This article was submitted to Ergo by Shashwat Ashiya, a student of the 2017-2022 Batch at the Gujarat National Law University.
Before you begin reading this article, I’d like to put it out there that I’m not dropping out nor am I advocating (pardon the pun) others to drop out of law school and follow their passion. After reading this article if you think I’m just a benumbed misanthrope who’s ranting about his own personal failures and missed opportunities, there’s a possibility that you’re right.
What’s really crazy is the fact that if two years ago you told me that I would be writing an article on dropping out of law school to code, I would totally not think you’re insane. I knew this was a possibility and saw this coming. Before I delve into the exit strategy, a little about me-
I’ve always been into computers. I planned on pursuing computer science engineering after getting out of high school, but I’m glad I did not. I’ll come back to it later. Back in 10th grade, I met this amazing guy named Chris Sweis who introduced me to mobile marketing, how I met him is a story for another day. After shadowing him for about a year he ended up hiring me as an account manager for his company named JunoWallet, JunoWallet, an app which rewarded users with virtual currency for performing certain tasks ranging from downloading apps to doing surveys with which they could purchase certain gift cards such as iTunes, PlayStation Network etc. During my time at JunoWallet, I became good friends with Jae Kim, the senior iOS developer of the company and found out that developing apps is actually quite fun and not as difficult as one might think. Soon enough, JunoWallet went bankrupt and I ended up working for several other marketing firms.
When Apple released its new programming language ‘Swift 2’ back in 2015 I saw the opportunity, bought a MacBook Pro with all the money I had made from my various mobile marketing jobs. This was one of my proudest moments- that, and paying for my own Law School tuition. Long story short, I started learning Swift online from various sources such as Udemy, YouTube etc. and became quite proficient at iOS development.
The reason I did not go for computer science engineering after getting out of high school was because I never wanted to pursue it as a career, it was always like a hobby for me and I wanted it to remain that way. Besides, I think majoring in computer science is a total waste unless you’re doing it from a tier 1 university (IITs and some NITs) I could always accomplish more on my own than any tier 3 college professor could ever teach me. Nothing against them, I just believe you can’t really be ‘taught’ programming. All it takes is pure logic and hours of practice.
Coming to the exit strategy. This isn’t a detailed how-to tutorial, this is just how I would approach it if I were to drop out:
Step 1: The beauty of computer science is that NO one cares whether you have a degree, all they care about is whether you can provide them with the desired output. Hence, start by getting really comfortable with whichever native language your environment deals with, in my case, it’ll be Swift 4 for iOS development. Just buy a course off Udemy, go through the fundamentals in case you plan on applying for jobs.
Step 2: Build a portfolio. A place where you can showcase all the apps or projects that you’ve made/worked on. Here’s a good example(https://shashwatashiya.github.io/) I only make applications that I think people would enjoy on the app store. I’m currently working on a curation app. A portfolio serves multiple purposes, not only does it give you credibility for your skills, it also serves as a potential resume that you can showcase to employers. I would recommend having at least two applications submitted to the App store before you think of going professional. Two fully integrated applications where you’re pulling an API and working with multiple frameworks.
Step 3: Make sure you have an online presence. For me, it’s LinkedIn(linkedin.com/in/shashwatashiya)and Github. I’m also working on YouTube currently. If you don’t know what LinkedIn is, look into it. Because if you want any career, especially in the Tech industry, it’s a good idea to have LinkedIn. GitHub is where you push all of your code to, now in some of the applications, you may not want to show all of your code and GitHub does a pretty good job of hiding the stuff you don’t want to show via the Git ignore folder. If you want to apply for junior iOS dev. jobs, having a GitHub account is quite necessary as the companies usually like to see what you’re capable of and how your code base looks like.
Step 4: Apply for junior iOS Dev positions on LinkedIn, if you get hired. Drop out of Law School. Or just stay in Law School, sign up on freelance websites and do a bit of freelance work.
The reason why I joined Law School in the first place was because I was/still am interested in Tech Laws and I see great potential in avenues where law and technology meet. Technology and software are gradually changing the way legal service is provided and the future for legal tech companies seems bright. As of now, I don’t plan on dropping out, I like it here at GNLU. I get plenty of time to work on my own projects and the peer group is not bad, which is all I care about. Although law school isn’t as intellectually challenging and the ultimate meritocracy as I thought it would be, I have no regrets and neither should you.
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