From Coffee to Coding Apprentice

For the past 15 years, I’ve been immersed in the coffee scene. Leaping into the dark and scary waters of the unknown (aka starting a small business) and hoping and praying I didn’t sink. And, thank goodness, I didn’t.

Fast forward to today, I’ve taken another leap into some unchartered territory and it’s just as exciting, scary, and mysterious as my other crazy adventure. I decided to learn to code.

For someone who isn’t much of a risk taker, and likes the comfort of stability and process, it might seem strange that I would want to dare myself, yet again, to take on a life-altering challenge like this. Up until 2018, I ate/drank/breathed speciality coffee and running a business–and there’s no doubt that will remain a lifelong passion of mine. So, to essentially hit the reset button at this stage in my career and start down a completely different path, was no easy decision.

But, I’m also a forever student at the core, always interested in learning new things and adding to my repertoire of interests/hobbies/skills. When my intrigue for coding turned from hobby to possible career path, I decided to enroll in an immersive bootcamp–General Assembly. And from there, when I started to see parallels in the worlds of coffee and coding, I knew I was on to something I’d enjoy learning.

To really love and appreciate how coffee can be so dang good, you have to trace it back to where the coffee beans originated, then understand and respect the journey that it travels to get all the way from the farm to your cup (and ultimately your tastebuds)! It’s a collaborative process (and sometimes learning process) from beginning to end and I imagine as much can be said about the software development process.

Getting into the coffee business in 2003, knowing just enough to make somewhat tolerable coffee, I discovered early on that I had no idea what I was doing. And that’s pretty much how I felt about my first weeks of learning to code. But like anything that you are passionate about, the more you work at it (repetition, repetition, repetition!), the more muscle memory you build and the more it gets embedded into your brain.

  • With coffee: It was super exciting to peel back layers and uncover so much narrative on origins, processing, and flavor complexity! There was a close-knit speciality coffee community of farmers, roasters, shop owners and baristas–eager to share knowledge on growing, roasting and brewing techniques. And celebrating tiny achievements, like the slight tweak of a grinder setting to produce rich shots of espresso, were common among coffee nerds. We had our own little open-sourced eco-system of coffee “how to’s” so easily available.
  • With software development: Same thing, it’s super apparent that developers have a similar ethos on sharing knowledge and information, and hey, collaboration! Discovering easily accessible tutorials and libraries of code, and engaging in meetups where coders just want to code together, makes the process really exciting and encouraging.

As a newly minted Apprentice Software Engineer at Tyrannosaurus Tech, I approach my journey with an open mind, taking cues from my days as a business owner and coffee enthusiast: Stay curious, always be eager to learn, stay engaged in the community, and the more you practice the better you become at your craft. I have solid mentors and peers here at Tyrannosaurus Tech. So this, along with encouragement from family and friends makes the experience all the more worthwhile.

Lately, when Diane isn’t coding, she likes to make art with her daughters, cook with her hubby, swim with the dolphins and dabble in macramè.

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