Why I Chose General Assembly and Where I Want to Go | by Dimitrios Vlahos | Oct, 2021


Dimitrios Vlahos

When I wanted to shake up my career and decided that I would do that by re-learning computer science, I thought I could do it on my own. I soon came to realize that after my day-job and trying to balance everything else in my personal life, I didn’t the time or motivation to make the time to progress my learning. Sure, I got a couple lessons done, finished up a whole class on how Web Development works, only for the information not to stick when I didn’t practice in my free-time or have any ideas for websites that I wanted to try. I felt my efforts slipping away the harder I tried to grip down onto them, and the more desperate I became for some form of structure in my day-to-day.

What held me up for so long in starting a boot camp of any kind was the cost. Even if it wasn’t as expensive as college, I couldn’t afford what was being asked of me. Inevitably, I needed help from my parents in order to finance something like this. I didn’t want to ask, I wanted it to be the last thing I do while trying to figure it all out, hoping that maybe I can continue self-taught ways indefinitely somehow. But, in the end, with pressure from my fiancé and others, I worked with my parents to start the program I’m in now.

I chose GA specifically because of the time frames it offered. I wanted to start in data science because I spent so much time learning web development and not building a passion for it that I figured I wouldn’t want to do it professionally. Maybe it was time to switch up the field I was learning. GA offered a Flex class right after my work days would end, and given I didn’t have anything happening Saturday’s, taking up that whole day for class wasn’t so bad.

I grew up in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, a small town that relies mostly on tourism. My parents owned a popular pizza joint until 2019 where it burned down in a fire during a hurricane. They were quick to build up again and start again with a family restaurant serving tropical dishes and pizza still. I grew up not having a ton of interests that could be transferred over to sustainable jobs. I took a big interest in acting while I was in high school and thought that was going to be where I was going in life. I applied for colleges with that in mind, but when I missed the deadline for the acting school, I just applied regularly and was a blank slate all over again. I didn’t know what I wanted to major in until my second year of college, when I took up interest in film. For the rest of the college years I fluttered in-between classes, passively learning and working with other students on projects that I thought I had a passion for, but nothing clicked, and I was left with a Bachelors.

Coming out of college I tried looking for jobs in place for from home. I specifically was looking at Austin, Texas because of a popular internet production company, Rooster Teeth, was stationed out here. My goal was to be a part of the company at some point, so I wanted to establish a foothold in the job market before shooting for something that big in my mind. A couple years pass and I work for company called Accenture, part of there job force that they give out to their clients to help with grunt work, similar work to data entry. The pay was okay but it wasn’t enough to support a family and be the only one making anything. So, with what little free-time I had, I took up a photography position with Texas Photo Photography where I mainly took photos of school children for their picture days.

In the end, the work wasn’t worth the payout, and it almost made me glad that COVID came around and put things on pause for a while. My photography job was put on pause for a few months before trying to get me back, but my fiancé had just undergone surgery so I didn’t want to leave her to fend for herself and also have the possibility of bringing home a virus that would make things 10x worse for her. Accenture allowed us to work from home for the time being and that was a blessing to my work-life balance after trying to juggle two jobs.

After a year of that, things became stagnant. Money was slowly running out, we didn’t have enough to move, nor was my fiancé in any shape to pack and move things, so we were essentially trapped. This is what finally led me to pursue a different avenue of income and work.

I chose to study data after talking to a friend of mine who is also in the field of computer science. After asking him what his thoughts were on what field was looking for the most people to work, he mentioned that data science was something people were always looking to fill positions for and the pay was one the best in the computer science industry. I figured with my already base knowledge of code and past work with data through Accenture, it would be a good fit for me.

With these new skills that I learn in my data science course I hope to be a viable candidate for any position that is looking to hire for such. In order to live comfortable in this country, you need to have a decent paying job that gives you enough flexibility in your personal life to handle family members and loved ones with care. I don’t want to relax when the time I’m 50, I want that be earlier. I want the chance to enjoy my time here on Earth without the consent stress of loosing everything I’ve been given.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

If you feel like any of this resonates with you, feel free to follow, I’ll be posting updates to this blog every once in a while based on what my class needs from me.

Ciao for now.


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