The first time I put my hands on a computer keyboard was in 1987. I had just finished my 3rd grade and summer was just around the corner. My mother, a forward thinking rebel, wanted me to have a unique summer so she signed me up for a computer instructions summer camp at my school.
The introduction to computing left such a strong impression on me that it definitely played a hand in my decision to pursue a technology-oriented career. Early on in my career, I tried to live life in the moment – taking the road less traveled and climbing the next tallest mountains. Sounds great, right? Not always. It didn't always necessarily lead to where I wanted to go. Fortunately, later in my career, I am grateful to have met several mentors who have been instrumental. They guided me in making a number of key decisions in my career which led me to become a professional Chief Technology Officer for Fintech / Internet companies today.
I am deeply humbled and grateful for this journey. For a long time, I have wondered what is the best way to give back to the tech community which has nurtured me along the way. I have participated in open source communities, given talks at tech conferences, etc, but it doesn't seem to be enough. Too many times I have seen kids with potential getting turned away from their dream career simply because they did not know how to navigate better. At the end, nothing is more profoundly impactful than providing direct mentorship to those that need it the most.
This is why I started Into Code – an invite-only mentorship program in which everyone develops a 'pay-it-forward' mentality to help enrich the tech community. A mentee seeking career advice can tap into the community but must offer something in exchange so that the community becomes self-perpetuating.
A strong community is the foundation of a solid mentorship program. And the most basic building block that holds that foundation together is still people. At the dawn of this new tech era, in a world where technology truly is influential and relationship is the element that unlocks the gates of opportunity and success, we all have a responsibility as technologists and citizens, to instill in our future engineers a sense of direction so that we can give them the chance to fulfill their dreams.