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Gratitude, a good place to start. My background in brief. Coding: My career shift.  Request for advice.

2thanks looking puzzled.
Thank you, Daily Kos community. In this crazy world, you keep me sane and informed, and you allow me to support like-minded people. Thank you, members of House of LIGHTS, Black Kos, Motor City Kossacks, Support the Dream Defenders, Obamacare Saves Lives, Courtesy Kos, New Diarists, and my other groups. Thank you, Sara R and Ann, for calling in a Community Quilt for me. I am extremely grateful to my wife for her laughter, luminous spirit, generosity, creativity, and patience. Thank you, all.

My Background in Brief
If you have read Sara R's recent Community Quilt diary for me, you would have learned a few details about me being a 24/7 caregiver to my wife. After graduating from University of Michigan, I started working in surgery, eventually as a surgical assistant, and then I switched to medical transcription, which allowed me to work at home and take care of my wife. When I started in medical transcription I was earning enough to cover our bills and a little extra, and the work was enjoyable enough that I could reach a zen-like state. However, with the advent of voice recognition, medical transcription morphed into medical text editing. Now I am expected to produce more work for less money with ever-increasing demands for perfection (Think of Lucy and Ethel on the production line). My work has become a burden that no longer sustains me, either as a person or a provider, and I need to make a change.

In a comment in Sara's March 31 quilt diary for me, I mentioned that my older sister had recently passed away. My sister left me a bequest which I am treating as a scholarship. My sister's gift will allow me to take some time to retrain, so I can pursue a career that nourishes and enlivens me, provides real support for my wife’s health needs while working only 40 hours per week (not 60+), and banish the continuing feeling that we are plunging off a financial plank.

Coding: My Career Shift
As a medical text editor, the only joy that remains in my work comes from the coding I do for myself to increase my productivity. I use word-expansion programs like Shorthand and Instant Text. I also use a program called AutoHotkey with which I write programs using basic coding steps such as if statements, loops, status tests, reading files, parsing variables, manipulating text, and driving Windows programs with software-generated screen clicks. I love the creativity of devising an elegant but simple solution to a difficult puzzle. For me, coding is as joyful as playing Bridge.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average coder earned $74,000 in 2012. This would be a significant salary upgrade for me, and a great starting point on the road to a prosperous future.

What kind of programming am I interested in?
I want to learn the programming skills that will put me in high demand and enable me to get a high-paying position. I would prefer to work in a field that enables me to have a positive impact on lives and health. I want my work to serve the greater good. I would enjoy finding a job in an industry that is ecological and progressive in nature, like renewable energy, wind or solar. I like the idea that my work might help to minimize the climate crisis or serve some other high purpose.

Because of my wife’s needs, I would like to be able to work at home. I also prefer employment as opposed to contract labor. I am neither good at nor interested in managing a business, and I have been burned before by having to pay the burdensome self-employment tax. I am self-taught as a basic computer programmer, intelligent, highly motivated, and a very quick learner. I know there are many free courses available online. (I am currently studying the language Ruby online at RubyMonk.) What I don’t know is which of those courses will put me in the greatest demand in the least amount of time, and enable me to “write my own ticket.”

In short, I want to follow a course of online study that will enable me to be a highly-skilled and in-demand coder. My fantasy is that someone reading this diary will contact me with a great, high-paying, socially-responsible, work-at-home job offer that includes on-the-job training. I’ll settle for some expert advice and world-class networking.

Please Advise Me.
What programs should I learn?
What languages are most powerful/in demand?
What languages would give me the most flexibility?
What should I learn first?
What types of coding skills are people looking for?
What types of opportunities are there to work from home?
Once I have these skills, what are the best ways to find work?

Please feel free to contact me by kosmail or at 2thanks (dot) dkos (at) gmail (dot) com.

6:54 PM PT: More thanks from 2thanks: Made the Rec List! Thanks everybody! I am back from the local NN14 committee meeting in downtown Detroit, and I am getting good help in the comments.

Originally posted to Support the Dream Defenders on Sat May 17, 2014 at 01:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech, New Diarists, Cranky Users, Motor City Kossacks, Kossacks helping each other, Barriers and Bridges, Support the Dream Defenders, House of LIGHTS, Personal Storytellers, and Firearms Law and Policy.

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