I am a 24 yo. female, turning 25 in a couple of weeks. I graduated from a University of California school with a B.S. in Computer Science. I work and live in California, and make a modest software engineer salary of ~$75k a year. I am now debt free and have some savings, a boyfriend, a 1-bedroom apartment with an in-unit washer/dryer, and a 401k. I’ve pretty much made it in life, and I am definitely grateful and aware of how fortunate I am. But here’s the thing– I never wanted to be a programmer.
Actually, I’ve always dreamed of doing something artistic for a career. I drew a lot when I was a kid, worked as a designer in a print shop while in high school, took art classes in high school, and won some (probably arbitrary) arts awards as a kid. My peers commissioned me for all their art + design needs, and always looked forward to my growth in the future.
My parents, however, didn’t take my interests in the arts seriously, and encouraged me to go into a STEM field– thus resulting in where I am today.
While I don’t mind coding– I don’t find it as fulfilling, and I’ve always wondered, “What if I just committed to the arts? What if I just committed to following my bliss?”
If I did commit, (say, to a career in graphic or UI/UX design) I know I would be paid a lot less in general, but I’m not much of a materialistic person. So long as my basic needs are met, ( Housing, safety, healthcare, food, etc. ), I think I would be ok with making just enough money, as long as I will feel happy and satisfied with myself at the end of my life.
So Reddit, here is my dilemma:
Lately I’ve been getting back into drawing and design. I’ve been taking online classes and watching lots of The Futur after work, but I feel that my momentum is too slow this way. I want to dive in and commit to a career switch with everything that I have, while I’m still relatively young, child-free, and mortgage-free.
As a plan of attack, I’ve been looking into taking a UI/UX design bootcamp at bloc.io, getting an associates in Graphic Design at a local community college, splurging on classes at The Futur, hacking together an education by looking up the syllabuses of top tier schools and finding cheaper classes online, building a design portfolio, and then attempting to work my way up at a small design agency.
I don’t want to be a quitter, but I’ve been contemplating quitting my job in order to increase the velocity of my learning. I’m almost 25, and if I don’t take action now, I’m worried that I won’t have this kind of time to do so until much, much later in life. I’ve run some calculations, and if I code or work any job part-time, move in with my boyfriend into a house or apartment with some roommates, and basically reduce my expenses, I should be able to sustain myself while studying design full-time.
So, people of Reddit, do you have any advice for me? What are your thoughts? Should I not quit my day job? How good is my plan of attack? Should I take out a loan and go to grad school? ( An option I considered, but to pay 100k more for school is a painful concept. )
Nobody in my family is in a creative field, so any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!