I went from a novice to Tech extra before bailing out because of antenna restrictions. When I came back after code requirements were dropped it was easy to come back as an extra because as a degreed and licensed electrical engineer it was a piece of cake. I have always been amazed at the non technical extras. If you really desire a higher license class it is possible if you are a technical person or not. As far as the code requirement goes... it was never anything but an artificial impediment. Anyone holding that up as the "true test" of a ham is using a pretty LOW standard of excellence. If one is really interested in promoting ham radio one should look at antenna restrictions.