Lasting Change: An Android Developer Story

“Last year I said I wanted to make a change. Tonight, I’m standing on stage at one of the biggest tech giants of the world.”
C4Q Access Code: Android Demo Day @ Google NYC - 3/22/2017 (link to video here)

Those were the first words I spoke when I presented my first publicly released app at Google NYC in 2017, but what exactly did I mean by change?

Let’s rewind to 2016, I was heading into my 8th year at a well-known hospital in New York City. I wasn’t a doctor or any sort of healthcare provider. No, I spent my days in a windowless medical records office filing charts and handling data entry. It wasn’t glamorous work, but it paid the bills (albeit, not all of the bills).

When I was off the clock, I could do what I do best; endlessly seek new ways to learn, create, and grow.

In my spare time, I would create. I enjoyed graphic design, 2D animation, and photography. There is something about the process of bringing a thought to life that fills me with purpose.

You can say this has been a life-long passion of mine

Now as much as I loved visual arts, something was missing. I wanted people to reach beyond the veil of art and be able to interact with it. The answer to this was simple: software development. I could build apps in which people could touch, talk to, and be completely immersed in. Through software development, I could both satisfy the itch to create and have the potential to have a positive impact on the world around me. It was at this moment that I knew I would become a software developer.

Easy right? Of course not.

It required sacrifice. I studied every chance I had. I began teaching myself Ruby, then transitioned to JavaScript. I went from knowing nothing about HTML or CSS to being accepted to a Google-funded software engineering program, specializing in Android development. The program was 10-months long, 6 days a week, nights and weekends. I would go to work in the morning and head to class right after. On my time off, I worked on building apps with my team or studying data structures and algorithms in preparation for interviews.

Now I think about the pros and cons of different architectural patterns. Do I use MVP, MVVM, or MVI? Do I make my Java objects immutable and let go of my dear “getters and setters” in favor of thread-safety? In what ways can I use RxJava to make my apps truly reactive?

How can I use this knowledge to help others along the way?

If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that software development is a team sport. So I invite you to come along with me on this journey as I explore this new life as an Android Developer. If by sharing what I’ve learned brings clarity to someone else, then that’s all the change I needed after all.

Stay tuned for articles about my personal projects, Android development tips, and interview experiences. Thanks for reading!

I’m always looking to collaborate, so feel free to follow me here on Medium, LinkedIn, and Github.