Dev Retro 2022: The Roller Coaster Ride of a Filipino Software Dev
And my reflections on my journey and experiences as a developer in 2022
I know it has been a while since then but here I am. I want to introduce myself to you.
I am Jethro Paulo Riosa born on the beautiful islands of the Philippines.
Software Engineering places a big part in my life and it helped me to become the person that I want to be.
Let me tell you a Story
Way back in time all I want to do is help my family rise from the slum area of our place. Since then we are poor and cannot afford anything to buy for ourselves. I always dreamed that someday I will be reaching the top of the world and be able to provide for everyone in need. That someday, we can just live our lives in whatever we want.
"But yeah... life is not a fairytale and that is the saddest part of it."
From the ground up, I study well making the best out of any situation. Thinking positively always. Always look forward to my next goal and not having a sense of doubt that I will fail.
Until then that positive attitude kept me studying harder, pushing myself to my limits and striving for greatness that even in the hardest time, I will always say to myself...
"I can do this no matter what!"
The year 2013
The year that I need to decide to take up my course. One of the crucial phases of my life.
In my mind, I always want to take up Civil Engineering because I am fascinated by how great buildings were built. I always tell my Mom that,
"Mom, I want to take this course up someday, I want this one."
Now is the time to decide. The year my Mom went home and ask me what course I would like to take. Mom asks,
"Son, what course would you like to take? Take into account our budget, please."
From that moment, I hold my grudge and ended up saying,
"Okay, whatever is allowed on our budget, I will take that course. But, I want to take Civil Engineering seriously. I will take scholarship exams or even do a part-time job if it needs to."
From that very moment, I knew what will be the decision on my Mom's end. As I expected she said,
"Son, can you take up another course? It requires being in a much bigger school and we can't afford that. I also do not want you to be burned out from being a part-time employee because I want you to focus on your studies.
How about taking up computer courses?"
When I heard that from my Mom, I knew I need to consider what she said because in the Philippines whatever your course is as long as you are a degree holder, it is an accomplishment.
"Okay, Mom, I'll try Computer Science."
And that's how it started.
I know you are questioning my boring introduction and thinking that
"How does your story relate to the topic of #DevRetro2022?"
It goes something like this...
College days are getting over and I do not have any idea at all about "real world" software engineering, but thanks to my course. It gave me what I need to learn first and continue what I started.
The three fundamentals of web programming. It gave light to show me the way. From building a simple landing page to dynamic web pages. It thought me to be more creative. The best thing is, it taught me to be more curious about the world of software and technology.
I started loving building stuff way back when I was in my thesis program. It is an Attendance Monitoring System using Facial Recognition using C# that I built and since then I never turned back.
I started to research even more and applied for an internship to practice my skills and to get more exposure to real software engineering types of work.
I gained knowledge and experience.
I applied what has been taught and added more flavors to get exactly what I need. Over and over again I do this and that. Taking my career to the highest point that I can be.
5 months later, I was regularized.
Within three years, I gave my all for this job working overtime just to learn every day. Fighting for my career and family. I always do my best to keep up with the phase of the everyday evolution of technology.
But year 2020, the pandemic struck and all of sudden all my dreams faded. My job washed away and my anxiety starts to get deeper. Questions start to arise.
"How can I provide for my family now?"
"What will happen to my dreams for them?"
"How can I get over this?"
Someone believed in me, Again!
When I left my job, I grieved the whole day. Thinking about what will be my next move.
"How can I provide for the following days?"
"How can I sustain our living?"
"How can I put food on the table?"
Devasted, Hopeless, Miserable
But I said to myself,
"This is not you! You are a warrior, you have to rise because this is not the end."
So I started doing what I can. I created small projects to hone my skills. I connected to anybody that was related to my field. Reading books until midnight. I submitted 199 applications as much as I can to different companies but still no luck.
It is just me waiting in vain that some other day someone will believe in me.
The moment came, that I submitted my 200th application and I felt like I am about to give up. I am just tired and just hoping this can be my moment to get accepted.
May 3rd, 2020
At midnight, I was having a call with my girlfriend ( now my wife, a very supportive and loving wife ). We are just talking to each other and then all of sudden someone emailed me for an interview.
I said to my wife,
"Hey, someone emailed me just now and he wants me to get interviewed. Should I accept it?"
My wife said,
"Yeah, go for it! I know it has been hard for you these days but yeah! there is nothing to lose at this moment. Just do it!"
Then, I accepted. I never knew that the interview will take place for about the next 10 minutes. Can you imagine, that someone emailed you at midnight and then asked you for an interview for you the next 10 minutes? Isn't it amazing? Hahaha.
So I rushed things quite a bit. Washed my face and sit in front of my laptop. Then the interview started. The butterflies and the nerve came again. At that moment, I said to myself that this can be my finale. If the interviewer accepted me, thank God! But if not, thank God!
"Hey Jethro, how are you?"
" I am good, how about you?"
"Yeah, I am good, are you ready?"
"Yeah, Let's do this!"
After 15 minutes of telling about yourself, and how you feel about programming and the startup company they have. Then the interviewer said,
"Okay, Jethro. This is the moment of truth. It is now or never. If you answer this question correctly, we are good but if not, better luck next time. Got it?"
"Yeah, I am ready."
The moment of truth and he asked the question and I told my answer. I do not know if I am correct or not but I know this can be my last chance. If I do not answer it correctly it will be the end. The moment of truth came...
"Okay, Jethro. You got the job! When do you want to start?"
Joy, Laughter, Hope
These are the things that I felt at that moment! Getting the job for my family, again! All of a sudden someone believed in me, again. The best feeling I had at that moment. I couldn't believe it after all my grievances, sadness and worries, finally! It is a finale, a beautiful finale.
I am still here where it all started.
Reading and writing good codes! haha ✌️. Having a chance to have good mentors and even mentees! Still, it is nostalgic. I am inside a circle of great leaders and developers who are striving every day to get better at their respective fields. I am blessed to have them at this very moment because I got the chance to be with a dynamic team who are always thinking of others first before themselves.
I respect and Idolize every one of them because they showed me how to be a great leader, mentor and developer.
If the day comes that I would be stepping on a new journey, I will always think about what they thought and showed me. Bringing the best in your teammates and creating a positive environment inside your team.
It seems that at this very moment the journey and experiences that I am having right now are based on the wins and defeats from my past experiences. Having the best time of my career and life right now makes me realize that it is not every day that you are always under sorrow and defeat.
Time will come and time will tell that you will win one day. For your life, for your dreams, your goals and most especially for your success!
It might not be the #DevRetro2022 that you expected to read but I do hope that it gave you something more than that. I do hope that I left you with something. And I do hope that you always bring the best out of yourself.
That's it, my #DevRetro2022.