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I have a big announcement to make today. As I am writing this post, I am also preparing for one of the biggest changes in my life: a new career in tech!
More specifically, I have been offered a software engineer apprenticeship position at a big tech company on the west coast. And yes, I am moving!
I gave my two week notice, and I am currently packing to move across the country for a new career, something I have been preparing for for the past year.
A year ago
During this time last year, I was facing a potential layoff where I was told I would have about 3-6 months at the current job. As it turns out, I still have the job and was recently informed that I would get a bonus and a raise should I stay at the company this year.
Over the past year, I have been teaching myself how to code using resources such as Codecademy, Coursera, Udemy, and especially Leetcode late at night after the kids go to bed, early in the morning before my family gets up, and on the weekends.
I got really stressed out and exhausted with sleep deprivation. But in the end, it’s all worth it. I ended up getting a Software Engineer Apprentice offer from a big tech company on the west coast, a Jr. Web Developer offer from a company in DC, and a Business Analyst offer from a tech consulting firm in DC in less than a year after I wrote my first “Hello World!” program.
This decision hasn’t been easy for me. Mr. FAF will stay in DC to continue his full-time job and take care of our two kids by himself.
The training program is four months, and I am not sure where I will be afterwards, so we don’t want to move our whole family and belongings to the west coast. After the four months, I might be able to stay on the west coast for longer or I might move back to DC.
After I got the offer, we have been scrambling to find nannies, babysitters, and helpers. Our in-laws wanted to come to help us, but they are stuck in China because of the corona virus situation.
We will need to pay quite a bit for such help. But Mr. FAF said that this is an investment and a sacrifice we all need to make for a better future for ourselves and our family. Plus, this is like a dream come true for me. It’s a once in a life time opportunity, so I just need to take it.
Mr. FAF is SUPER supportive of my move. I have been asking him every day if he’s sure, and that if he tells me not to go, I will stay in DC with him and the kids. But his answer has always been a resounding Yes!
Yes, I should accept the new position to break into tech. Yes, I should move to the west coast for this amazing training opportunity. And yes, he will be able to handle the two kids by himself.
As for me, I am also super excited for this new chapter of my life. This is something I never ever would have thought would be possible even right before I interviewed with the company (whiteboarding was part of the process). But as it turns out, hard work and determination (and Leetcoding) pays off!
If we can overcome this challenge (me in a new field and Mr. FAF taking care of kids by himself), we will have a much better future for us, our kids, our parents, and our whole extended family since we will have more resources (aka income) to take care of them and to assist them when they are in need.
Part of me feels guilty for leaving my husband and kids behind to move across the country. And frankly, I am also afraid of being judged by other for being an irresponsible mom and wife.
But Mr. FAF assured me that I have his approval and support, and that this decision is for us and us only, rather than for others who want to judge. That makes me feel better, and I feel more ready to start the new training program.
Increase in income
For the new position, my hourly rate will increase by almost 50%. I don’t want to think too much about the future, but I do hope that after the apprenticeship, I will be able to find a full-time position at the sponsoring company or at another tech company that pays a competitive rate.
As I was going through the separation documents at my current job, I realized how many benefits I was going to leave behind for the apprenticeship: retirement, pretax medical, transit, and dependent care funds, and generous vacation and sick leave.
At the new job, I will be able to have a better pay with some paid time off and health care, but no retirement contribution from the employer or pretax funds. However, I need to look forward and take risks for a big change. Being comfortable and stable is good, but it won’t guarantee happiness.
Living alone on the west coast
As I am picturing my life without my husband and kids, it reminds me of those days when I was in grad school living by myself trying to save money.
Although I will have a better pay, I find myself moving back into the saving mode where I’ve been thinking about how to save on rent, transportation, food and daily expenses. Here’s my plan for the move:
— Housing: I have put a security deposit on a place that costs $1,450/mo for rent and utilities (i.e. water, electricity, internet) for one bedroom in a house with a family. It’s within walking distance from the company, so I will be able to save on transportation and commute time. Mr. FAF said I should spend the time studying and working instead of sitting on the bus everyday trying to save money.
— Transportation: Hopefully $0 unless I go out with other people in the program.
— Food: The company doesn’t provide free food. But they have cafeterias with discounted prices, so I might check that out. I will also bring with me oatmeal and bread in case I can’t buy food for the first few days. And yes, I will also bring a mini rice cooker, a pot, a pan, and some bowls to cook super simple and inexpensive food if I have time. Ideally, I would like to spend $300/mo or less on food, but we’ll see.
— Clothes: $0. I plan to just wear the clothes that I have and won’t go crazy shopping to save time and money.
Overall, the money won’t be as tight as when I was in grad school. But I don’t see any reason to splurge. In a way, I am glad I went through those tough (and broke) times to cherish what I currently have no matter how little it is.
During the training program, I might not have time to update you on a regular basis. But I will try to publish a post every once in a while. After all, the blog is like my journal where I can connect with you guys and with myself.
And lastly, I hope this post will inspire some of you to take the leap into coding if you’ve been thinking about it for a while. Getting a developer job without a degree or work experience is possible. I’ve done it, and I’m sure you can too!