Connor Sabatka’s interests range widely, encompassing everything from marketing and design to science and technology. Like a lot of people with diverse interests and talents, choosing a career path was hard for Connor. But a pivotal conversation with a friend in software engineering convinced him to try programming. He chose Interface for the in-person learning experience that gave him the support and assistance he needed to fully grasp the at-times perplexing material. Eventually, everything clicked.
What made you want to go to Interface?
My journey towards Interface began when I realized that I had more talent to give and I wanted to unlock potential career paths. Picking a career was hard because I have a lot of different skills and interests: teaching, sales, communications, science, statistics, marketing, design, and technology. Seeking some direction, I reached out to my friend, who is a software engineer in Omaha. He told me about his work over beer and pizza, and I was very intrigued. After our conversation, I started reading up on ways to learn code, but there were so many options! After a lot of reflection, I knew that I would benefit best from an in-person experience, because the ability to ask questions and work through the problems together was crucial for my understanding. Interface was clearly the best fit.
How was your experience in the Foundations of Web Development class?
I loved my Foundations class. I laugh when I reflect on my learning experience because I struggled a lot in the beginning, but my teacher did not give up on me and he continued to challenge me. He was also willing to communicate on Saturdays, answer my questions, give me resources, and ultimately help me get unstuck. In my experience, learning to code is similar to how I learned chemistry. I would stare at the solutions, read them over, try to make sense of everything by reading what each thing did out loud. But it took a long time before it finally made sense. Once I understood Flexbox, everything clicked; I was accomplishing tasks in thirty minutes that previously took me hours. The feeling of having a tough concept finally click is exhilarating.
What was hardest about it?
How did Interface affect your life and career?
This is actually a funny question for me. I am a quick learner and I also love to ask tons of questions. I thought that I was going to jump right into a Web Developer or Application Engineer position, but my favorite phrase is “the more I learn, the more I realize that I have so much more to learn.” As much as I love building websites, I also realize that I thrive in a more communicative role, and there are so many paths that can be taken with technical skills. I was able to do a developer internship with my company where we used back-end technologies and we learned React, but I was not confident that Application Engineering was the ideal path for my skills. I continued learning and speaking with experts in this field who have similar interests and skills as myself. Recently, I have been doing a lot of research on UX Design and am interested in working in Product. I also have adopted the nickname “IT Connor” on my team as I help everyone with whatever technical problems they have. Interface has developed my technical skills, which has given me confidence in exploring and pursuing more skills and interests. Coding isn’t an end in itself, it trains your brain to think logically, gives you fantastic problem solving skills, and develops your resourcefulness. Even if I don’t actually code professionally, I know that these technical skills will benefit me and everyone around me in whatever career I’m in.
What are you doing now? Do you enjoy it?
I’m back in Sales for now but I have picked up more responsibilities in terms of technical support on my team. I also have used my technical knowledge to explain to our customers how our platform and company shines above all. I love my team and my company, but my managers know that my current position isn’t the final position, and they are working with me to put me in the right seat. I realize that while discovering and pursuing a new field, it is wise to be patient and realize that my career isn’t just about the next step. I’m currently working with my managers now and they are helping me discover what the next best step should be, especially at my current stage of discovery.
What advice do you have for someone thinking about making the change to a career in technology?
Coding professionally is not the only end to learning code. Learning to code gives you skills that will translate in any field, whether you’re simply using a complex software, communicating your technical product to customers or teammates, or even designing what the technology should do next. Learning to code also trains your brain to think logically, gives you fantastic problem solving skills, and develops your resourcefulness. You may not code a single line professionally, but having those technical skills show that you are talented, you have a diverse set of skills, and you bring a different perspective to whatever team you work with.