Real Talk with Patrick De Suza

/dev/color
The Compiler
Published in
4 min readJan 12, 2018

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Meet Patrick De Suza, VP, Software Developer at Goldman Sachs and member of /dev/color.

Location: New York City

Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A Quote to Live by: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less” — C.S. Lewis

Connect with Patrick: on his Linkedin.

Tell us a bit about your early years.

I grew up in New York City. My parents immigrated from the West Indies and were instrumental in shaping my perspective on education and exhausting the opportunities that I had. My mom worked double shifts to send me and my brother to private school and my dad was the hardest working person I knew. So I developed a strong work ethic. I was fascinated by science and electronics and my parents helped foster that curiosity as much as they could. I wasn’t just a nerd though. I was also into sports — playing little league, basketball, running track, and studying martial arts.

How did you get started in software?

I was a “late bloomer”. My introduction to software was my first programming class in college. The language we used was Scheme/Lisp (yikes!). I ended up failing the class but oddly I had fallen in love with programming. The problem was it didn’t love me back… yet. Stubbornly, I kept at it and 16 years later we’re very much in love.

What are you focusing most of your time on now?

Most of my time is focused on finding a way to transition into entrepreneurship.

What is the most interesting technical challenge you’ve worked on recently?

It wasn’t sexy but my team had a slow running process that was effectively unusable by our clients. By analyzing the bottlenecks, I was able to rewrite the process and increase the efficiency by a factor of 7. The solution I designed was also generic enough that teams across the firm could leverage it without having to write any code.

Please state 2–3 of your current career goals? Why are these important to you?

Start a business, get funding, become a full-time entrepreneur. I value the autonomy and agility that comes with building something from the ground up. I’m also growing less tolerant of other people making decisions about how much I should be paid.

Give an example of a recent time you’ve helped a fellow engineer. What lessons can be taken from their situation?

A junior developer asked me for help with a problem he was stuck on for several hours. The bug was obscure but I had come across something similar before. It had taken me more than a day to resolve it but once I recognized it in his code, I was able to help him fix it in a minute or two. The moral of the story is that while there is virtue in struggling through an issue yourself, if we’re unafraid to ask for help we can sometimes solve our problems much faster.

In what areas can /dev/color members reach out to you for help?

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business strategy
  • Career navigation
  • Java
  • Object-Oriented Programming
  • Design

As a member of /dev/color you are also committed to developing yourself. Can you share some areas you are looking to improve?

I’m new to Javascript and am diving headfirst into the ecosystem. My familiarity with the language is no where near my command of Java. Learning something new is challenging but exciting. I’m also looking to improve as a leader and finding the balance between remaining technical and leading a team of developers.

Can you speak about any passions outside of programming?

I love music and have been a part of a choir, band, or singing group of some sort all my life. Most recently, I directed an all-male gospel choir. We traveled to several states and even sang for prisoners at Rikers Island in NY.

Why is being a part of an organization like /dev/color important to you?

/dev/color is the unique solution to the black software engineer’s experience. Being surrounded by talented black software engineers and their accomplishments is inspirational. It’s also therapeutic. My squad is a safe space for me to be vulnerable, to admit that I don’t know, to receive encouragement and the wisdom of the experiences of others.

Anything else you’d like to say/express?

It would be cool if someone made a documentary about /dev/color. It would be great for the next generation of engineers, particularly those for whom software engineering isn’t even on the radar. Oh, and I can’t wait for the Black Panther movie to come out!

/dev/color is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower Black software engineers to help one another grow into industry leaders. We create environments where Black software engineers can learn from one another and hold one another accountable for reaching ambitious career goals. To learn more, check out our website and follow our blog & twitter account.

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/dev/color
The Compiler

a non-profit that maximizes the impact of Black software engineers. We’re a network for and by software engineers.