Life after PE - the other road

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labanker - Certified Professional
Rank: King Kong | banana points 1,814

As I mentioned in a previous thread ("How to Make VP in Private Equity"), a couple years ago I said goodbye to the private equity industry and decided to try my luck in the tech industry. Not as a VC associate. Not as an "entrepreneur". As a programmer.

Yep, you read that right. After thinking long and hard about what it is that I actually enjoy doing on a daily basis, I concluded that programming might just be my path to vocational bliss. I'm now a few months shy of two years into this little experiment, so I thought it might be about time to give you guys an update in case there are others out there wondering what "the other road" might look like.

I started the journey from financier to software developer by attending a 10 week JavaScript bootcamp in Boulder, CO. I picked that particular bootcamp because (i) it was focused on JavaScript which seemed to be on the rise, and (ii) it had a particularly good instructor, which I knew was what would make or break the bootcamp. Following my tenure at the bootcamp, I landed a gig as a developer at a startup founded by one of the bootcamp instructors. I spent a year there before the project pipeline dried up and the start-up's status as a going concern became a serious question. I ended up moving back to LA (which is where I was living / working prior to making the transition to software development) and landed a new gig at another start-up (this time one that was venture backed).

After almost two years in, I feel as though I'm finally starting to hit my stride. I'm working at a pretty cool spot with some awesome people, and I am thoroughly engaged and excited to be doing what I'm doing. In addition, I now have a freelance project under my belt, and have a few side projects I'm working on. Most importantly, I feel like I can see a path towards career autonomy, which is a very exciting prospect for me. Overall I feel like I'm in a decent place -- not to the point where I'm 100% certain that I made the "right" decision, but trending towards it. The next couple years will likely be pivotal in determining whether or not this experiment has been a "success." In the meantime, here are a few of my takeaways from the experience thus far:

(1) Work is certainly a lot more fun when you are "doing what you love."

I had kind of forgotten what it was like to really "lose yourself" in your work or attend a networking event and be genuinely interested in what the other person was talking about. Being actively engaged and excited about what you do casts your work in a whole new light. You pick up things more easily. You are more productive and spend less time procrastinating. You no longer have to pretend you know what you're talking about because you actually do know what you're talking about. All of a sudden, leading a company someday or becoming an industry expert seem like real, attainable possibilities.

(2) There's a reason most people choose not to do what they love.

While the actual work you do when you're "doing what you love" can be great, the overall process has a lot of significant downsides. These are things that people tend to gloss over when they tell their "quit my boring finance job to find my dream gig / start a company / travel the world," stories. Things like going from a prestigious job with comp that would make most senior executives jealous to wondering if you will even be able to get a job at all. Or going from being able to complete most of your work on autopilot to working your ass off just to be worthy of "entry level" positions that pay peanuts. And then there's the doubt. Other people will doubt you: "why would you leave private equity to do programming?" And you'll doubt yourself. I can't count how many times I asked myself "what on earth are you doing?" or seriously wondered whether the transition was really worth it. Working your ass off for an uncertain, nebulous outcome where utter failure is a very real possibility can be pretty draining at times, especially if you come from a background where your path has always been clearly marked out for you and the rewards along the way obvious.

(3) Having and developing real, hard skills is very satisfying.

Being able build stuff from scratch really is awesome. Knowing that I can go out and directly create, directly build a product, or directly sell my labor (freelance work) is freeing. Knowing that I can sit down and sort through difficult technical challenges and get to a solution is confidence inspiring.

(4) Being technically competent does not necessarily guarantee success and/or organizational influence, even in highly technical organizations.

Becoming a master of a technical craft may be deeply satisfying on an existential level, and it will likely secure a baseline level of vocational security, but it's not going to guarantee you a seat at the table with the real decision makers. In fact, most technical people (e.g. programmers) are treated like second class citizens or worse -- like children -- in many organizations, including top tech companies. The fact that most job postings at tech companies advertise "nap rooms" "nerf gun fights" and "free Vitamin Water" as key selling points exemplifies this. The last time I was incentivized with naps and free juice I think I was about 5 years old. Unfortunately, most techies are content to trade real influence and compensation for these frivolities, so it's kind of industry standard at this point, and I don't see it changing anytime soon.

