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Why did you decide to study Software Engineering?

・3 min read

Confucius once said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I’m not sure if Confucius was 100% right about that, but at least he was on the right track.

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A couple of years ago I was packing all my life in a few boxes and moving from my hometown San Juan, Puerto Rico to Seattle, WA. If you are anything like me you know that packing is not just putting everything inside boxes. Packing is about deciding what is important and what’s not. As you get older you learn quickly that just a few little things are really important. To decide what things are vital (especially paperwork) you need to check everything one by one, reading and throwing away things that are just “trash” and keeping the important stuff. While I was working on that I found one of my high school projects. I was not sure why 17 years old me thought this project was worth it enough to keep it.

The title of my project was: “How do you see yourself in 10 years?”. I have to be honest, I was a little bit scared to look inside that binder. I was scared because I didn’t want to disappoint my younger self. When I started reading I realized that my life was not so far from what I was expecting but something was not quite right. My career goal was clearly to become a Web Developer and Software Engineer but at the moment I was working as a Customer Service Representative, Graphic Designer, and Photographer. My high school project went to the “trash pile”. It was no longer important. Sometimes life just happens and you need to live with that.

I remember back in school, Math was always my favorite subject. I could spend hours and hours solving math problems and that made me happy. That feeling of satisfaction after finding the right formula never gets old. The idea of creating something from scratch always fascinated me. I was always looking for tutorials online about HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The more I learned the more difficult it was for me to stop thinking about a new career but as an adult sometimes you just need to do what you need to do even if that means working on something you don't enjoy (or so I thought). Until one day, something happened.

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On September 18, 2017 Hurricane Maria landfall in Puerto Rico. This hurricane is regarded as the worst natural disaster in recorded history to affect PR. It was scary. I remember using an Application to listen to one of the Puerto Rico radio stations while everything was happening. We lost communication with the island for several hours, almost a full day. After the hurricane happened, people (mostly from the city) started updating their status through Facebook. Cell phone reception was just awful and it was impossible to keep a normal phone conversation. It was so emotional to read the messages of friends asking if anyone hear from their families, but at the same time I was grateful. Grateful for platforms like the radio station App and Facebook in a moment like this.

That’s what I decide to study Software Engineering. Not just because it’s fun and I’m truly passionate about it. It's because of all of the possibilities. I can’t wait to bring other people's ideas to life. I can’t wait to bring MY IDEAS to life. It’s not just to choose a job you love. You have to work hard, you can’t give up and you need to keep going no matter what. It took a couple of years to plan for this moment (and a really stubborn, supporting, and wonderful husband who won't let me give up on my dream) but here I am.

Why did I decide to study Software Engineering? Because like Walt Disney said: “We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Thank you for reading! :)

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