Pivot to Dev
The Problem Statement
I’ve been a professional video producer and motion graphics designer for 15 years, and I would like to no longer be that.
So many technological leaps have made many of the skills I so carefully developed over the years largely obsolete, at least insofar as most of my prospective clients would need. Expensive cameras have been effectively replaced with the smartphone in your pocket. The era of early web video circa 2008, where companies wanted to invest in video but only in a way that simply emulated television, is long over. Moreover, most of the industry has been taken over, and subsequently killed, by the “pivot to video” fad.
Meanwhile, I’ve been writing code as a very serious hobby for over a decade, and have made some really awesome things, if I don’t say so myself! Honestly I think I enjoy software development more than I ever enjoyed video.
So, why not make a pivot from video to software?
And, since I do have all those video skills and don’t want them to completely go to waste, why not document my journey, live?
And, notably, this all happened during the height of COVID when there really wasn’t anything else to do and all live video production had come to a screeching halt, so it served as the perfect opportunity to put 100% of my focus on the career transition.
Also notably, this was my outlet for the #100daysofcode challenge!
Today’s as good a day as any to declare that I’m kicking off #100DaysOfCode! Day one: dusting off my Motion Title Maker project, which allows video producers to quickly and easily add animated titles to their video projects: https://t.co/2OZiV0ebUh
— Nick Piegari, No Longer Spooky (@nicksmadscience) June 22, 2020
Y’see, live video production used to be my jam, ever since high school (where they had an awesome TV studio that I helped build). I’m burnt out on pre-produced video, but live video is still pretty awesome in my book.
I stream under the banner of Nick’s Mad Science, my channel(s) for DIY electronics, music production, dog training, etc., and most relevant in this case, software development.
In creating the Pivot to Dev show, I pulled out all the metaphorical stops. (And also literal stops, because I’ve recently gotten into playing a virtual pipe organ on stream, in keeping with the mad science brand.) The stream is produced at my workstation, surrounded by a garage-turned-laboratory-slash-video-studio. The lighting, sound, graphics, trailers, etc. are all pro-level, because they were created by me, a video production veteran!
The streams have gone surprisingly well; better than I would have anticipated. Who’d have thought that someone with years of experience in live production would be good at making video that appeals to a highly-in-demand audience?
This has been a surprisingly good way to network with other software developers. I’ve had cool, well-known live-coding streamers stop by and say hello, and occasionally even raid my stream (that is, send all their viewers to my channel when their stream ends).
Over a period of about three months, I built an audience of 300+ viewers!
Everyone’s favorite bit, by far, has been my dog Mouse making a regular appearance on the stream. I’ve got two buttons; one red and one blue. Streamers can donate channel points (which accumulate as you watch the stream) to make either of the buttons play a little tune, which is Mouse’s cue to boop the button with his nose. Streamer protip: always include your pets on stream.
Pivot to Dev has been not only been a good creative outlet and a great way to flex both my video production and software skills, but it’s also proven to be a great way to make very public that I’m looking for a software development job.