(5) Moving to a lower cost of living city has some benefits but may not be worth it.

People in the large, tier-1 cities often wonder if life would be better in a smaller, cheaper, slower-paced city. I was no different in this regard, and while I loved LA, I found myself frequently complaining about the typical downsides of life in a big city: too much traffic, high cost of living, no sense of community, etc. My wife and I thought it could be time for a change, so as I mentioned previously, we picked up and moved to Boulder and then Denver, fully intending to stay there full time if the fit was right. It wasn't. A year and a half later we were back in LA, with a newfound appreciation for all things SoCal. Not to say that Colorado was bad per se, it just wasn't LA. Yes things were cheaper, but we paid a price in other ways. We now had to deal with things like snow, which is a nightmare if you have any kind of commute, and a culture that we found wasn't an ideal fit for us. Bottom line, we realized how much we had taken things for granted back in LA.

I have other takeaways from my experience, and I could probably write an essay further expounding each one I've already listed, but hopefully this gives you guys a rough idea of my experience so far. Suffice to say, it's been a pretty awesome learning experience if nothing else, and I feel I've grown a lot in the process. Time will tell if it was ultimately the right call.

Mod Note (Andy) - Throwback Thursday - this was originally posted May 2015

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Comments (41)

May 26, 2015

Great read. SB+

May 26, 2015

Great read. Life is infinitely better in a "lower tier" city for me, however, but hell, it's all about what you want.

    • 1
May 26, 2015

Loved this. Hope I can make a move like this some day.

May 26, 2015

SB'ed. It's a pity you are in LA or I would have definitely bought you coffee. Keep the posts coming OP!

May 26, 2015

SB'ed. #4 is so true.

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May 26, 2015

Glad things are going well, and thanks for keeping it real as always!

May 26, 2015

good luck dude, that's what i hope i will do someday

May 26, 2015

Thanks for sharing. I've always thought about programming if my financial career didn't turn out like how I wanted. I really enjoyed my intro to programming class, but I think the greatest fear is not knowing if the grass will be greener.

May 26, 2015

The thing that is hard to get into perspective is that there are truly many other roads. It's a point that isn't clear right after undergraduate or graduate school, but the further one goes in a career, the more grey areas appear and the less paths look binary.

The key is in not being afraid. I've been lurking a bit here as part of some private equity discussions I am having, and I am struck often by the ardent beliefs that run around. Rarely do things turn out linearly and for every perceived norm, there are many exeptions. There is a great graphic about "Success" and what it looks like v. what people think. It's very true.

Yes, doing what you love or what you think you love comes with a smaller paycheck and different kinds of uncertainty. And working in finance gives skills that may not become obvious until much later when the total skill set blossoms into something more fulfilling than it looked like 10 years prior.

Resiliance is important, banishing fear, and looking forward. You have to enjoy all the roads taken because we are all moving in one direction only.

So its important not to think of paths as binery, but rather experience to be gained -- because truly

May 26, 2015

Good read. Just a quick question to OP: do you enjoy building product or actually enjoy coding itself? It is pretty different.

May 26, 2015

There is certainly more than a couple from my business school class that are changing gears in a similar manner.

Kudos OP!

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

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May 26, 2015

thanks for posting! great info

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May 26, 2015

I do not get how you chose LA over Boulder, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Sure there is snow, but commmmmon maaannn.

May 26, 2015

Great read, thanks for the post. A few questions if you don't mind:

1) How much programming did you know prior to taking the JavaScript bootcamp?
2) Knowing what you know now, would you still recommend this move to others who are currently in finance and wanting to explore a career in tech. Do you think this "trade" is getting crowded in terms of many people making the switch towards tech every day from all different fields?
3) Lastly, can you describe the tech/entrepreneurship/startup scene in SoCal? Have you felt any pressure or urgency to move closer to SF's tech hub?

Thanks again for the valuable post.

