Why I want to attend Holberton School

Throughout my life I’ve been fascinated with two things: golf and computers.

I started competing in golf tournaments when I was 8 years old. After winning my first tournament, I became hooked. It was also around this time that I had access to my first computer. I remember my older sister making me a Yahoo email account and thinking it was magic that she could send me a message and I would receive it almost immediately.

When I graduated high school, I had to decide what I wanted to do. Coming from a place where people go into construction or retail, I had never met anyone who made a career out of computers. It had never occurred to me that it was an option, so I decided to continue my career in the golf industry.

I was excited to share what I had learned over the years and I gave lessons to aspiring golfers, young and old. I loved helping people, I loved the community, and loved being surrounded by people who shared my passion. I also picked up a job at Golfsmith where I managed operations of the store and also lead the custom fitting team.

While I was at Golfsmith, I met someone who was a computer programmer. He told me about this place called Silicon Valley where people got paid to learn and code and solve complex problems on computers. I remember being so excited that I went home and spent all night looking up resources to learn on my own.

I started on freecodecamp.com. I completed the HTML and CSS portion. I was gifted a Head First Javascript book, which I read from cover to cover.

The more time I spent learning, the more I felt like I had discovered something that I loved as much as the game of golf. Golf and coding are similar in that with both, there are no shortcuts. You have you be consistent and persistent to get better. They’re both challenging and there are multiple ways to get to a solution. In golf, you have an array of clubs that you can use to take a shot. In order to succeed, you have to practice and learn the intricacies of each club and know when to use them. I feel that this also applies to computers; there are so many languages and ways to get to a solution but you need to practice and learn the ins and outs of each one to get to a solution.

One weekend I attended a family getaway to Joshua Tree, where I met a family friend who was a software engineer and a recent graduate of the Hackbright Academy. It was exciting to be around someone who was interested in this thing I had been exploring for the past few months and I took this opportunity to absorb as much as I could. I told her that I was teaching myself to code and expressed my frustrations with learning on my own. I told her that the hardest part about learning on your own in an environment with little resources is that it often feels like you’re learning in a black hole. If I have a question, I have to search online and often times am faced with a very technical answer that I don’t understand. If I don’t understand it, I don’t have anyone there to explain it a different way. It’s hard not having face-to-face time with someone, and it’s hard not having a community of people around me. She told me about Holberton School. I read up on what Holberton was about and felt like I found my new home; a place where I could grow and thrive.

In October of 2016, Golfsmith was bought out by an outside company and I was faced with a hard decision. While my location was chosen to stay open and I was offered the opportunity to continue working there, I decided to end my career in golf, pack up my stuff, leave my comfy life behind, take the little savings that I had, move in with my sister in San Francisco, and chase my dream.

This leads me to where I am today — answering the question of why I want to attend Holberton School. I want to attend Holberton School because I want to be part of a community of like-minded men and women who share similar goals and are as driven and as passionate as I am about using technology to solve complex problems and build things. I want to be able to ask questions, I want to be challenged, I want to grow, and I want to help diversify what it means to be a software engineer. Most importantly, I want to be a software engineer because I want to use technology to make the world a better and more connected place.

In the future, I hope to take what I learn and share it with kids who live in areas where there is little opportunity and exposure to technology and show them that there are limitless opportunities. Technology is an option for everyone and together, we can create entire worlds where the only limitations are that of our own imaginations.

Like what you read? Give Daniel Ojeda a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.