How I got into software engineering

January 31, 2023

It all started around when my dad brought home a Lenovo IdeaPad K1 tablet and a used ThinkPad T500. I fell in love with the mobile game Minecraft: Pocket Edition (MC:PE). My obsession with the game resulted in me creating a Twitter account to tweet at an MC:PE developer.

Through Twitter, Google+, Minecraft Forum, and elsewhere, I discovered graphic design, Linux distros, mechanical keyboards, and custom Android ROMs. After installing Xubuntu on my T500 and a custom ROM on my K1, these devices became way more customizable and performant (I could finally run actual Minecraft on my PC). I realized that I loved tinkering with software.

I probably started “real coding” around 2013-2014. I took classes in high school such as AP Computer Science, and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend some summer camps. My most relevant experience came from a summer program at WPI. There, I worked on an Android app that allowed users to take pictures of and identify bumblebees (crowdsourcing/citizen science), which was then used to study pollinator decline. I think the “code” I wrote was almost all XML (no actual business logic) because I was converting the app to be “Material Design,” but it was a great experience nonetheless. I also got to build the website, which somehow still exists today. This is where I fell in love with building frontends.

At Cornell, I studied computer science, so the path is pretty boring from there. I continued working on Android apps and picked up modern web development (Vue, then React, and now [insert whatever is sexy in 2022]). I interned at student “startups,” Qualtrics, and Robinhood.

Currently, I work full-time at Robinhood, where I make pretty screens and buttons.