May 27, 2015
MD_Nasty:

Great read, thanks for the post. A few questions if you don't mind:

1) How much programming did you know prior to taking the JavaScript bootcamp?
2) Knowing what you know now, would you still recommend this move to others who are currently in finance and wanting to explore a career in tech. Do you think this "trade" is getting crowded in terms of many people making the switch towards tech every day from all different fields?
3) Lastly, can you describe the tech/entrepreneurship/startup scene in SoCal? Have you felt any pressure or urgency to move closer to SF's tech hub?

Thanks again for the valuable post.

  1. Zero. I played around with some Python tutorials here and there but other than that I had no experience. I think the modeling I did in banking and PE helped though.
  2. In my experience, the actual number of people that make the switch to software development and stick with it is quite small. Yes there's a lot of noise around bootcamps and online code schools, and you frequently hear "everyone should learn to code" type sentiments, but that hasn't translated into a massive influx of qualified software engineers, probably because most people like the idea of coding more than actual coding. In other words, if you have a unique angle and are dedicated to the craft, there will be plenty of room for you. It's going to be a bit of an uphill slog in the beginning, but once you are over that initial experience hump you will have zero trouble finding work.

As for whether I'd recommend this to someone currently in finance...that's a tough call. As I mentioned in my post, I think the jury's still out on whether this was ultimately the best move. I'm thinking it has the potential to be, but it's still too early to tell. In the end, I think it really comes down to the individual. If you're the type that loves mastering things, constantly learning, hates meetings, and you're ok walking into the unknown, then I'd give the switch a serious look. I will say that you should be prepared to find a unique angle. You're probably not going to land a job at Google following 10 weeks at XYZ bootcamp, and you're probably not going to want to be a run of the mill code monkey for long. In other words, you're probably going to have to carve out your own path sooner rather than later.

  1. LA is still no SF / SV, but the tech scene here is pretty strong now. They are practically building a whole mini-city dedicated to tech over in Playa Vista. The big guys are establishing large campuses and there are a ton of start-ups popping up to the point where people are starting to complain that tech is driving up rents and ruining everything. There are also a ton of meet-ups that cater to all different stacks, so you have plenty of opportunities to network. I initially shared the same concerns you have, but after being here a bit I'm pretty happy with my choice. The quality of life is so much higher in my opinion.
May 26, 2015

Cool, thanks.

May 26, 2015

Good stuff. I'm curious, do your future plans include a start up venture or something where you move from the pure programming side to management? I'm in no way saying there's anything wrong with a career in programming/development but as someone who made it to PE I'd imagine you were the super driven high schooler who got into a top college, worked hard there...yada, yada, yada...PE. A lot of that type of person will always have it in the back of their minds that they want/need to be a master of the universe. Maybe they decided it wasn't in IB or PE but it's going to be in the corporate world, startup techs, even if they go into non-profits they have something in them saying that they want to be the CEO of the Red Cross. Like I said, just curious.

And I agree with @trailmix8 (although that username may show his preferences for location...) I'm not an LA hater but LA over Boulder? Other than surf, come on dude... :-)

Congrats on getting out of this game when you decided it wasn't for you and good luck with whatever your future plans are.

Best Response
May 27, 2015
Dingdong08:

Good stuff. I'm curious, do your future plans include a start up venture or something where you move from the pure programming side to management? I'm in no way saying there's anything wrong with a career in programming/development but as someone who made it to PE I'd imagine you were the super driven high schooler who got into a top college, worked hard there...yada, yada, yada...PE. A lot of that type of person will always have it in the back of their minds that they want/need to be a master of the universe. Maybe they decided it wasn't in IB or PE but it's going to be in the corporate world, startup techs, even if they go into non-profits they have something in them saying that they want to be the CEO of the Red Cross. Like I said, just curious.

And I agree with @trailmix8 (although that username may show his preferences for location...) I'm not an LA hater but LA over Boulder? Other than surf, come on dude... :-)

Congrats on getting out of this game when you decided it wasn't for you and good luck with whatever your future plans are.

