I grew up around tech -- my dad is an IT security consultant, so my academic interests always gravitated toward math and science. Accordingly, I was pre-med at Pepperdine University; however, despite my interest in medicine as a field of study, as graduation approached I found myself becoming increasingly disinterested in pursuing it as a career. Around this time my interest in tech peaked. I became fascinated with Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, and the first code I ever wrote was for cryptocurrency miners. While I could not yet appreciate these elegant lines of code, it was satisfying to engage in this world a little more fully. I began dreaming about a career as a programmer and concurrently regretting my college major. Since then, I have had several diverse work experiences. I quickly excelled in each of them, which illuminated a few key qualities in myself that facilitated these successes. Foremost, I am an extremely quick learner, with an aptness for teaching a newly acquired skill to others. I am an instinctive problem solver, and ancillary to my logical disposition is a refined creativity, which consistently distinguishes my work. I made a resolution this year to find my vocation, and within days I saw an ad for App Academy’s prep course. I viewed this as a singular opportunity to get my foot in the door of the tech industry and quickly applied. This course both imparted the fundamentals to me, and substantiated my notion that programming might be a great fit for me as a career. Subsequently, I enrolled in Thinkful’s full-stack web development program. The next four months flew by, and I cannot believe how much I’ve learned. At the start, I was just trying to soak up all of this new information, but then about halfway through everything clicked. My ‘break’ week, following week eight, was spent coding around the clock -- I built three full-stack apps before classes resumed. From that point on, I coded about twelve hours every day and always had a side project. I became increasingly fulfilled by my work and began experiencing firsthand the old adage, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” My greatest accomplishment was during week thirteen, when I independently built a backgammon game, against my mentor’s advice, who thought it would be out of scope for the five-day project. Not only was this inherently challenging, but I wrote the backend in Python, which I’d never used previously. I vividly remember feeling exceptionally focused and comfortable coding that week. Additionally, my capstone project, “Code Up”, was an extremely rewarding experience. I took the lead on the project since it originated from one of my proposals, serving as the project manager for a team of four. Relative to previous weeks, I coded far less, instead spending most days assisting a teammate with their code. This was a valuable opportunity to exercise my leadership and teaching skills in the context of programming. Also, I recognized that one of my strengths as a programmer is my ability to clearly visualize the big picture of an app from early on, and understand how it will all connect together, even if it’s unclear what the individual pieces will look like just yet. I’m incredibly proud of what we accomplished, as this was far more complex than anything we’d built previously, with extensive features and delicate socket handling. In sum, despite the relatively short timeline of my coding career, I believe that my academic background in the hard-sciences and my other life experiences have been preparing me for this career for some time -- laying out the groundwork on which I was able to quickly develop a formidable generalist programming ability. I absolutely love coding, and it has truly become the primary focus of my time and energy. I am ecstatic about starting a career as a software engineer and continuing to improve my programming skills.