The Journey So Far…

Harry Darwin
4 min readOct 25, 2020

Bare with me while I hop around small parts of my life thus far while I try to paint my picture…

If you had asked me even 6 months ago if I would be pursuing a career in web development ever, I would have said something like, “Probably not.” Not that I hated the idea of it, but more so so that I hadn’t considered such a radical change from where I was at. In fact, I had dabbled in coding before; at my own pace, through mediums like Code Academy and Udemy, where you work at your own pace which was sometimes fast and sometimes less so.

I have more or less worked at my own pace my entire life. And though that may sound like a negative thing, for a long time it wasn’t. I have been able to leverage myself into many positions over my career that brought me a sense of fulfilment and allowed me to learn as I went, while enjoying incredible experiences. I have been in food and beverage for the last 10 years and more recently dabbled in retail operations for Toronto start up. I was comfortable with my career path (as much as anyone in there 20’s who has really no clue about what’s going on, or what the point to it is, or where they want to be in 10 to 15 to 20 years).

In the early days I would say I was more than comfortable. I was thrilled to be able to travel for work opening restaurants for an employer that became somewhat of a mentor for me. Not only that but I got to do a lot of it with one of my best friends.

Liam (left) and myself (right) inside the first ever Saudi Arabian (Riyadh) location of Big Smoke Burger — taking artsy photos in the mirrored ceiling.

This, was to me, was a beautiful start to a beautiful journey.

I moved on from Big Smoke in 2016 to pursue other roles in the restaurant industry and by 2017 was opening District Eatery at King and John street right here in Toronto. How excited I was at 25 years old to be opening and Managing a full service, trendy restaurant with an excellent cocktail program along with great, clean food.

Fast forward - as time pushed forward at a rate that always seems quicker than the year before, I grew tired of daily restaurant operations and always had a lingering thought about how I would transfer my skills to another industry — a daunting task for someone who didn’t finish University. I went out of my way considerably to work for Toronto start-up Inkbox where I met amazing people and was given another very exciting opportunity but that to, became repetitive and less and less challenging. I left in February 2020.

I had been working part-time at a friends bar (I do enjoy creating and mixing cocktails and providing unique experiences for people) the whole time I worked at Inkbox and continued to after while looking for my next full-time roll. Then Covid-19 started shutting down everything in March, including my job search.

With ample motivation and little direction I completed a Scrum Master course and certificate, learned the coding language SQL and then went of to a class and certificate as a green belt in Lean Six Sigma (Process Improvement). I could do all of this online from home while trying to broaden my skillset and see what else might be out there for someone like me. I like numbers, I like to build things from scratch or improve upon existing things, whether they be processes or operations in general.

After SQL I figured, why not try some more code — I enjoyed this one but realized I had no idea how to apply it without learning about the other building blocks that create web applications. I picked up another course from Udemy on HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It was an excellent introduction, but unfortunately, nothing more.

In speaking with a good friend of mine, one who had previously pushed coding on me as he has been doing it for 10 years after having gone to university for it. He again mentioned Hacker You (now Juno College) and I decided to look into it. Adam has always been a source of inspiration, especially when it comes to development and despite our areas of knowledge being so spread apart, we always seemed to be on the same wavelength and could talk about anything.

I started with Juno College learning HTML and CSS and then JavaScript in September of 2020.

Since, I have been accepted and have started the boot camp (I am a week in now and as such am required to make a blog post — This blog post). Though the path I am now on is still as daunting as ever, I have discovered something that I didn’t really know existed 6 months ago. I get to create, I get to improve and I get to learn and apply my brain in a new way that I truly enjoy. It is frightening to me that a job in front-end development can be outsourced and there are no shortage of people with the skills I am learning. I simply wont be the best. So once again, it is up to me and all of us for that matter to decide how to use this experience and whatever comes next to separate ourselves from the pack — or not.

The journey so far has been full of opportunity and surprises both bad and good and I have realized how quickly things can change. That being said I will be using this along with other mediums to shares some of these changes and adventures as they happen. And to go out on a good note or a “call to action” as they say any good blog should do…

Whatever it is that you’re doing, it doesn’t have to be forever — it is however, up to you to find out what else there may be our there for you.



Harry Darwin

Restaurant/Retail operations specialist turned web developer, here to share about the trials of life and coding.