I spent 4 months in a programming mentorship offered by my workplace to get back to programming after 4 years I graduated with a CS degree.

Back in 2014, what I studied in my first programming class was not easy to digest. I would just try enough to pass the courses because I was more interested in the theory. It followed until I graduated because I never actually wrote code for myself for example I wrote a lot of code for my vision class but never took a personal initiative. I did however have a very strong grip on advanced computer science concepts in areas such as computer architecture, systems programming and computer vision. I have an excellent understanding of machine learning and deep learning. I also spent time working with embedded systems and volunteering at a makerspace, teaching Arduino and RPi stuff. I used to teach people older than me.

My first job as a programmer sucked big time. It was a bootstrapped startup whose founder was making big claims to secure funding. I had no direction, mentorship and leadership to validate my programming practices. I burnt out in just 2 months. It was horrible. I experienced the worst physical and emotional pain to date. Additionally, I was gaslighted and told that it is me who is bad at my job not the people working with me. I thought I was a big failure and that I wasn't cut out for software engineering.

I spent the next 6 months recovering from the burn out. I had a condition where the stress and anxiety would cause my neck to deform and some vertebrae were damaged. Nobody could figure out why this was happening. I did find a neurophyscian who helped me out of the mental hell hole I was in and I started making recovery. I had to take a mild anti anxiety for the next 3 years until I went to my current doctor.

I worked as an implementation engineer at a local startup run by a very old engineer. He taught me how to work and carry myself professionally while I learnt very little technically. A year into my job, seeing no growth technically, I decided to make a switch to my favourite local software consultancy. I got the job 4 months prior to my father's death. I joined the company as an implementation analyst and needed some technical experience. It was right up my alley. My parents who saw me at my lowest, struggling with genetic depression and anxiety for the last 6 years, were finally relieved. It was hard for them as I am the only son.

After my father passed away, I was told by his colleagues that he was very happy with me and my sisters. He died a day before I became permanent and landed a huge client. The only regret I have is not driving fast enough to the hospital the night he passed away. Last year, I started seeing a new doctor in hopes of getting rid of the one medicine that I was taking. To my surprise, he saw major problems and prescribed me new medication.

I finally got a diagnosis for my condition after 8 years of struggle. The new doctor told me a few months back that I have Recurrent Depressive Disorder. The most likely cause is my genetics from my father's side as my father recovered from Schizophrenia when I was little. And, now it's been 5 months on the new medication. I can finally relax knowing my condition and work on it with professional help.

After working at my current role for 1 and a half years, my teamlead and HR offered me a 2 month mentorship opportunity to learn programming from scratch in Python and Scrapy from a personal mentor specially assigned to me. I am still in my management focused role but will be spending 4 hours daily of for the mentorship. I feel extremely lucky and grateful for the opportunity. It felt unworldly when I pushed my code to a PR for the very first time and got feedback on it. It is incomparable to anything.

So we had Eid holidays a few months back and because I am not that social, I began going through cs61a from Berkeley and logged into HackerRank after 5 years. The medicines help but I constantly feel this feeling that I am not enough or that I am an imposter even though I was and am always considered a brilliant and intellectual mind by my professors and people around me. I just can't shake the feeling.

Anyway, so now, I have successfully completed 2 months worth of backend training in Django with another awesome mentor at work. I am in absolute love with Django and Python. And, I constantly feel like discussing and sharing about my progress with people. So, if you are still reading, thank you for staying with me.

TLDR: Smart enough for high level computer science concepts in college, did well in theory but never really wrote code without help. Struggled with clinical depression for the past 8 years. Father passed away one day before being permanent at my dream software consultancy and being assigned one of the biggest consultancy. Getting back to programming after 4 years with the help of change in medicine, a formal diagnosis and a technical mentorship.

  • 2
    This was a heartwarming read, I hope you get the very best from now on! You deserve the opportunity.
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  • 1
    Recovery is allways hard work, and here you had a lot of it.

    Congratulations for getting through that and ending up on top :)
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