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Career Building in Software Development

tech mentor canadaJayper Sanchez is a Kindred mentor in software development (profile here), mainly in Java technology and Object Oriented Programming, with some mobile development and SQL basics as complementary skill sets. Here Jay shares how he got started in the industry, and some key career insights.

A bit about my industry and my job role

The IT industry from Networking, Technical Support to Software development will always be in demand. At the same time, getting into the industry is very competitive. In order to survive, one has to stay competitive and marketable. So constant training and education and keeping up with technology is essential. As a Software Development Consultant, I’ve invested my own financial resources in order to keep up with new technologies. My company, J4 Interactive Inc, provides custom software solutions to companies to help them gain the competitive edge on their competition.

How I got started

I never expected I would become a developer. It seemed to be more of a combination of destiny and luck. I was one of those who didn’t know what to major in back in college. In 1992, in Walnut Creek California, while attending San Antonio Junior College, I was lucky enough to get a part time job as a computer technician. I was taught how to build file servers and a desktop. This was the early days of the server client network.

tech mentorshipOne night, while hanging out with friends, I was invited to attend a party in Los Angeles. A guy I was talking to there introduced me to HTML. He had done an HTML website online menu for a Chinese restaurant and that impressed me a whole lot. So while I was working at my part time job as a technician, I also began playing around with HTML. I actually had a vision of building an online mall, much like the concept of “Personalization.com” website. But I was so new to the technology, I had to learn CGI, which didn’t catch my interest then.

My family then moved to Denver, Colorado due to my Dad getting a job with Oracle Corporation. In Denver, I got a job as a data processor for Rocky Mountain news. With this job, I learned database development using Foxpro. I was lucky enough to work from home and the company paid for my landline, internet and computer equipment. This was also my first telecommuting work. This is how I got interested in software development. By this time, Java was introduced to the world and I started to learn this language.

mentorship software developmentMy Dad introduced me to Oracle database, as well as to the concept of the internet. This was actually the time I finally decided on a major. So I decided to go back to my Canadian home and finished my studies in computer science. Next, I attended a technical school and within one year of commencing my studies in “Programming and System’s Analysis,” I was able to get a job as a software engineer for a company in Toronto. This is how I got started as a software developer. I started developing in ANSI C. My first job I was developing front end retail banking systems. I also got to learn to learn Oracle database, low level development and Java, and the rest is history.

My motivation for pursuing a career in software development

My opportunity to be in the IT industry was due to the demand of the internet and the IT boom. New technologies were coming out and businesses just needed someone brave enough to jump on the opportunity to learn on the job. I became a freelancer in 2003 after getting laid off from full-time work in Sacramento, California. I had a new house, new van, new baby and a toddler AND the internet bubble had burst, so the U.S economy went into recession. It was the beginning of a successful freelance career, beginning with doing mobile development for my first client. Freelancing took me all over U.S and after my contract with Research in Motion, in Atlanta Georgia, I decided to move back to Canada to do more mobile development in 2013.

Some stumbling blocks I encountered, my learning from it, and some advice I’d give to others from that learning

Going out on my own, as well as learning several new technologies, have helped me develop patience and perseverance. I believe anyone going off on their own will need the above to survive this industry. One will experience a lot of rejection, as have I, but you learn from that. Don’t lose heart, stay strong and keep persevering. Learn your own capabilities, learn your weakness and learn to accept them. Not everyone will be a good Project manager, or developer lead. Don’t be afraid to learn new things, as that’s how you’ll learn what you’ll be good at and what you’re interested in. Invest in yourself with online courses like Lynda.com, or find a mentor like me to work with you personally.

Here are some of the biggest lessons of my learnings to date

Don’t follow the lead of Research In Motion, makers of the Blackberry devices. Don’t follow the lead of Nortel. These two Canadian companies with ideas that started out being at the forefront of technological development, then became complacent. They ignored progress, like the iPhone and the Android. As a software developer, you cannot become complacent. In order to survive and be marketable and stay competitive, you must upgrade your skills. Get out of your own comfort zone.

My goal ultimately career-wise

To develop a software concept in the realm of Big Data and IoT, Internet of Things.

My advice for those in my industry just starting out.

To be successful in the IT field, one needs to keep up with new and emerging technologies. This industry has a lifetime learning requirement. Continuing education is the only way to stay competitive and marketable. The good news is that continuing education is not expensive in this field. There are so many resources out there. You just need to know where to find them. I once read this, “good things come to those who code on the weekend.” If you practice programming and experiment with software or hardware, it will pay off. It’s this discipline that I would like to share, from my experience and knowledge, with those who are motivated to work on their own.

My mentorship offerings

  • jay sanchez mentorI believe I will be a strong mentor in the software development section and mainly in Java technology and Object Oriented Programming. Mobile development and basics of SQL will be the complemented skill sets I can offer to provide.
  • My ideal mentee would be someone who is a good listener, who knows how to learn on their own. Try to figure out stuff before asking for guidance. But most importantly, no ego.

View Jay’s Mentor Profile!

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