I'm not completely sure at this point, but yes, I do eventually want to move into more of a "principal" role in some capacity, preferably as a start-up founder. Not necessarily because I want to be a "master of the universe" -- more because I ultimately want to capture the value I create, and that's never going to happen as a run of the mill programmer.

Boulder is a cool town but not some place I'd like to be long term. Despite all the hype, it still is a pretty sleepy spot where opportunities are limited and people are more concerned about where they are skiing next weekend than getting things done. Also, I'm all for "making the world a better place," but I quickly tired of hearing about my carbon footprint and the dangers of GMOs every single day.

LA has the best weather on the planet (not hyperbole), a booming tech industry, some of the most attractive women in the world, cheaper housing (vs. NYC and SF), and top tier natural attractions (mountains, trails, beaches). It took leaving to fully appreciate it but I won't take it for granted again.

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May 26, 2015

+1. Your post coincidentally came to mind the other day and made me wonder whether the move to web dev panned out for you. Seconding dingdong's question as someone with a finance background (albeit much less) who also moved into startups and has some JS dev experience. I remind myself not to get too caught up in building hard skills because the ultimate goal is to have a seat the decision maker table, but it's nice knowing that I have a skill that I can always rely on because it's in such high demand.

May 27, 2015
moneymogul:

I remind myself not to get too caught up in building hard skills because the ultimate goal is to have a seat the decision maker table, but it's nice knowing that I have a skill that I can always rely on because it's in such high demand.

I think that's a great way to think about it.

    • 1
May 26, 2015

How much did you have banked before doing this career reset?

May 27, 2015

Great post, great story.

Along the lines of DingDong, do you every find your self trying to help with the strategy, finances, overall direction of the firm. Like is that/was that part of your pitch to employers I'm a coder with this exploitable skill set as well. Or do you really just function as any other developer. Apart from the pay gap, I think I'd really struggle from being in a position of influence - even it if was on the peripheral - to being just another worker bee. For better or worse, I admit that I do like the fact that in finance even at a junior level you have direct access to management, are a part of all the high level meetings, etc. as opposed to someone within the organization of a similar age that is no where near engaged in anything of the sorts. Curious to hear your experience/thoughts on that.

    • 1
May 27, 2015
ke18sb:

Great post, great story.

Along the lines of DingDong, do you every find your self trying to help with the strategy, finances, overall direction of the firm. Like is that/was that part of your pitch to employers I'm a coder with this exploitable skill set as well. Or do you really just function as any other developer. Apart from the pay gap, I think I'd really struggle from being in a position of influence - even it if was on the peripheral - to being just another worker bee. For better or worse, I admit that I do like the fact that in finance even at a junior level you have direct access to management, are a part of all the high level meetings, etc. as opposed to someone within the organization of a similar age that is no where near engaged in anything of the sorts. Curious to hear your experience/thoughts on that.

I kind of pitched the business + coding angle to a shop that was basically positioning themselves as a "founding team" for hire. I ultimately went with another shop but for what it's worth, that pitch seemed to resonate with those guys.

I mostly function as a regular developer right now, though I think I maybe have a few additional status points with the VP of Engineering based on my background.

I add some input on how business people may view certain features, but overall the opportunity for strategic direction is pretty limited. That's ok for now, as I'm really looking to hone my technical skills at the moment. I'll likely look to move into more of a principal role once I have a little more experience under my belt.

Yes it can be cool to participate in high level meetings, but I think such participation would be much more valuable if you really knew what you were talking about. I always felt like my partners and I didn't have a whole lot of solid insight to add given the fact the company's senior management had been living and breathing the industry / business for years (often decades) while extent of our knowledge was some Bain report and 3 GLG calls.

    • 1
May 27, 2015
labanker:

ke18sb: Great post, great story.
Along the lines of DingDong, do you every find your self trying to help with the strategy, finances, overall direction of the firm. Like is that/was that part of your pitch to employers I'm a coder with this exploitable skill set as well. Or do you really just function as any other developer. Apart from the pay gap, I think I'd really struggle from being in a position of influence - even it if was on the peripheral - to being just another worker bee. For better or worse, I admit that I do like the fact that in finance even at a junior level you have direct access to management, are a part of all the high level meetings, etc. as opposed to someone within the organization of a similar age that is no where near engaged in anything of the sorts. Curious to hear your experience/thoughts on that.

