From Artist to Software Engineer: My Non-Traditional Path to a Tech Career

My journey to becoming a software engineer did not follow the typical path most would expect. But, my background as an artist and creative thinker has been incredibly valuable in my new role.

Some years ago, I was an artist setting out to paint the world with beautiful artwork and create something that might bring value to the world. I also wanted a college education and when my college advisor said I could double major in graphic design with just a few more classes, I made that leap. I enjoyed graphic design and the opportunity to merge creativity with technology.

There was a meandering path of life and career adventures, and while I still use my graphic design knowledge often, I knew I needed a career change. I also knew I needed to be more thoughtful and intentional about such a big shift.

It was 2015 when a lot of this was running through my head and with a 2 year old daughter and a son who had just turned 1, it had been about 2 years since I had worked full time at all. My husband's job allowed me to research and pursue a career change, which was such an awesome blessing.

After taking some personality tests (apparently I am an ENFP campaigner according to, reading many articles and online resources, talking with my good friend with whom I was working to brand his own startup and my cousin who is a Software Architect, and conversations with my husband, I came to the conclusion that working as a Software Engineer would likely be a great fit.

There are a lot of paths one can take to learn how to work as a software engineer, but for me, I learn really well in a structured classroom. I took the opportunity afforded to me (along with more student loans, yay!) and enrolled in the computer science program at Ohio University.

Fast forward three years: past hundreds of hours of studying, writing code, learning from brilliant professors and giving and receiving help from fellow students. With diploma in hand and a job lined up before graduating, I was ready to enter the software engineering world.

That was only the beginning of course. Now the real fun begins - I get to build software and create something that might bring value to the world. As a member of the Software Engineering team at Skiplist, an innovative and growing remote company headquartered in Cleveland. I have the opportunity to build Thoughtful Softwareand I'm grateful that this is where my path has brought me.

Build Thoughtful Software
Stajah Hoeflich
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Stajah Hoeflich