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Discussion on: I went from portering in a restaurant to coding in Silicon Valley. Ask me anything.

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shofol profile image
Anower Jahan Shofol

How do you realize that programming is your niche? And, after founding that, how did you plan your career and secured it? How did you get your tech job? How were the interviews with the listed disadvantages?

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Joe Chasinga Ask Me Anything

Hi Anower, that's a great question. The truth is I didn't. I was mesmerized by an interactive graphic I saw and it was written in Processing language. So I start learning Java just like that because I wanted to create something cool.

It had taken years of coding on the side while taking other jobs. When I was in other jobs, I looked for excuse to write code at work. For instance, when I was in architecture, I was exposed to a lot of 3D software. I knew they could be scripted, so I scripted away. Some other time I would write small scripts to do repetitive things at work, like importing images into a powerpoint deck. I never had a career laid out. My goal was always to build something cool and stick to that where ever life took me.

I got my first professional tech job because of my open source prowess. My Github heatmap was filled up every day at that moment and I was maintaining my very own project. My CTO called me and we chatted about what I worked on and just had a great time. After I completed an assignment in a language not specified in the requirement (I insisted on not using the required language because I was weak at it), I flew to California to attend an onsite interview.

I was fortunate because I was very convinced after a few failed interviews in New York City the tech companies there were more "aware" of the disadvantages than they'd like to admit. However, in Silicon Valley (or at least my company), the culture is more open to the outliers. They don't really care who you are, what you have majored, or where you're from. If you're good, they'd like to talk to you.