I kind of pitched the business + coding angle to a shop that was basically positioning themselves as a "founding team" for hire. I ultimately went with another shop but for what it's worth, that pitch seemed to resonate with those guys.

I mostly function as a regular developer right now, though I think I maybe have a few additional status points with the VP of Engineering based on my background.

I add some input on how business people may view certain features, but overall the opportunity for strategic direction is pretty limited. That's ok for now, as I'm really looking to hone my technical skills at the moment. I'll likely look to move into more of a principal role once I have a little more experience under my belt.

Yes it can be cool to participate in high level meetings, but I think such participation would be much more valuable if you really knew what you were talking about. I always felt like my partners and I didn't have a whole lot of solid insight to add given the fact the company's senior management had been living and breathing the industry / business for years (often decades) while extent of our knowledge was some Bain report and 3 GLG calls.

Didn't necessarily mean "master of the universe" but you captured the notion much better with your description.

I was also a bit in jest about Boulder: I've loved it every time I've visited but visiting compared to living among crunchy could get old I suppose.

I'm curious about the LA startup scene. Has it gotten more organized? Is the "Silicon Beach" (and I get sick of the "Silicon ___" being attached to anywhere with a startup scene, it's a bit like anything-gate) become a real thing with VC dollars, a concentration of startups with some successes and the intellectual firepower and tech talent?

May 28, 2015
Dingdong08:

I'm curious about the LA startup scene. Has it gotten more organized? Is the "Silicon Beach" (and I get sick of the "Silicon ___" being attached to anywhere with a startup scene, it's a bit like anything-gate) become a real thing with VC dollars, a concentration of startups with some successes and the intellectual firepower and tech talent?

Definitely not SF / SV scale but there's a lot happening here. Tons of start-ups and they are practically building a whole new city in Playa Vista (neighborhood south of Venice) focused 100% on tech with the likes of Google, Youtube, Microsoft, etc. anchoring the place.

May 30, 2015

Tinder and Snapchat are the only two start-ups I can think of with VC dollars in west LA. Other companies - Yahoo, Facebook, Google, etc. - have offices in Venice/Playa Del Rey, and they're developing huge creative office complexes right now.

May 30, 2015
hamilton714:

Tinder and Snapchat are the only two start-ups I can think of with VC dollars in west LA. Other companies - Yahoo, Facebook, Google, etc. - have offices in Venice/Playa Del Rey, and they're developing huge creative office complexes right now.

There are way way way more VC backed startup in LA than Tinder and Snapchat in LA.

May 31, 2015

Haha yeah no kidding. I'm talking about companies anyone would recognize. Obviously.

May 27, 2015

you have mega balls for quitting PE and stepping down in life as a developer

being a software dev in some companies is worse than being a janitor.

alpha currency trader wanna-be

    • 3
May 27, 2015

Thanks, great follow up post and good to hear it's worked out well overall so far. I have some questions that I would be very interested to hear answers to (quite a few sorry!):

  1. Does not having a computer science degree matter or can it all be learnt on the job and through Coursera and other resources? What would you say the pros and cons of computer science masters versus a bootcamp are? What happens if/when Javascript is not the hot technology in a few years... do you believe you'll be able to pivot without the comp sci background?
  2. It's always tough to know in advance whether you'll actually enjoy programming for a full time job versus just a hobby and something to dabble in. Now that you've made the change, how would you say a good way to assess this would be?
  3. Any insights into the specifics of the work you actually do on a day to day basis would be great. Some posts suggest you have no input into the design or features of a product.. is it more the case you're just told what to build with minimal input? I would have thought at a smaller startup there'd be some crossover?
  4. Where do you think the tech industry is heading? Are we in some sort of startup bubble which may at some point burst and leave many unemployed (particularly those without the strong comp sci background)?
  5. Where are you looking to go in the industry? Some of posts suggests you like the technical, problem solving work involved in programming and the potential autonomy that can come from mastering this, however in other posts you've mentioned wanting to go more down the path of a decision maker / business person at startups.
  6. What I gather from your post is that programming is far more satisfying, the work environment is better (people too?) and it's rewarding to build products, solve logical problems, and can lead to autonomy and a real marketable and transferable skill. However, this comes at a significant pay and prestige cut from the world of finance. Do people still question you and do you still doubt the decision at times? Anything you can expand on from your second point would be interesting to hear.
  7. Realistically, could you go back into finance if you desired?

