From physics engineering to computer science

TL; DR: Try as many things as possible in your life before you take a final decision for your professional career or labor. Do what your heart says to you.

This is my first time writing a story on medium, I love this website very much. I’ve received a big amount of knowledge from here, so I wanted to start sharing with the world a bit of my knowledge.

At first place take in count that I’m Colombian (a south american country) and we speak spanish, so english is not my native language and I’m not an expert in it’s grammar.

I come from a low-class family, as the 90% of colombian ones or latino ones. My childhood was a very good one, in spite of I live in Medellín and it was the Pablo Escobar era, my parents tried to give me what was in their reach to live a good life. I always wanted (and still want) to be an astronaut or at least, not become in one, but have the chance to travel through the space (maybe Elon Musk will give me that chance, lol) and see the earth our home from another perspective.

Being interested in astromy helped me to research and figure out how the things work, I’ve always had that particularly skill (or gift?), so maybe that’s why programming has been easy to me.

When I finished the 11th grade of secondary in public school I wanted to become a Physicist, there was this math teacher, Francisco that was always giving me advise regarding science, and we spent a lot of time talking about the time, the space, relativity and quantum’s physics. He told me, “man don’t become a Physicist or mathematician, you will have to be a teacher and here in Colombia is not enough for living, try engineering”.

My father and I, had a remarkable different ways of thinking, he was always asking me to become a systems engineer (equivalent to computer science in almost all other countries), I liked it, but I was always trying to do the opposite things he wanted me to do. I love math and physics and also philosophy, my entire life, but I also didn’t want to have a difficult economy to me. I decided to study Physics at Universidad de Antioquia and Physics engineering at Universidad Nacional. After taking the preparation courses I realized that I wasn’t brave enough to study both carriers, so my option was physics engineering at “La nacho”.

National university of Colombia (Medellín) taken from http://conlaorejaroja.com/los-nuevos-duenos-de-la-universidad-nacional-sede-medellin/

I had good times there, I started opening more my mind and wondering more about how the universe works. My poor economy and my family’s low economical resources, forced me to work while studying, but I’ve been working since I was 10, so that wasn’t a big deal to do both at the same time. I became a friend of the physics school director at the university, one day I showed him how a graphic calculator that I owned worked, and how I was programming it to solve differential equations more quickly, so he told that there was an optional subject that I would love to take, basic Java programming, he was the teacher in that subject. Also he gave me my first job as an intern at the physics school to update some kinematics simulations at on the university web page. I fell in love with programming.

I decided to quit studying physics after 6 semesters, and started working at programming instead of starting a computer science related carrier. Why? because I felt it was my favorite labor and still is.

Conclusion:

You don’t know what the future has for you. I didn’t write this because I want you to become a programmer, I did write this because everyday people ask me how did I know that I will become a programmer, and my answer always is: I didn’t know it, it just came to my life in one of it’s hardest times. So if you don’t know yet what do you want to do in the future, stop thinking about it, just start trying things you like and if it’s not what you want stop and try another until you notice what’s the best for you.

In the next story I will write about how I became a senior Javascript programmer and how javascript and programming changed my life.

if you want to contact me I’m at linkedIn or at twitter as @camilomontoyau