A new journey begins…

Technology has always captivated me. As a young kid, I used to take apart electronic toys and with a pair of wires would connect the toy’s motor to a D battery to get it running. I created a couple of interesting makeshift toys this way. I’ve always had this intrinsic curiosity to find out how things actually work and have never been satisfied with knowing that something “just works” - I need to know why it works.

At the onset of my teenage years there was a particular technology that started grabbing my attention more than the others – software! As a 13-year-old, I remember begging my mom to buy me a book on HTML until she finally gave in and bought it for my birthday. Soon after, I started building a personal website on Geocities that was eerily similar to what we would now consider a social media profile page and another website using Angelfire for a club at school in which I participated. Around this time, I also started experimenting with Microsoft FrontPage and Dreamweaver.

Making a positive impact, or at least trying to, has always been important to me. When I entered Cornell University, I was torn between studying Economics or Computer Science. However, shortly after beginning my freshman year, I decided to major in Economics because I believed that it would allow me to better understand why inequality exists. At the time, I felt that Economics was a better fit for the type of impact that I wanted to make with my life; therefore, I pursued the subject with the intentions of learning how economies worked with the hopes of gaining insight into ways of eradicating poverty.

After my freshman and sophomore years, I participated in an internship with Breakthrough Collaborative in the Bay Area that had me teaching middle school students math (pre-Algebra and Algebra 1). This experience, combined with my experience of growing up in under-resourced communities, made me realize that I wanted to be on the ground making a positive contribution. Consequently over the past few years, after graduating college, I have been doing just the type of work that I intended – working in low-income communities running educational programs for young people – with City Year and subsequently NFTE. I feel fortunate that I have been able to do this kind of work with great organizations working alongside some incredible people. However, I knew that one-day would come when I would decide to take a different approach to making a positive impact. That day is here.

As time has elapsed, my interest in software development has crept back in as I’ve come to the realization that technology can be a powerful conduit to making large-scale impact. Software reaches the globe. That is extremely powerful. A few months back, I started teaching myself how to code in my spare time using many of the resources that can be found online. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve learned up to this point so much that it has left me no doubt that I need to “go big or go home.” And “go big” I am. Over the past few weeks I’ve been transitioning out of my current organization so that I can fully commit all of my time to becoming a software developer. I aspire to build software platforms that will make people’s lives better. Even if it’s just a tiny bit better.

Which leads me to today. I am now officially a full-time student. This might seems like a sudden decision. But trust me, it is not. I’ve been thinking of pursuing this passion of mine for a while now and have been planning for this very moment for a few months. Currently, I am enrolled in certificate courses for Android App Development and Web Development at NYU. Thank you AmeriCorps! I am also using a ton of online resources to teach myself. My goal is to be employed as a software developer in 6-9 months. That is how long I am giving myself. Making this career shift, which in the surface can appear drastic, might seem risky. Have no doubt. I am going to work for this like there is no tomorrow!

Over the next few months I will be documenting my experience of becoming a software developer by posting here some of the cool stuff that I am learning. Hopefully this documentation will give rise to content that some will find informative.