A year goes by …

TL;DR: I’ve been working for a year in 🇺🇸 . It’s been a challenging but rewarding experience. I’ve learnt and accomplished a lot. Thanks to all of you who have been part of this journey; I’m ready to keep contributing and learning.

After 24 years living in Medellín, Colombia 🇨🇴, I moved to the US 🇺🇸 and today I wanted to write down my accomplishments of this last year. When I moved I was still working for a company in my home country, DataCRM. That was my first job after 5 years in engineering school. Even though my undergrad was in Electronics and most of those five years at college were spent playing with micro-controllers, capacitors, oscilloscopes, among others, I started working as a software developer. Jorge Torres gave me the opportunity to start developing for the web. Using my previous knowledge of coding in C, Python, Matlab … I started digging into Javascript. After two years of work, fully remotely, I developed the mobile app for that company using Cordova (Phonegap) and launched it to the AppStore and PlayStore. The fact that I was living in the US but earning Colombian pesos was unsustainable.

I started looking for jobs, going online and sending my resumé to many companies in Rhode Island and Boston. It was the first time I had to look for a job; in Colombia I worked during college doing research and for the developer job I was recommended by a friend. Knowing that my resumé didn’t have any names or schools in English— aside from my ESL classes — nor recommendations, I knew it was a steep task. Also, all my previous work was done in VanillaJS and stored in Bitbucket. Frameworks weren’t on my radar and a Github profile to show wasn’t something I had heard of before. After 3 months of not hearing back from anyone and with the odds against me, I finally got an interview 😁.

Always in my mind was the idea that I just needed one opportunity to prove myself in a new country.

After having reviewed my resumé, I got an email from Kenzan’s HR. It was the beginning of a year full of challenges, rewards and happiness.

Thanks for your interest in Kenzan Media. I have reviewed your resume and am interested in having a preliminary conversation with you over the phone. I was also very impressed by your cover letter and in particular your work on the UWB Radar Prototype. I’m not sure that work would be applicable to our projects but it says a lot about you.

After the phone interview, I got a JS test and after an interview in the office with whom today is my direct contact in the company. A week after, I got offered the position and without hesitation I accepted and started working a year ago.

Since day one I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The tools, the language, the culture, the velocity … everything was different from what I knew and what I felt comfortable with. I took the challenge and started reading through documentation, and talking with my new peers. I’d go home and teach myself how to do things. In talking with my beautiful partner in crime, Shé, I had a support system to aid me in my English doubts. I love to learn, and challenging myself has been something I’ve always liked to do. During the first project, I was developing for Samsung smart TV’s and set-top boxes; the second project I worked on developing gulp pipelines and NodeJS integrations; and the third project involved me developing this huge platform based in Angular. I’ve learnt and contributed to all of them, I’ve helped the company to move forward and taught myself how to do so many cool and new things. Also, while studying I started contributing to some open source initiatives. Thanks to Kent C. Dodds and Wes Bos for the opportunities 🎉.

All parents have gotten a report card.

After my first year, I got my first annual review in a position. I guess I didn’t have one since high school, when I’d go with my parents every year to pick up my annual report. It was a rewarding meeting. Everyone was greatly surprised with my performance across different projects. I demonstrated my leadership skills and now I’m leading a team. After the review I acquired more responsibilities, and the satisfaction that my efforts had made an impact.

During this past year I’ve been focused on solidifying my Javascript and learning ES6/ES7 with its intricacies. I’ve been learning more about Angular in big platforms in parallel with TDD. Furthermore, I started diving into React and elm as a way to keep challenging myself and learning from other perspectives.

I’m sure more challenges will appear in the next years, but they will be a motivation for me to keep working hard and learning as much as I can.

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