As any computer science student knows, getting a job or starting to do REAL things early in your college life is a must. Coming from a family full of lawyers and business majors, I always though that you had to finish school in order to work on what you were passionate about, so I got to college with no real path in life, all I knew was that I loved technology and I wanted to do that for living, so when it came the time to pick a major, the obvious choice was computer science.
I'm now in my third year of school, I've gotten involved in a lot of school events but the one that changed my life for the better was my first hackathon. 24 hours of coding and building stuff was enough to reassure myself of the fact that I was passionate about this industry. I since then had attended more hackathons, and even won first place at UT Austin's HACKTX.
But like I said in the beginning, as a computer science student, what happens in school is not enough, so I knew I wanted to start working somewhere. I was invited to join a couple of projects, but the timing wasn't right, and I also tried and failed to build a product with a friend due to lack of knowledge. So I knew I had to find a place to work where I could obtain a lot of knowledge and be in a creative environment, and thanks to a lot of luck and hard work, I got a chance to be an intern at Icalia Labs, a place I always wanted to work in and that had knowledge to spare.
So far I've been here for a month, and the learning experience has been amazing. I'm surrounded by a group of people who are passionate about technology and building things. Being able to approach someone with any sort of doubt and get an answer, is a statement that a very lucky few are able to say. I'm a Rails Intern, and so far I've learned more about the rails framework than I had in the past year.
The culture here is very different to what I've seen in other places. Everyone here is very welcoming and everyone's passionate about building things. Work here is not seen as a chore that allows you to pay the bills, but as a way to build new things that makes people's lives better. Stand-up meetings, tech talks where other developers share anything they're working on; those are some of the few things that happen here that help the culture here thrive.
My first month here has been one full of learning and fun experiences. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to be here, and I'm excited for the challenges that will come with it, because all I want to do is learn, and I couldn't be at better place to do that.
Like I said in the beginning, being a computer science student in a way forces you to start working really early in life, but there's two paths you can follow. You can work at a big software company as a developer, where you'll be working maybe on a button for a browser or just do intensive testing on big products. Or you could work at a smaller company as a Creative Developer or Technologist, where your job has a bigger impact and you're surrounded by creative and hard-working people.
I encourage everyone who reads this to ask themselves the question of what sort of legacy do you want to build, and after doing so work hard to get to wherever you decided to be. Feel free to comment and ask for anything regarding this subject, lets allow the power of the internet to guide you to your dream career.