Thanks

    • 1
May 28, 2015
Alex-Smith5:

Thanks, great follow up post and good to hear it's worked out well overall so far. I have some questions that I would be very interested to hear answers to (quite a few sorry!):

1. Does not having a computer science degree matter or can it all be learnt on the job and through Coursera and other resources? What would you say the pros and cons of computer science masters versus a bootcamp are? What happens if/when Javascript is not the hot technology in a few years... do you believe you'll be able to pivot without the comp sci background?

2. It's always tough to know in advance whether you'll actually enjoy programming for a full time job versus just a hobby and something to dabble in. Now that you've made the change, how would you say a good way to assess this would be?

3. Any insights into the specifics of the work you actually do on a day to day basis would be great. Some posts suggest you have no input into the design or features of a product.. is it more the case you're just told what to build with minimal input? I would have thought at a smaller startup there'd be some crossover?

4. Where do you think the tech industry is heading? Are we in some sort of startup bubble which may at some point burst and leave many unemployed (particularly those without the strong comp sci background)?

5. Where are you looking to go in the industry? Some of posts suggests you like the technical, problem solving work involved in programming and the potential autonomy that can come from mastering this, however in other posts you've mentioned wanting to go more down the path of a decision maker / business person at startups.

6. What I gather from your post is that programming is far more satisfying, the work environment is better (people too?) and it's rewarding to build products, solve logical problems, and can lead to autonomy and a real marketable and transferable skill. However, this comes at a significant pay and prestige cut from the world of finance. Do people still question you and do you still doubt the decision at times? Anything you can expand on from your second point would be interesting to hear.

7. Realistically, could you go back into finance if you desired?

Thanks

  1. I think it depends on what you want to do. If you want to go work on operating systems or work for Google then a comp sci degree might help. If your goal is web / mobile development or something along those lines then I don't think it's necessary. It's probably good to eventually pick up some of the key comp sci concepts at some point, but yeah, you can do that mostly on your own. There are a ton of resources out there to do so. Tech is also much less credential / pedigree focused than finance -- real skills and experience matter a lot more. The quicker you get those things the better.

I could of course be wrong, but I don't think JavaScript is going anywhere. If you want to write code for the browser, you have one choice: JavaScript. It's been that way for the past 20 years and if anything it's getting more popular with the explosion of Node.js (a server side flavor of the language) and some of the new frameworks such as Facebook's React. That said, I think I've picked up enough core programming concepts that I'm reasonably confident I could pick up other languages pretty quickly if necessary. I also plan to pick up Python and C a little further down the road.

