Route Setter to Software Engineer

Since its inception, this website has reflected the different phases of my life. Initially, it was a professional platform for my photography work. Later, it evolved into a climbing blog, reflecting my lifelong passion and career as a route setter. Most recently, the site underwent a significant transformation when I reconstructed it from scratch using Ruby on Rails. This transformation mirrors my own professional journey, from route setting to software engineering.

In line with this evolution, I'm launching a new section. Here, I will share my experiences in software engineering, beginning with the story of my career transition.

My professional journey has been diverse, typically revolving around my love for the outdoors. I earning a degree in environmental science and ecology because of an aspiration to become an ecologist. I was driven by a desire to understand and care for our world. Post-graduation, I worked as a restoration ecologist for a year. As I migrated west from Indiana, my path veered towards route setting, almost by accident, thanks to industry connections and my own climbing passion. This journey led me from Indianapolis to Denver and eventually, Seattle.

In 2015, I found myself setting routes at the Seattle Bouldering Project while venturing into outdoor photography. I achieved recognition when National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy, and Backpacker published my photos. However, I discovered photography was not the career I resonated with. Instead, my passion for route setting flourished. I fully committed to this path, joining the management team at the Bouldering Project, and contributing to the advancement of Seattle's route setting program.

From 2019 to 2022, I managed SBP Fremont's route setting program. This role solidified my love for creating climbs and working with a team of creatives. However, I yearned for a new challenge and a career offering more growth opportunities, with the potential for environmental impact.

Fueled by my interest in programming and software design, and recognizing their relevance in today's world, I chose to pursue a post-baccalaureate degree in Computer Science. I was intrigued by the field's potential to address wide-ranging challenges from energy and ecology to climate change.

In route setting, each new climb is a unique puzzle, requiring a meticulous balance of physical and mental challenges for climbers. At first glance, route setting might seem unrelated to software engineering. However, they share a core connection – the necessity for envisioning something yet to be built and the ability to problem-solve, skills fundamental to software engineering.

Juggling my full-time role at SBP, I completed a Computer Science program at Seattle University. This paved the way for a software engineering role at Kithward, a technology startup specializing in the independent living senior living marketplace. Unfortunately, after a year, financial constraints led to the end of my Kithward journey. I've since been exploring fresh opportunities within the software engineering sphere.

Reflecting on my professional path, from environmental science to route setting to software engineering, I realize each shift has been a crucial part of my development. Despite their apparent differences, each field embodies a shared essence – the art of building, problem-solving, and creativity.

My journey from route setting to software engineering has been unexpected yet gratifying. As I continue on this path, I am enthusiastic about harnessing my skills to make a positive difference in the world.