From Philosophy Major to DevOps Engineer | by Ary Sharifian | Oct, 2020


How I went from a non-STEM main to DevOps engineer at a Fortune 100 firm

Many of my engineering colleagues are shocked to hear that I’ve a bachelor’s diploma in philosophy. Those on my staff with STEM levels usually inform me its a bonus to have a non-STEM diploma. But the trail to turning into a DevOps Engineer wasn’t a brief one, and I made errors alongside the best way. Many attain out to learn the way I navigated the weird path from philosophy diploma to DevOps Engineer. This article will shed some gentle into how I did it. In brief, it was somewhat little bit of luck, important household assist, and quite a lot of arduous work and endurance. But first, a narrative.

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I used to be working at Oracle as a Cloud Engineer when my supervisor requested if I might do some recruiting at UCSD, my alma mater. When I arrived, the road to enter the us Tech Job Fair was lengthy. I met with such a various vary of scholars. There had been some that handed me a resume with 4.0 Computer Science GPA however couldn’t talk a coherent thought and others that couldn’t output “hello world” in any programming language.

But I keep in mind one pupil particularly. She was a non-STEM main with some fascinating technical tasks. When she handed me her resume I might inform she was self-conscious, anxious how I’d understand her skillset or lack thereof. Before I might even ask a query she started defending her resume. I stated “hey, I get you”. When I advised her that I graduated from UCSD in philosophy her eyes lit up. We later linked on LinkedIn. I gave her some recommendation and inspired her to proceed.

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I graduated from UCSD with an undergraduate diploma in philosophy. Honestly, I had no concept what I used to be doing. I majored in philosophy as a double main in order that I might proceed my work with this Voter Registration Organization that I helped begin referred to as SOVAC. Upon reflection including a philosophy main to proceed engaged on SOVAC was a ridiculous motive to keep an additional yr in faculty. My dedication to my pupil org was getting in the best way of my future. When I graduated I spotted I had no marketable expertise. Luckily, proper earlier than I graduated I used to be awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to work on a ardour mission.

The NSF grant gave me simply sufficient cash to survive, however I knew it wouldn’t final. The grant snowballed into an organization I began with one in every of my pals from faculty. We constructed an internet polling service and signed a paying buyer, The San Diego Union-Tribune. Having an concept, turning an concept right into a product, and promoting it to a paying buyer flipped a change. I knew there was one thing right here. I caught the tech bug.

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I ultimately acquired a full-time job working as a marketing consultant for an excellent authorities non-profit, however my thoughts was entrenched within the NSF work and eventual firm I began. My faculty good friend who helped construct the product was finally supplied a Software Engineering job with Facebook. He, like me, was a non-STEM main however earlier than graduating determined to pursue laptop science and grow to be a Software Engineer. I not had the luxurious of fixing my thoughts in faculty. I used to be already in the actual world working as a non-profit marketing consultant. Could I flip again?

I keep in mind getting a name from my supervisor on the time about whether or not I wished to grow to be a full-time worker and member of the workers. Again, I had no actual plan and declined. In hindsight, I in all probability ought to have pursued the full-time job to hold my choices open. Maybe I might have labored in the course of the day and took evening courses, however I didn’t suppose that far. I simply knew I wished to get into tech.

At the time bootcamps had been starting to achieve quite a lot of traction. But I made a decision to get my toes moist with an intro to Java class at a neighborhood faculty. I used to be already working full-time so this class was a fairly large dedication of my time. I shortly realized that I had a ardour for programming. What excited me most was having the ability to construct functions with what little I realized. It was at the moment that I made a decision to return to faculty for laptop science.

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I made a decision to enroll as a pc science graduate pupil as a result of I wished to perceive the basics and have a doc which validates the talents I developed. I spent far an excessive amount of time getting ready for the GREs. In the top I enrolled right into a program that didn’t even require a GRE rating. I spotted that undergraduate programs are about the identical regardless of the place you go. It didn’t actually matter the place I attended with respect to the coursework.

