For Dan Sherwood, our Software Architect, the atmosphere of a busy commercial kitchen was far from unfamiliar; as experienced when The One Point participated in the Smile Foundation fundraising event 'Devils Kitchen'. This had after all been exactly the industry he had once trained for during his first experiences in the working world.
Today Dan shares, in his own words, his journey from his former career as a chef to his current role as an invaluable member of our Digital Development team, why he felt he needed to make this transition and how The One Point team offered their support.
From Cooking to Coding
The alliteration is the only thing these two professions have in common with one another, yet I managed to transition from cooking for a living to programming, something which I suppose would make me relatively unique. The difference between the two careers couldn’t be starker.
In order to better illustrate the gulf between the two careers you need only to have a cursory search online for article after article clearly demonstrating on one hand, the usually high ranking in terms of both job satisfaction and salary, of a programmer, and on the other hand the consistently low job satisfaction and wage of a chef.
Coming out of school in 2009 I had little idea about what I really wanted to do, catering I really kind of fell in to out of a lack of any real serious thought about my own future. I ended up studying catering at college, something which, given its more academic setting, gave me the wrong impression about the career I had hastily chosen.
I have always had an interest in technology and computers, something which I was always aware of. Fast forward a couple of years and the kitchen was starting to leave a sour taste. The weeks are long, the days are long, the work is relentless and the rewards virtually non-existent.
It was my experience that working in a kitchen excluded me from maintaining a healthy social life with anyone outside of the catering industry and prevented me from attending most, if not all, of the obvious holidays and events.
Time for Change
As time went on I was slowly becoming increasingly aware I didn’t have the same drive and passion as the rest of my colleagues. The shifts were long gruelling 10 hours + days, constantly slogging it in stifling heat.
Then, one day I stumbled upon a website which had courses on web development aimed complete beginners. This is where the journey really started, at first just testing the waters with a couple of the introductory lessons, and pretty soon I realised, this, this is what I wanted to do.
The feeling of having nothing more than a computer and optionally an internet connection and I could build anything, within the limits of my own skills of course. I went through the rest of the course, bought books, read articles, bought magazines and learnt as much as I could from the resources available to me in my spare time.
I dedicated most of my spare time to teaching myself these new skills and developing my understanding of the industry, its history and everything else in between.
Making the Change
Once I knew what I wanted to do and had a vague idea of how to do it was when the real challenge started. Having no formal education in the field and zero experience I had to really push myself to learn and do as much as possible to boost my changes of landing a successful job, all the while working 50-60 hours weeks in a hot, busy kitchen.
Eventually, my persistence paid off after looking to volunteer at The One Point, they offered to develop and hone my skills, giving me the vital experience and helping me grow into my newly carved out career.
After a year or so of volunteering, I was offered a full-time job, and the feeling was amazing. Throughout my journey, there were several points where I thought I would never be able to break through and make the transition.
The team at The One Point have supported me throughout my career, taking me from the novice level to an eager and more confident programmer. The resources and help I’ve received from them has been invaluable.
The journey was hard and fraught at many times, but it was worth every bit of it, and I realised, given the drive anyone can teach themselves almost anything provided they persevere and give it their all.
I’ve been working at The One Point for just over 2 years now and I can honestly say it has been the best decision I have ever made.
Above Dan (2nd right) returns to the Kitchen to help The One Point at the Devil's Kitchen event.
David Carr, our Senior Software Architect says "It's been a great journey to see Dan Sherwood progress since joining my development team, Dan's work ethic has impressed me by showing a great deal of determination to turn around the direction of his career despite an often chaotic schedule and a commitment to long working hours in the restaurant industry. I Feel proud and privileged to have given him this opportunity and have him as part of my team."