My Life Before and After Learning Code

My Life Before and After Learning Code

Where I am right now can't be compared to what I was years ago. Ever since I've decided to start learning code and make it the source of my income, my life completely changed—all because of that one decision.

I could have never imagined the life I am living right now. When I look at where I am in life right now, I know I'm close to where I can be, and that's more than knowing what I want to be. The one and the only reason why I achieved all these then unimaginable things are that I started. You can, too.

In this blog post, I will share with you my life before and after learning code. Before becoming a developer and a YouTuber, I was once in a state where I thought this day would never come.

Four years ago, the life before code, my life was a hot mess, a total disaster, wreckage—call it what you want as long as it equates to life in misery. I'm not kidding. I'm telling you everything seems like falling apart; I had to suffer and endure to survive. I was not overdramatic. This is my reality, the life I had before code. Let me narrate to you these terrible experiences and how I overcame these tragic situations.

Before Code

I was suffering from a skin disorder.

Imagine yourself rubbing alcohol to cut skin. It stings, right? That's what I had to bear every day. My body had to feel that 24/7. Before code, I could not afford to go to a dermatologist for my skin disorder. I also had no insurance because I was over 23 years old; I am no longer part of my dad's health insurance. So I had to live through it. I simply had no choice. I wake up each morning feeling the burns, hoping that one day it would end.

My family lost a business.

I went from the next owner of my family's companies into becoming an employee of Bloomingdale's because my family's businesses spontaneously fell down like dominoes. My family and I had struggled to make ends meet. My stepdad, who used to make and own banks, ended up owning and making nothing. Time passed by, he was imprisoned. On the other hand, I had to ask people for help, but everyone has limits, so they grew tired of me. Also, others are innately empathetic and evil. They looked down on me, which was truly pitiful. This led me to my years of prolonged suffering.

People looked down on me.

I grew up in the ghetto and barely graduated high school. Of course, most people's impression of me is not unsurprisingly awful. They saw me as a trouble maker. In fact, homeowners kick me out of their rental places simply because of their impression.
What's worse is that my family also looked down on me. I can remember when I told them that I had to get a car because it will help me in my job. They told me, "Chris, you're stupid. You can't even afford a car, so why would you buy one?" Afterward, they kicked me out of the house. For three months, I was homeless, but I had a car, so I lived in it.

I endured a job with a poor salary.

Before learning code, I was a number one sales guy at this particular store, then moved to another company for a doubled salary. Unfortunately, I got laid off for "not doing well enough."

I was a nanny, an overworked nanny. I spent so many hours on the job without great compensation. I was working 60 hours a week, but my earnings do not match my hard work. It was merely enough. I was trying to pull myself from the pit using a thin rope. Because I didn't have a high-paying job, I had to be thrifty to survive daily.

I remember eating cup noodles almost every day because it only costs about 32 cents or tacos for 39 cents at the grocery during that time. I also countered my allergy to sausages because I had nothing else to eat. I did my very best to be thrifty, from avoiding breakfasts to not eating at all.

It sucks yet humbling to remember that I even had to divide one cup of noodles for lunch and dinner. I also could not afford to pay my phone bills, and I pay my rent late.

My life before becoming a developer was really at rock bottom.

I was working on different jobs like a machine. I was not happy, and I was not well-compensated, but I had no choice, as I've already said a couple of times. I even tried going to school again to become an electrical engineer and a nurse (like most Filipinos), but I was not meant for it. I'm not joking. I really couldn't do school; I suck at it, and I know in myself that I would fail. So why would I waste time on it? My dad did not also recommend going to college. He said I only need the street smarts to make it. He was entirely right.

After Code

So I tried on different things until I discovered "learning code." As easy as it sounds, I started out by getting inspiration from videos of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and other famous people out there who made it out from their pitiful state. They say that learning code does not require academic smartness; anyone could do it. Surprisingly, you don't need a degree to do it.

So I decided to take the risk. I tried it out, and now look where it got me. I became a developer and a YouTuber.Still, before getting into this current life I'm living right now, which is much better than I used to be, I had to walk baby steps. From there, I slowly learned how to walk by myself, only to realize I can already run.

I am working as a developer, a YouTuber, and a Small-Business Owner.

Before becoming a known developer in the industry, I worked on three different developer jobs while making videos on YouTube. Funny thing, I remembered giving up becoming a YouTuber because my channel was not growing. Now, it exponentially gains a lot of views every day.

My job now as a developer produces an income that will surely go up from time to time. In my previous job, I was earning $120,000 as a mid-level developer in Silicon Valley. What's more, I get plenty of offers from various companies. Not to brag, but I can reject them because I have the options. In fact, Apple interviewed me, but I declined the offer. If I plan to resign from a company, multiple job offerings are waiting for me, meaning I could never be unemployed.

I maximized the available opportunities and established a clothing brand called developer branded. This clothing line is for developers out there.

From being in that merciful state I was in years ago, I hold so many options now that allows me to choose where I want to work and get the treatment I deserve.

I have my own house now.

I would also like to add that I was living in a closet-sized bedroom. It was during my two years as a developer. It's hard to imagine how to fit in there, so picture out Harry Potter's room under the stairs. My room back then was the size of one to two motorcycles. It also had spiders, and it was hot, truly like a closet that has not been opened for years.

Despite working as a developer already, I had to go from these sacrifices to finally own my own house. I am currently living in a two-story house in Las Vegas with four bedrooms, three baths, and a nice backyard. Before that, I was also able to live in a massive-size bedroom for $1400. A year after that, I moved to Irvine, California, which costs $2300. See the growth there? It was indeed humbling.

I have insurance, and I can go to the dermatologist.

Getting insurance is the first thing I ensured when I became a developer. This is probably the best highlight of my growth. I can now go to a dermatologist for my skin disorder. I no longer have to endure the stinginess of the burns. To add, I have insurance, so I don't need to worry much about anything.

My life is so secured right now to the point where I can share it with you. While I am aware that I am not the best developer out there, I know my strength: I don't give up immediately, and I have the mindset to continue no matter the difficulties. This is just my four-year journey. Perhaps this is just the beginning of my life as a more established developer.

From becoming the person who endured so much in life to survive, I am now experiencing the life I know I deserve. To those who are planning to code, keep in mind that I didn't just learn to code. I decided to put be future-forward. Because I believe in myself, my capabilities, and my potentials, I achieved this life I'm living. I hope you can somewhat relate to some of my hardships and the successes I've shared. May it inspire you to become the best version of yourself, a developer with a great mindset and outlook in life. One decision made me this far. You have to do something to improve and succeed. Take the leap now. Who knows what you will become, 10-20 years from now?

Chris Sean
Developer Relations Engineer | New Relic

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