Sammy Dowds.

Laid Off

I switched careers from a career in industrial robotics to software engineering in 2020. On reflecting over the last 6 years I am extremely proud of them. I have gone from manufacturing floors across North America, to a cubicle in Iowa, to a WeWork in the center of downtown Chicago, and now to a humble home-office in Edmond, OK.

My skillset grew from Solidworks, mechanical design, integration of large industrial equipment, coordination of large teams, 80% travel, flow analysis through factories to writing API endpoints, CRON jobs, Queue consumers, Database tables, entire webservers serving web pages, and how to optimize and build frontend applications.

What is Next?

I love building things. I want to continue building my skill of writing entire systems that fulfill the needs of users.

What have I learned?

Create Balance

Yes, its tempting to pour your passion into something. However, without proper gaurd rails you will find yourself burnt out. Over the last six years I cant say confidentally that I have created a healthy, balanced daily routine - and the impact of that has been negative. My health (mental and physical) took a pretty big toll, and I am feeling that even more as I cross the threshold from 20 to 30.

So my practical advice: workout 30 mins a day, make your own food, and stop going to bed after 10pm. I think that is the simplest advice I would offer. Beyond that it would be super subjective and I am not Tony Robbins or a believer in self-help books.


Another thing I have learned is that a job should not be your identity, although you should be passionate about your craft. Do not tie "who you are" with "what you do". But, I think you should tie "who you are" with "how you do" what you do. Hence, be kind and try to do the highest quality job you can.

To Stay or Not To Stay

Lastly, weigh the paycheck vs opportunity cost when you have skills that are in high demand. It might be worth it to stay where you are at and learn new things internally at the company you are at - but always be analyzing or prepared for new opportunies.

My Technical Skills Developed at Zumper

I have been somewhat of a "pure" fullstack. I primarily focused on frontend when I initially started, but requested I work across the entire stack more (Django, python workers, node, etc) as time went on.

I had projects ranging from queue consumers, new tables, new API endpoints to re-usable React components, redux state, feature development, and accessiblity improvements.

Some things I intend on improving before my next job include: advanced typescript concepts, system architecture, common patterns, and playing around with new languages and frameworks for the backend and frontend.


Build your own narrative. Looking forward to 2024 and new opportunities!