Things have been drastically changing in the Jelinek household. My wife has been in the non-profit/arts industry for the last 15 years. About a month ago (give or take) she experienced an extreme burn out and decided she didn't want to do this anymore. I asked her what she wanted to do and she said, "I have no earthly clue, but I do like crunching numbers and working with data". She had a background in finance so I encouraged her to do something with that, so she decided to get her real estate license and try landing a job in the industry doing analysis for real estate firms. She happens to have a good friend who owns their own firm and they offered her a position once she obtained the license.
She wasn't (and still isn't) completely sure if real estate was her thing, but I went ahead and paid for schooling anyways for her to give it a try. This took some prodding honestly as she was stuck figuring out what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. Being in her thirties she's still young and her currency, was time. As Gary V says, "Try shit". So that's what she's done. She's spent the last 3 weeks cramming real estate laws, rules, and procedures into her head and preparing for the tests and final certification.
A week ago she asked me if I really like programming. I told her, "99% of the days I love it, but like any field there are slumps". I was in the middle of a slump when I told her this (and have since started recovery), but I suggested that she learn a programming language. Her first retort was, "I don't want to build web apps, it seems boring, I want to analyze data". While I'm not a data analyst or data scientist I do know that certain languages (namely Python and R) lended towards that sort of thing, plus the speed at which Python can compute is greater than the language I love the most, which is Ruby. However, my Python is not as strong as Ruby so I suggested she give Ruby a try as an entry point to programming concepts, with the added benefit that the syntax between Ruby and Python are somewhat similar and the learning curve for Python is pretty low once you know Ruby (and vice versa). So she said, "Teach me Ruby!".
I about fell out of my chair when she told me that. I asked if she was sure and she confirmed she wanted to give it a try. So I went on a Udemy spending spree buying her all sorts of Ruby and Python courses so she could follow along. And we also spent the last several nights in bed talking about programming fundamentals and concepts instead of watching 3 hours of Breaking Bad. I explained basic data structures such as arrays and hashes in a way that I knew she would grasp. It seemed to stick with her so far and now she's banging at my door to setup her MacBook to write Ruby code.
As a result, this evening I'm going to cut out of my personal work early and get her setup and do some Ruby with her. I plan to pair program with her using Atom and Teletype since our beloved ScreenHero is a fading memory. I'm really excited that she chose Ruby as her first language and I hope that I can teach her enough to be confident and do her own thing.
I should also note, that this is a significantly drastic change for her as she put in her notice with her employer with a month's notice to give them time to find a replacement for her. Meanwhile she's going to continue to work on the whole real estate thing and learn programming.
While I'm no expert in programming, I'm decent enough that I'm confident I can make her into a developer of some sort. And since her focus is heavily data-driven, this will be a good experience for me learning to analyze big datasets with Ruby and perhaps Python.
With that being said I'm really proud of her for stepping outside of her comfort zone and trying something new. I'll be there to support her every step of the way, and my hopes are that she turns into a mutant rockstar that can out-code me in a few months.