[July 5, 2019]
Grand world opening of DeskStem.com! The website is a spot for everything related to computers and technology—from discussions to a personal portfolio.
Not everything needs an explanation, let alone oweing folks one. However, some things are better understood when a life decision is fully spelled out to clarify such motive—career switching, in my case, back to computer science and what led to such thing.
I wasn't even 7 years old and already I knew how to use a command-line DOS computer, thanks to my mother, who nearly pursued a career in computer science. Like any other video gaming kid, the DOS computer was another platform for me to play classic computer games. The second computer I used to play computer games on was my father's laptop which his company provided for him. Both computers were IBM, but my dad's laptop computer featured a GUI—graphical user interface—also known as a "desktop." Learning to load the floppy disk and write out the directory on command line, yet also going to "File Manager," and loading the infamous .exe file really stuck with me for a long time. Oddly enough, my parents upgraded by purchasing a Packard Bell desktop computer. Not only did this computer accept floppies, but also CDs! Internet usage didn't become serious until 1999-2000 when our family computer was updated to a Hewlett-Packard (HP) computer.
That HP desktop was also the key ingredient venturing into the world of the Internet, to which I frequented a fan website dedicated to one of my favorite TV game shows The Price Is Right (yeah, I'm a HUGE game show fan). It featured streaming video, via RealPlayer (remember that?), and having hanging around there a lot, I always wondering how to input video to computer. Using what I have, I found a built-in program Windows Movie Maker, and saw that I could compose something with the images of TV shows I downloaded from the internet (no, not those kind of images). Our desktop computer included a microphone and began using that to record music from a stereo system I kept in my room. Thus, I found creating slideshows to be a treat. After enough research, it was 2001 and entering into first-year high school, I figured out that a video capture card was required to record video through the computer. I purchased my very first capture card, the DVC80 by Dazzle packaged with a third-party software MGI VideoWave v4, and played around with video clips from my personal recordings on VHS—Three's Company aired at Nick At Nite, PBA Bowling on FOX and ESPN, and various classic TV game shows formerly aired on Game Show Network ("formerly aired" since GSN doesn't air them anymore). Being wholly injected into video content creation, I completely worked to hone my video editing/composition skills for years, self-studying in various analog and digital formats, terminologies, video editing software and video effects. Noticing my extreme passion for video production, my parents bought my very own desktop computer, a Sony VAIO, and my own video camera, a Panasonic PV-DV103D MiniDV camera (despite the tapeless formats of today, I have a huge respect and admiration for MiniDV tapes). Video production, I felt, was the way to go and fellow classmates saw that passion seep through to the point where it defined my well-being—an identity, and I carried that on for years and years.
Showcasing my love for video production, and mundane work slowly going digital, it made sense to host a website to log my video projects and share my portfolio. I was curious about website building with our HP computer having a built-in software called Trellix, allowing you to create your own website in a flash (think Adobe Dreamweaver). Website creating and managing didn't come through until late 2005, when I hosted a personal blog using the free plan on Tripod. I wrote my very first entry on November 4, 2005. I also hosted a fan website of popular noontime variety show from the Philippines titled Wowowee on Yahoo! Geocities. Visitation and bandwidth grew so high, I eventually started subscribing on a paid plan. Building upon my growing knowledge of HTML and some CSS, I went ahead to launch SHOWSOTROS in 2008. The rest is history.
Fast forward to end of March 2019, and there I was reading, then reviewing, a book on Political Philosophy and watching political commentators express their views and support on where they stand and where they see society fit, along with the on-going issues that almost never get resolved. (If you must know, I touched up on political philosophy to acquire a clearer view where the likelihood of robots, who may be granted rights, stand toward and where.) One video featured one of these commentators at a college campus, where a student asked advice on where to go after graduation. Commentator's response? In short, he said, "Be realistic; Dreams don't pay you." That advice resonated with me, giving Life a chance to upper-cut me in the jaw: What am I doing with my life?
Apparently, all 100% of my video projects have ended on YouTube, and because of the psychological obsession with video views and the urge to get people to subscribe wasn't an effort I was willing to invest my energy in. It's like running on a treadmill expecting I will get from point A to point E. When I found that opportunities continue to show up among jobs relative to computers and technology, I feel that perhaps it's time I realize all the money I spent, the projects I felt were too ambitious to pursue and the heavy competition I had to face were too much. That was when an official news report was posted on the network about my decision to switch and focus on computer technology. As recent as June, a former colleague made a similar announcement, going from bartending to law enforcement.
Whether you read the whole thing or scrolled to the bottom here, if there's anything I learned about career switching, it is to make that decision as soon as you can. Develop skills that are essential to the continuous building of our future. I realize that there's a reason why we grew up pursuing a "dream," as opposed to sticking with available resources that enable you to land a career where opportunity is plentiful. You know how you grew up with people who disliked academic subjects such as Mathematics? If people hate Math so much, isn't there a reason why Math-related jobs pay more? Oh sure, I, too, hate Math like many others, until computer programming subtly made Math come off seemless. Of course, like anything you do, I needed practice, and that I'm doing as I write this.
My advice: Work for the future. Technology continues to fascinate yet evolve at a rapid pace. Know how to problem solve. Develop a second, or third, skill because, like what happened with me, you never know when you find out things aren't going forward, and you may have to reconsider and focus on another line of work—something you're also good at. Money? Sure, careers like this pay a lot, but it's not just the money, but it's the creativity. Like video production, computer science, although in some aspects must comply within a specific structure, allow you to flex your creative muscles. Whether you're building a video game, a flashy CPU, or a software that helps the everyday citizen, free or paid, there's an infinite amount of ideas you can try to create and see in action. If companies/businesses love your idea, they'll hire you for it, or even purchase your product entirely (depending on the circumstances).
In all and complete honesty, while I will forever love the art of Video Production, I must admit: I feel as comfortable as ever. The only pressure I feel is writing a program that doesn't compile and/or work. Besides that, it's been amazing and I never will I feel any stress other than the challenges and problems I face to solve. It feels good to love computers again.
Have you made a career switch to Computer Science? What led you to pursue it? I want to hear/read what you have to say in the comments below!