Getting a level amounted to job safety. There had been many who advised me getting a level was a waste of time, and I might be taught no matter I wanted to get a job. This is true to an extent. Reflecting now, it’s arduous to say what would have been the higher path. I feel the sooner path is enrolling in a bootcamp or just taking some on-line programs in knowledge construction and primary programming. But I believed getting a level was safer although a lot slower. The reality is that a pc science diploma doesn’t assure something.

After a couple of yr and a half into my grasp’s diploma I began getting antsy. I wished a job. By this time, I had accomplished nearly the entire undergraduate coursework required for a pc science diploma. I checked out a number of the masters degree coursework and felt the superior coursework wouldn’t quantity to a lot. I simply wished a job and extra importantly job expertise. I didn’t need to take out extra loans and spend extra time finishing a level. I merely began making use of for every thing underneath the solar. I bombed just a few interviews. I used to be clearly rusty. Eventually, I landed a job interview with Oracle as a Cloud Engineer. Honestly, I had no concept what cloud was or that Oracle even had a cloud service. I didn’t even know what a cloud engineer did.

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I ready and thought I failed the job interview, however I used to be surprisingly given a suggestion. I used to be enthusiastic about getting my foot into the door. Reflecting on it now, I feel my time was higher spent working at Oracle than ending my masters. At the identical time, I don’t have a level which, I argued earlier, would give some job safety and doc my skillset. But now I’ve expertise working as a tech engineer which some would possibly argue is best than a level. Although in the long term, it is perhaps extra advantageous to have a level. In any case, it’s my long run purpose to finally full my diploma and possibly get an MBA.

I not too long ago accepted a job provide to work at OCI (Oracle Cloud Infrastructure) as a DevOps Engineer which made me mirror and motivated me to write this text. If somebody like me might get right here, anybody can. I can respect the progress I’ve made, however I nonetheless have a methods to go. Frankly, deciding to pursue laptop science, engineering, and a job in tech is a life-long dedication to studying. The tech ecosystem is huge. Technology is all the time altering. There is a few new paradigm being fashioned as we communicate. Anyone who chooses this life should be prepared and to sustain.

Many ask me what I might have performed in a different way, and I’ve blended recommendation relying on who’s asking. But I’ll do my greatest to inform the tenacious twenty one thing yr outdated me deciding I wished to change paths.

I might take programs in primary programming (in C++, not Python), knowledge construction, and algorithms both on-line or in-person (at a neighborhood faculty or someplace to ask questions). Then I might learn “cracking the coding interview”, do a bunch of Leetcode questions (in Python), work on some small tasks, and apply for software program engineering internships. The greatest query is how lengthy would it not take earlier than getting a suggestion?

I’ve some pals that graduated with CS levels and it nonetheless took them 1 yr to land a tech job. Having a pc science diploma doesn’t essentially persuade employers to give you a place. You should show your self. Working on tasks assist. This means publishing code to Github exhibiting constant commits. The extra you may present curiosity within the area, the extra assured the recruiter or hiring manger might be to put money into you. Because in the end the recruiting course of quantities to threat mitigation. The extra you present, the much less dangerous their choice to make use of you.

The benefit of enrolling in a graduate program and even bootcamp is that you’re surrounded by folks that have the identical goals as you. You can learn the way they pursue these targets, alternate notes, and construct a community. I nonetheless communicate with my former friends. One factor I remorse shouldn’t be benefiting from pals who had been already working in tech. I ought to have reached out extra and maybe requested for an interview. Don’t be prideful. Accept assist when it’s supplied. And whenever you’ve achieved some success, go it ahead. At the top, It takes a village. Very few succeed on their one. You are unlikely to be the exception.

Tech is tough. Imposter syndrome is rampant. Everyone at one level or one other feels the burden of calling themselves an engineer. Just keep in mind that you’re not alone. The path to success is fraught with failure and disappointment. Sometimes I let the concern of failure paralyze me. Deep down I used to be anxious that I’d hand over if I bombed an interview. Maybe I might be so discouraged from the engineer’s suggestions that I might cease attempting. But after every failed interview I realized a lot about myself. I used to be invigorated as a result of I felt nearer to getting a suggestion. After every interview, I started to understand what mattered and targeted my effort.

Don’t hand over.


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