How I became a software developer to continue saving lives

Osman Sağsöz
Osman Sağsöz
-Nov 24, 2022

I am a medical doctor. I’ve been practicing medicine for seven years now. After medical school, I completed my residency in family medicine. I’ve worked at various hospitals and primary care clinics. 

Knowing how the human body works is an amazing privilege. I’ve always liked helping people and connecting with them so this seemed like a good match for me. As a family physician, my main concern has been trying to prevent diseases. Yes, saving a life with CPR is an awesome thing but keeping people healthy and preventing situations that could cause negative outcomes are equally important, and it was always the most fulfilling part of my job. 

Despite all this, as years passed I’ve found myself longing for doing more. I wanted to be a part of something bigger, and do what I did on a bigger scale. 

I always had an interest in the tech world. I had friends working in this area and the things they did on a daily basis always made me excited. I was also following the technical advances in healthcare and was amazed by them. I was dreaming of being part of the teams that make healthcare gadgets or work on large-scale projects that help save the lives of thousands of people. Now, I’m here at Intenseye because of the technology that allows me to save more lives. 

Finally, last year, after the pandemic workload decreased, I had some free time on my hands. I never liked staying still and it was the same way with my job. I always think careers should in fact be fluid rather than stationary. I wanted to learn different things and push my career onto another dimension. It seemed like a perfect time to learn how to code but I had no idea where to start. 

Luckily, I knew someone who was experienced in this area. I contacted my old friend and CEO of Intenseye Sercan Esen about what to do and where to begin. I didn’t know at the time the full scope of possibilities. We had a talk about his experiences, what the future holds in this area and what I could achieve if I applied myself and kept advancing. I can confidently say that Intenseye helped me discover what a big difference I can make in occupational health and safety through developing. Following his recommendation, I joined a front-end bootcamp and it was quite fun and exciting. I wanted to dig deeper and learn more. After seeing my excitement he introduced me to my dear mentor Rodrigo Dall’ Asta Rigo.

Exactly one year ago Rodrigo and I had our first meeting. He mentioned the do’s and don’ts of learning how to code and gave me a roadmap for becoming a front-end developer. 

Here are the 5 steps that I focused on:

1- Starting with the basics 

First, I took introductory courses in computer science, then became acquainted with CLI and as a version control system, GitHub. Most of it didn’t make sense at the time but I tried my hardest to keep going and hoped to understand everything in time. 

2- Making my first webpage – hello world!

HTML and CSS were so cool and fun. The abilities they gave me blew my mind. I followed FrontendMasters courses and Jen Kramer was the best teacher I could hope for in these areas.

3- Javascript: the main part

I followed mainly Wes Bos’ courses, watched lots of tutorials and put in as much practice as I could. My mentor said to me that the most important part of this journey was that I take my time in JavaScript and not rush it. Learn everything fully to better understand the next steps. 

4- Choosing a framework – React, Angular or Vue? 

Moving to the declarative world of frameworks was inevitable. Per my mentor’s recommendation, I chose React. It had the flexibility and also the biggest community, always a nice perk. After seeing my first JSX code, I understood why people were using these frameworks. They made everything easier and more understandable. I watched numerous different courses on React but my favorite one is the Bob Zirolls course. 

5- Adding Redux and TypeScript

As things got more complex, the need for other tools arose. I learned Redux for state management and with everything it does, TypeScript seemed like a must. 

It was quite a challenge at first. Everything was new to me, and learning the terminology alone took a great deal of time. I was fiercely motivated; however, I wasn’t doing great at this time. I started to question myself; was I too old to do this? Did my brain run out of learning powers forever? I thought of quitting a few times because it just seemed to be too difficult. When my faith faltered, it was my will to do more and the reassurances of Rodrigo that renewed my zeal and kept me going. It was then that I realized I needed to change my study style. I was used to studying by reading everything or listening to courses from start to finish but coding required lots of practice and my mentor kept saying that I needed to try, fail, and try again till I succeed.

After embracing this philosophy I made sure to study and practice every day to keep on track. After a number of small exercises, I made my first app as a birthday gift to a friend. It was a simple quiz app and an accompanying photo gallery, and I had lots of fun while making it. I really enjoyed creating something from scratch. The design aspect was incredible and seeing my code work and doing something was the most fulfilling thing I had done in a long time. I wanted to pursue this feeling and move forward on this path.

I was working hard, but when I decided to turn my passion into a full-time job, I wanted to make sure I was doing things right. I took an unpaid leave in May 2022 for six months and committed myself to become a full-time developer. And it was a huge risk; after all, nothing was guaranteed. Looking back I’m extremely happy with that decision.

I took a chance and it paid off: I was able to watch all the courses I wanted, did lots of practice, followed hours-long live coding sessions and learned React, Redux and Typescript during that period. And finally last month Rodrigo said the magic words, that I was ready to begin working as a developer! I thought that Intenseye would be a perfect match for me as they are working towards increasing workplace safety, implementing measures to predict and prevent work-related accidents and injuries, putting workers’ health above all else, and in the end saving lives–not so dissimilar from a physician. All in all, these last couple of months have been the most excruciating and exhilarating period of the entire year!

I’m delighted to say that I’ve made it — mostly thanks to my great mentor Rodrigo to whom I’m forever indebted — and that I’m now a proud member of the Intenseye team, ever so eager to learn more and get better!

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