May 5, 2022

How do I know what career I want?

A picture of Dom.
A picture of me looking happy and reflective.

I have been told that I am lucky I love software. However, many do not realise that I have invested much time and energy to feel these emotions. Software has been a growing passion of mine but the love did not start grand. I happened to program for the first time in a year 12 subject. They pushed the students to use a basic website-building program and I hated it, so I found an alternative by programming the website from scratch. The school subject was based on design skills and I left with the skill of basic programming - an unintended benefit. Did I know I wanted to program for my career? No… but I did know how cool it was to solve problems with code.

I chose to study a Bachelor of Software Engineering and thought I would just give it a go. I enjoyed the concepts with each new course I studied and completed my degree. However, I could have easily changed or left if I felt no enjoyment for the content.

We are pushed at a young age to choose a career path based on what we may excel in or where the money is. I also felt pressure to choose a career path based on my ATAR (final score of year 12 grades) as if it was currency. For example, if I scored an 85/99.95, I would feel pressure looking at university courses that I had no interest in but felt compelled to apply just because I could. I look back at this time fondly and smile as it was shrouded with panic for no good reason. Even throughout university I had tunnel vision for the highest grades and would temporarily lose the main reasons for being there.

It has made me reflect over all these years and helped me understand what I truly want out of my career.

  • I want my career to never be based on the score I get on a test or the grades I get for a course.
  • I want my career to never be solely based on the amount of money I make. However, there is a minimum amount needed to support a specific lifestyle. Therefore I will choose the path that both supports my lifestyle and passion.
  • I want my career to serve the public and contribute to the world.
  • I want my career to never suck so much that I hate Mondays.
  • I want my career to never make me miss unnecessary amounts of time with my family.
  • I want my career to healthily challenge me mentally.
  • I want to be proud to say aloud what I do for my career.
  • I want to not be defined by my career. I am Dom, a son, a brother, a partner, a friend and most importantly a good laugh! I am not just a software engineer.

Right now I do have all these things with my career in software, but software is just the current catalyst in my future career and is always subject to change.

I must end by saying I am privileged to have the support and love of my family. It has given me a lot of choices that others may not similarly have. Thank you mum and dad, you have given me a platform I wish to use as a stepping stone to my future. Thank you for giving me choices.