30 years ago I graduated from high school and was trying to decide what to study in college. Designing buildings was very appealing to me. Studying architecture looked like a good option. As I was trying to make a decision, my close group of high school friends convinced me to join them and study Computer Programming.
"Computer Programming?!! What could you possibly do with computers!?" asked my mom, alarmed. I shrugged my shoulders and went on to study Computer Programming at the University of Puerto Rico. It was during my two years there that I learned about the wonderful technologies of the time; Punch Cards, Fortran and Cobol. I realized that this was the correct path for me and got excited about the future.
Two years later a friend convinced me to follow her to Florida State University to finish our Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. "Florida State?!" asked my mom, again alarmed. I shrugged my shoulders and went on to study Computer Science, or did I? In the third semester at FSU, I discovered that I really did not know English as well as I thought. I could read and write beautiful English but I would not understand my professors too well. So between the efforts to understand Discreet Math, Physics and Calculus and the efforts to understand what the professors were actually saying, I began to fail.
I decided to switch majors and study something that would be easier to understand. I picked Geographic Information Systems. "Geography?!!" asked my mom, alarmed. I shrugged my shoulders and went on to study GIS. I convinced myself that I was still studying technology. My grades improved and I loved making maps and learning about places, people and societies of the world, but something was missing. It was not technology.
At that time I had a part-time job sorting letters at the FSU post office, on campus. I noticed that every time a student came to do a transaction we had to look up the student information in an index card inside a small box. "Wait, what?!!" I asked. I proposed to my boss if he would let me write a program to provide a better experience to the students and to organize the data in a database. "A program?!! he asked, uncertain. He shrugged his shoulders and I went on to design a database and write a program to provide search, add, edit and reporting capabilities to the FSU Post office. It was there that I was able to find my passion for technology. I saw a problem and was able to provide a solution with technology. It was my beginning in the field of Software Engineering and a long and interesting path to where I am now. I learned to follow my gut and continue to find passion and reinvent myself when the time is right by learning new technologies and staying the course.