How Steve Jobs taught me to be a Software Engineer.

This will not be another “I love Steve Jobs” article. This is about how I transformed myself from an Electrical Engineer to Software Engineer by learning from Steve Jobs.

I still remember the evening of 6th October 2011. I came home from college (It was my third year in college), all tired, I walked up to my room with a fresh cup of tea my mother poured me. I turned on my PC, logged into facebook, and was browsing through newsfeed, suddenly I saw a post which I didn’t knew at the time, that it would change my life forever. It was Mark Zuckerberg’s status update:

Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.

After reading Mark’s post I became numb. I was unable to scroll down anymore. I started googling everything in regards with Steve’s death. I was already an avid follower of Steve and I felt guilty that I came to know about this tragic event via facebook. An hour passed by, and still I was unable to recover from this news. Suddenly my mother came up to my room, she saw that my cup of tea was still full, she scolded me that why I still haven’t finished my tea, I told her “Steve Jobs died.”, she replied “So what?”. I knew that I will be not able to explain her my connection with Steve, so I said “Sorry!” and drank the cold tea.

That day I remembered these lines, quoted by Steve himself:

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

I was already a fan of Steve’s Ideology, and his way of doing things, but that day I felt more connected with him. I was hungry to learn more about him. I started my research and downloaded each of the keynotes he delivered till date. But the most inspirational thing I found was his “Stanford Commencement Speech”. That speech changed my life in ways I can’t explain, I felt like it was exactly what I needed at the time. I was moved.

In the beginning of speech, Steve said following lines:

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

After reading above lines, I felt like I was exactly in his shoes. I started thinking that shall I also drop out of college, two years has already passed by, and I hadn’t even learned a dime useful thing in college. Even though the thought of it was very tempting, no college, no studies, just me and my computer. But then I thought that if my father found out that Steve taught me this then he would, like many other caring father, would create an elite army of valiant knights to turn around heaven or hell and find out where Steve is, to make him ask me personally to join college again. So dropping out of college was out of To-Do list.

I was so inspired by the speech, that it became my “Bhagavad Gita”. I memorized each and every line of speech. Steve’s quotes became my “Hanuman Chalisa”. I started thinking of Steve as my mentor, like “Guru Dronacharya” was for “Ekalavya”. I never met him, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn from him.

I realized that I was more attracted towards computers, and I knew that I would be doing injustice with myself if I pursued my career in Electrical field. To be very precise, following are the lines which gave me courage to defy my degree, and follow my intuition:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

By the end of fourth year, I made up my mind that I will pursue my career in computer stream (it was still undecided that whether it would be hardware/software, I just loved messing around with computers), but I still haven’t had the courage to tell this to my father (he wanted for me to have a government job). I used to sit in Electrical campus interviews, and probably I was the only one who always came out happy from interview room, even though the result was “rejected”.

Later, I did convinced my father that I am not meant to be an Electrical Engineer, and that I would not be happy even if I secured a most precious government job in the biggest power station. He agreed and gave me a green signal, he just wanted me to be happy.

All this would not have happened, if I would have not been mentored by Steve. In the end, I would like to quote the most inspirational shloka from Steve’s Bhagavad Gita:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.