Growing up, I was always interested in computers and content creation. I learned video editing at a young age and created YouTube videos with wacky special effects. I had even made a website for my YouTube channel using a website drag and drop editor when I was in 5th grade! Creating videos and sharing content excited me! I learned everything online by searching, reading, and watching videos.
My next big involvement with technology was simply playing video games with friends! I was fortunate to have a Xbox 360 that allowed me to play online with my friends and family. To make things more fun, I started to learn about modding games and accounts. For modding, I had to install special software on my computer and hook it in into the Xbox 360. This allowed me to share special game modes and tricks with my friends! From there, I got familiar with different websites for sharing video games content and I started publishing video game guides. This was all fun for me, but looking back I realize how fortunate I was to be building my computing skills from a very young age.
During high school, I spent a lot of time pondering what I would major in during college. After much research, I figured I would go into medical school, law school, or engineering. I took a volunteering position at a doctor’s office where I would help with clerical work, so I could learn what it’s like to be a doctor. The experience opened my eyes and I found I was not particularly drawn to working as a medical professional.
Next, given my experiences with computers, I decided to try programming by taking AP Computer Science. I sucked at first and figured I hated it. I struggled through the class disappointed that computer science or programming wasn’t my thing. Almost a year passes and I figure I’ll go into law school eventually.
Sitting in Spanish class, my teacher Mrs. Cruz accuses me of using Google Translate on my homework assignment and threatens to fail me in front of everyone. I let out an “OH NO!” in a sarcastic tone, which garners laughs from my friends and the rest of the class. This sparked an idea in me that I should create a mobile application for my friends and I to relive this hilarious moment. The Oh No Button was born. Since I knew basic Java from my previous computer science course and I was aware that Android developers use Java, I set out to create my first Android application. Within a week and many, many tutorials later, I was able to get my first Android application published to the Google Play Store! All my friends at school downloaded the Oh No Button and we’d just joke around with it. I started getting even more downloads from the store listing itself!
Once I started development on my personal projects, I began to love programming! I went on to develop many more small apps for fun throughout high school, ranging from games, utilities, soundboards, face swapping, and productivity. As I became more skilled, my focus shifted towards problem solving. I began my biggest project at the time working on digitizing my productivity system, heavily inspired by Cal Newport’s books. This was my A to B productivity project that acted as a daily planner and goal tracker. After launching the project and driving traffic via reddit, I was able to get my first couple hundred users! At this point, I began to feel I was truly making a positive impact, no matter how small.
From there, I began to learn about web development and created a website for debate club, where I was President during my senior year. At the time, learning Android development and web development was a huge thrill for me because it gave me a foundation for building anything my imagination would allow!
Since the beginning, I’ve loved to create and share. As my focus shifted towards problem solving, software allowed me the leverage to scale my solutions infinitely. After my senior year, I was sure I wanted to major in computer science and pursue software engineering. I’m grateful to have had a supportive family through that time and I’m fortunate Mrs. Cruz threatened to fail me; otherwise, I might not be pursuing my passions today!
- Grew up heavily using technology for creative purposes.
- Tried programming in a computer science course, but hated it.
- Spanish teacher threatens to fail me. Results in me developing the Oh No Button app. I start to love programming.
- Leads to the development of many more Android apps and learning web development.
- The experience makes me sure of my decision to pursue software engineering.