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Pete Sanchez

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since Jul 20, 2012
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Recent posts by Pete Sanchez

Thanks again for the advice. In addition to your points, I've discovered I really like Udacity's courses, which are all in Python, so that pretty much settles it.
8 years ago
Thanks for the wealth of advice. I will be looking at Python/Django, Ruby/Rails, and PHP closely as options. I already feel pretty comfortable with Python, but PHP seems like it is the most easily ported everywhere, as well as having the largest developer base and giving me the most career options should I start looking for other jobs. And from conversations with friends it seems like Ruby and PHP should not be too tough to pick up coming from Python. Thanks for the suggestion of O'Reilly courses. I will give them a shot. I have a feeling that if/when I do a second startup the tech will be the easy part. It's just a matter of getting there first!

As for deployment, I am definitely looking at cloud services like Amazon and Rackspace... possibly Bitnami for a Python implementation. I'm still trying to figure out whether it makes sense to do something cheap like Dreamhost to get a proof of concept up and running and then deal with porting when we get a bit of money in. That's what several of my professional programmer friends have suggested.

I'll have to keep sorting out the day job issues. Right now the job is 60 hours a week and the IP situation is murky if I start coding ("inventing") before departing. This isn't a particularly great situation. I'm pretty tempted to go after contract work (that should pay equally with less/more flexible hours) to pay the bills instead. I think I have a number of backups lined up if it doesn't work out. And finally, I will definitely look into the masters in web development. I'd probably apply later this fall depending on how things are coming along and what specific skills I need filled. Thanks, and I'll keep you all posted.

8 years ago
Hi, everyone. I'm looking at making a career change and trying to figure out the best way to go about it. Right now I'm a postdoc in a life sciences field. I've done a half dozen projects in Python and Matlab for my work over the last 5 years or so (small scripts up to a 1000+ line program with a WXPython GUI), and I really enjoyed it each time. I've completely lost my passion for the bulk of my other bio work, and I desperately want to get out of academia and start building marketable skills and contacts. I have a idea for a web-based startup that I think would provide major time and cost savings to my field, as well as several other verticals. I've done the market research to feel pretty comfortable that it looks promising. (I have a few other ideas that look promising, out of dozens I've generated, behind that.)

I guess the question is how to get there from here. Learning the business side seems more straightforward. I have a decent number of contacts in the software industry and related businesses in SF from college and grad school. I nearly majored in economics in college, and I've always read publications like BusinessWeek and The Economist for fun. I'm growing comfortable with the business side of things after doing a lot of reading, market/competition research, funding research etc., but I don't have practical experience. There are several mini-MBA courses I can target *if I move*, and I'd see myself as focusing primarily on product and business development long term.

I'm less comfortable with the programming side of things. Hopefully I could find a technical cofounder while or after building a working prototype, but I feel like I need significantly more coding ability to be fully useful in a startup. At this point I don't know Javascript, HTML/CSS, SQL, or any other relevant languages (although Javascript looks pretty straightforward coming from Python). I'm learning web architecture from scratch, starting yesterday.

My current job eats 60+ hours a week, no programming on the horizon other than a small Python script I might do for my current project in a few weeks. I think I can get a remote contract specialist writing job that would pay about the same for half the hours and let me move to SF and work on my project more, basically treating the next year as a web design/startup internship. However, if my startups didn't pan out, I would have a good portfolio piece or two, but I don't have a great sense how that would be looked at by industry HR and/or how easy it would be to network into consulting gigs. If I leave academia there's basically no way back in; publication gaps = career death. I do have other backups, such as management consulting (yes, my academic background would make me competitive), law school, or med school. But I'd still have to explain a couple years of trying startups and failing on my resume.

I'm still trying to figure out if there's a better way to do this. If there were some sort of *credible*, intensive 1-2 year program for someone in my position that would let me build my project on the side and give me other coding career options if I failed, it would be a perfect fit. But I'm not sure that program exists.
8 years ago