In my first job out of college I worked at a company called Visible Technologies that is now out of business. The company had a cool product in 2006 they were building for tracking social media sentiment before that was really a thing. The founders need to go to all of their attention to this project.
I worked in their legacy business which was reputation management and SEO for clients. Basically, billionaires (or the assistants to billionaires) would hire us to bury negative articles about them in search results by creating new positive content and doing SEO work to move it up.
I sometimes would question if this was very ethical. I justified it to myself that we were basically just helping people tell their own side of the story.
I received several promotions while I was there. I eventually optimized my job enough to where I could get it done in a half hour a week or less. At first, I spent the rest of my time either trying to come up with ideas to improve the company which were squashed or just reading the news.
I eventually took on a project building a tool that would provide an index for how positive or negative someone’s reputation was across many search keywords and many search engines. The only way to calculate this index is to write a program to do so. I started to try to do so in SQL, and though I loved SQL, I needed a way to show it to managers. so I began to learn how to program an earnest in ASP.net.
I discovered I really loved programming and found it really exciting to be able to work and program things. This led me to continue to expand my skill set, and eventually leave that job to start my own agency building websites for others. The key advantage I have now in my agency is my ability to build very powerful software systems to support the work we do for our clients.