GTGeorge Tsiftsis

Developer by choice or by coincidence ?

Published 15 November 2022

TÏ=wo months of procrastination had passed, but today, my first article finally sees the light of day. The feeling of pride that washed over me was undeniable, a triumphant surge of emotions I had battled against. But why did I wait so long? Was I afraid I didn't have anything to say or did I have too much to share, ironically keeping me silent? This story unravels the journey of how one decision, one phone call, transformed my life forever.

Let's go back to February 2019 when my story began. I was pursuing my master's in sports marketing when my phone suddenly rang. It was a friend from Greece, asking if he could stay at my place in London for a mini-trip. Little did I know that this meet-up would be a turning point in my life. He mentioned having another college friend in London, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to catch up with both of them at once.

Thanos and I headed out to a pub, where I had the chance to meet his friend Nikos, an iOS developer. As we chatted about his job, I found myself intrigued, even though half of what he said seemed incomprehensible to me. Despite that, I genuinely enjoyed listening to him for two reasons. First, Nikos was just in his 20s and already earning a handsome salary, which amazed me. Second, he was Thanos's best friend, making it all the more interesting.

As the rain poured outside, we decided to head back to my place to continue our hangout. To my surprise, this day would turn out to be incredibly memorable. I couldn't resist asking Nikos about his work as an iOS developer, and he responded with a confident nod, saying, "I'll show you."

He swiftly installed Xcode, a toolset for creating apps, and began typing away like a maniac for the next twenty minutes. While the lines of code he wrote seemed like a foreign language to me, I patiently waited for his explanation. Finally, he revealed a mini-app he had created – a simple math quiz that asked users basic subtraction questions.

I was utterly confused by the intricacies of the code, yet strangely, I felt an invigorating sense of being alive. Though grappling with these complex scenarios made me feel a bit inadequate, I was determined to make sense of it all. Nikos had opened a door to a world I had never ventured into, and I knew right then that I wanted to explore this exciting realm of development further.

After completing my master's, I returned home only to find the sports industry in shambles due to the pandemic. The job market was unforgiving, and even my British friends struggled to secure positions. Frustration and pessimism clouded my mind as I faced a staggering 92 rejections, recorded meticulously in an Excel sheet.

Nevertheles, amid this gloom, I made the best decision of my life. I began searching for job opportunities where I could demonstrate my skills without needing a degree. My first attempt was to learn Swift, the coding language that Nick had been working with. Yet, I found myself frustrated, encountering errors in every line of code, and eventually giving up within the first week. The lack of coding fundamentals left me feeling overwhelmed and discouraged – a feeling I'm sure many of you can relate to. At one point, I even yelled, "This is not for me."

Undeterred, I considered another option – learning Python. I remembered several colleagues during my master's talking about Python and data analysis as the 'future.' So, I decided to enroll in some Udemy courses and dedicated myself to self-study. Two months in, I discovered that while I found it fascinating, it wasn't something I truly loved doing. Demonstrating proficiency in data analysis, especially without a background in math or computer science, proved challenging.

My third option was to learn web development. Colt Steele's tutorial ignited a sense of steady progress in my learning journey. As I sought ways to practice my skills in real-world scenarios, I realized I needed a project to fuel my motivation. Deep down, I yearned to show my parents the determination they had supported both mentally and financially throughout the years.

A decade ago, I competed as a Tae-kwon-do athlete, proudly representing one of Greece's greatest teams, Makedoniki Dinami. This renowned sports club boasts impressive World, European, and national distinctions, though oddly, it lacked an Olympic medal. Surprisingly, they never had a website, relying solely on word-of-mouth marketing for their success. My coach, also the owner of M.D., nurtured my dreams of becoming a champion since I was eight, teaching me valuable lessons in perception that I'll delve into in a future article. 

I had a hunch that creating a website for the sports club was the right move. I saw an opportunity to combine my passion with a chance to get paid for something I loved. It felt like a perfect way to honor the person who had nurtured me both as a human and an athlete. Although it took me around six months to complete the website, the fascinating thing about development is that I could finish it in just two weeks if I were to do it now.

The journey wasn't easy. Mistakes were inevitable, but they paved the way for growth. People questioned my decision to switch paths after earning two degrees, and at first, I didn't have a clear answer. However, reflecting on my studies, I realized they didn't provide the challenges I craved. Listening to my friend discuss engineering made me understand my true passion lay in development.

At this point in my life, I do not know if I am a developer by coincidence or by choice. It seems something more than just a string of random coincidences. We all make choices affected by arbirtary events like the decision of Thanos's London trip.

The world is comprised of an uncountable number of particles interacting with each other. This article does not dig deeper into fate thus, I will not expand my opinion at least for now. My current approach involves observing actions and ideas that resonate with me. When I find something that sparks passion within, I feel no barriers or limitations. I encourage anyone in a similar position to give it a try as well. Life is an ever-evolving journey, and I'm excited to see where this path as a developer takes me.

The only thing I am sure of is that I would never be able to become grateful and passionate about my life. Embracing this newfound passion has opened doors I never thought possible, and I can't wait to see what the future holds as I continue to grow and evolve in this exciting field.