aptitude to be a candidate for such a program, all that was left was bureaucratic work.

When I went home, I spent that night and the next couple of days thinking to myself, is opting out of college to do such a program a good idea? I’m currently taking this semester off and intended to start college next semester. While I believe that there are multiple paths in life and one does not have to attend college to be successful nor does one have to take a technical class such as the one presented to me, I’ve just been confused on what path I should take.


 What even is success?

I’ve always had an interest in technology and when I was in high school I taught myself basic web design, but when thinking about what one will be spending the next 10 years of their life doing, what parameters should one have in mind? No one has ever explained that to me and there’s a stigma that I should have figured it out on my own, which is fucking stupid. My father didn’t go to college, in fact he didn’t even go to high school1. But when I think of successful people in my life, he is on that list. American culture implies that financial success is the main indicator of how successful a person is, but I’ve read too many articles and books stating contrary to believe that success is based upon one factor alone.

The common definition of the word success is:

suc·cess

səkˈses

noun

the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

That is also the mindset I have when trying to figure out what steps I should take next in my life. Whatever makes me able to accomplish goals I set out for myself. What I do in my life should make me feel successful because what truly matters at the end of the day is how I feel about my actions, right?

I like believing that, but I don’t know.


 Why become a web designer?

When I was pouring over the question of “should I go to this class,” the question of “why do I even want to work a job creating web sites” popped up. To answer that question I thought back to why I even began teaching myself web design in the first place.

When I was 13 or 142, my friend Sadiq had a blog entitled asininetech. He let me write for it after I nagged him for a couple of weeks, and this3 was the first blog post ever published under my name. There were a couple of blogs before then that I had started and wrote a couple of articles for, but those aren’t online and I was 12 at that time, so it’s safe to say that it isn’t my best work.

When I was 16 I started a blog at the domain technoticraccoon.com4. This is when I first started to learn web design. I used tumblr as the engine powering the site because I was poor, and I spent that entire summer learning how to build a theme for my site that was legible. The only reason I cared about learning how to make websites is because I cared about the reading experience. Even though the content I wrote wasn’t of the best quality, I wanted the process of reading it to be spectacular. I cared more about fonts and colors than code.


 I love writing and cannot understand why

In the first blog post I wrote for technoticraccoon5, I said this:

Header with a big logo and breaking links, narrow vertically scrolling text column with lots of wasted white space on the site used for even more links to things you don’t care about, ads in any place that isn’t used for some other asinine thing, content that is made for skimming and nothing of real depth. Rinse. Repeat. Cycle. Money rolls in. We all win….right?

….

As stated in the colophon above, this blog is about what I find interesting. That is what I think “blogging” should be about. You write about what you find interesting, because when you do, the quality goes up because you have some sort of an emotion towards the medium of your content. But I could be naively speaking again.

This is getting long so I’ll conclude. I am a writer. novice or not, I want to create quality content that isn’t garbage by the wash-like method that is the norm. And maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll even be able to make a living out of this.

When I was debating whether I should attend the class at The Iron Yard I reread that post, and I still believe what I wrote when I was 15. My head is telling me that I should go to school for CS and get a job as a programmer, but my gut is telling that I have some weird love for writing and i’d be much more happier doing that. I’m torn between the practical and romantic. The concept of a programmer is dirty and inelegant full of notions of people staying up all night tinkering away just to get their idea working, but the concept of a writer has been romanticized by our culture. Bill Gates is looked at as a nerd who built the future, but Hemingway is look at as the drunken romantic who could woo with nothing but a pen.

I’m naive, I’m well aware of that. But if I can’t get the idea of being a writer out of my head, then i’m going to damn well try to be one. If I fail then so be it, there’s nothing wrong with failing.


 I’ve canceled my application for the Iron Yard and i’ve decided that I’ll go to school for a writing degree. Even though journalism is one of the lowest ranking degrees currently out there, I still want to try.

 Thank you for reading, and here’s to hoping this works.

You should follow me on Twitter or Google+.


  1. El Salvador is a poor country and that’s not uncommon. 

  2. The date on imported posts might be wrong because Sadiq sucks at maintaining servers. 

  3. Anything with the author “TechnoticRacoon” was me, and god you do not want to read those. Seriously. 

  4. I don’t own it anymore nor do I have anything to do with the current content on that site. I promise. 

  5. Titled “An explanation for degeneration, which I think would be an awesome line in a rap song. 

 
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