Why I Chose Mobile Development
In November 2015, I took my oldest daughter to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It’s a devastating diagnosis, and a difficult disease to manage, but my first inclination was to see if there was an app for that. There was. That well-designed iPhone app enabled me, my wife, and my daughter to stay synced on multiple devices and maintain accountability for her condition. It was that app that made managing her condition a bit of a breeze. That experience showed me how powerful a mobile app developer could be in crafting quality experiences that make life better.
What I Did Before App Development
I wasn’t always a developer, at least not in the technical sense, but I always had a thing for technology. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an inventor and I loved Star Trek. I used to build tricorders out of cardboard, eventually progressing to to styrene plastic and etching my own circuit boards. By the time I graduated high school, I was taught that creativity didn’t pay the bills, so I decided to grow up and join the Navy. Secretly, I joined the Navy to learn Russian so that I could be a more attractive candidate for entry into NASA’s Astronaut Program, but I digress.
The Military Life
In the Navy, I learned Russian, was stationed in Hawaii, worked at the National Security Agency, had the opportunity to work as a Diplomatic Russian Military Interpreter in D.C., and conducted nuclear weapons inspections all over Russia and the United States, and I even got to sit in the cockpit of a B-2 Bomber! But after 13 years of no creative expression in my work, the cubicle life and traveling literally all over the world, the stress caught up with me and I was miserable, and I knew I needed a change. So I left the Navy.
How I Found Balance
During my most stressful times, I found myself relaxing by learning as much as I could about website development, personal branding, graphic design, filmography, animation, and eventually mobile app development by using sites like Treehouse and Lynda.com. I could literally sit for 18 hours a day learning this stuff and still have energy – thanks to coffee! Now, how could I just make this my day job?!
How I learned to Develop
Back in 2008, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from New York Institute of Technology. I had concentrations in Math/Physics, Computer Science, and Behavioral Science. It was in that degree where I was initially exposed to the wonderful world of software development and Object-Oriented Programming. The first language I was exposed to was C++ and I initially found it very confusing (primarily due to the way it was presented in the textbook). That experience sparked my interest in all things software development and I began my full-fledged journey by learning on Treehouse and Lynda.com.
Transitioning to Professional Software Development
When I separated from the Navy, I had to make a decision: do I stay in my original career field, continuing to work in politics, international diplomacy, and technical interpretation or do I make my career the one thing I found myself immersed in during my stressful moments in life? Let’s just say, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
Realizing that there were gaps in my knowledge base for software development, I decided to further my education. In March 2016, I enrolled at Full Sail University to learn how to develop the right way. Full Sail is unique in that the first half of the degree program is dedicated to learning the disciplines of Computer Science, Data Structures, Information Architecture, Interaction Design (IxD), and User Experience Design (UX) before entering into the second half of the degree program: iOS and Android app development.