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

My background as an artist and creative thinker has been incredibly valuable in my new role as a software engineer.

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