  1. Do you really, really like building financial models? Do you constantly look for ways to make them more dynamic and efficient? Do you constantly try to automate your work and build "components"? Are you the guy that built a lot of your group's analytical templates? Do you like constantly learning things? Do you like to really understand things down at a core level? Are you amazed by how computers actually work (boolean gates and all that)? Do you hate listening to people that BS and don't know what they are talking about? If you answered yes to most of these questions then there's a good chance you'll like programming enough to do it professionally. Ultimately there's no way to predict for sure, but I think the above are decent indicators.
  2. In my first gig I'd say my influence on the actual design and features of the app was minimal. Now I have some input on how a particular aspect of the UX should work or something like that but in general I build what the VP of Product, the CEO, and the VP of Engineering want built. What I do have influence over however is how those features are built. I design the architecture, I decide how the code is going to be structured, and I have mostly free reign to pull in whatever libraries I think are necessary to get the job done. The code is still reviewed by the VP of Engineering and some of my peers, but I own the code.
  3. I think things are frothy and there are a lot of stupid companies getting funded but I don't really think tech is ever going to fall off a cliff. There may be some corrections but that will just flush out all the people without real skills or real love for the game. With the way things are heading, I would actually argue that tech (as a programmer) is one of the safest places to be long term. Once you have a certain amount of experience, you will literally be contacted by recruiters once a week. Contrast that with PE, where beyond a certain level (say VP), there are only a handful of available jobs nationwide.
  4. My views have evolved as I've gained experienced and learned how the industry works, and you're seeing a little bit of that evolution in my posts. I'm also still kind of feeling out my path. As I've mentioned, things aren't exactly linear when you go down this route. That said, I really like the actual programming -- there's nothing like writing elegant code to solve a tough problem and then see it work out in the wild. However, working as a programmer for someone else just leaves too much value on the table in my view. You also have to deal with outsized responsibility / risk relative to your compensation (e.g. if the app breaks everyone blames you and is pissed at you but you don't typically get the upside if the app is enormously successful). Thus, I eventually want to move into a role where that responsibility / upside equation is a bit more balanced. I think the ideal situation would be running my own start-up while actually building most of the application, but we shall see.
  5. Definitely have doubts and I still come across a lot of people that think I'm crazy. But I thought through this very carefully and I think overall it's a good risk to take. I'm starting to see some potential upside so I'm fairly hopeful at this point. There's also something about just going out there and saying this is what I want to do, and I'm going to damn well do it. Maybe it works out, maybe it doesn't, but I'm going to give it a shot.
  6. I think I could go back to finance if I really wanted to. I'd really have to work on crafting my story, but I think I could do it. Maybe not PE, but I'm sure I could find something.
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May 27, 2015

Good stuff, thanks for posting. I know a similar story from a former co-worker who went and started a company out of an incubator. The company failed but he still wasn't convinced he wanted to the founder so he went to a coding boot camp in Chicago (?) and has since then joined another start up as a coder and appears to be super happy, as well.

May 27, 2015

Nice write up.

Four is very true. However in my experience there are a few reasons why lots of people in technology will never be influential in a company.

Social skills are often lacking
Understanding company politics
Many of the contractors at my firm just want a simple life with no stress passed the 40 hour mark.

Understanding technology and making good judgement calls are very different. I only need to understand the risks and the rewards associated with my choices.

I could have some bias since the people my company employs are full time contractors and the nature of the gig pulls in people with those characteristics.

I often wonder about number 5 and am not sure since I haven't moved but the cost of stuff in others cities makes me wonder.

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May 27, 2015

Labanker,

Thank you for taking the time to type out your story. I'm a young monkey that's just starting to realize that finance may not be my calling after all. Do you have any websites or apps that you've developed that you'd be willing to share? Also, how does a typical day for you go? Would you ever consider re-entering Corporate America (maybe in a more tech oriented role) after you got a taste of the good life?

May 27, 2015

Labanker,

Thank you for taking the time to type out your story. I'm a young monkey that's just starting to realize that finance may not be my calling after all. Do you have any websites or apps that you've developed that you'd be willing to share? Also, how does a typical day for you go? Would you ever consider re-entering Corporate America (maybe in a more tech oriented role) now that you got a taste of the good life?

May 28, 2015

Great read, thanks for sharing your story!

Aug 29, 2015

Hey OP, I had the same experience as you (and wrote mine up as a reply to your 2013 article). I'm still in PE - at a new firm, as a sr. VP. But I still look at the partnership and am of the belief that there's little way for me to break in. It's a closed club. I'm just here to churn work. So like you I've looked at the coding boot camps. And as I'm also from LA (Go Bruins) I'll PM you. I'd encourage those on the PE track to consider all aspects of the role before jumping in.

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Dec 29, 2015

This is really great, thanks for sharing!

Dec 29, 2015
Jun 20, 2016
Apr 23, 2018