5. Personal Journey

Growing up, I never imagined myself working in the social sector. I wanted to reach the exalted heights of Corbusier or Foster, not the messy grimy social-realism world of informal settlements. But, this is where your surroundings shape you. In the classroom I saw the value of doing research, and asked myself, how can I make an impact as an architect? It seemed to me that the ‘creativity’ would be much more meaningful if it impacted people’s lives.

At the same time, I’ve always wanted to learn how to code. Computer Science was the other love, the other curiosity of my life that I didn’t get fulfill in university. To that end, I attended a code camp in Dharamsala, and failed miserably. It’s a hard world to navigate when you don’t know your Java from your JavaScript. But I did get to attend HillHacks, where I met a lot of people from the ‘maker’ community in India, and got exposed to ideas like soldering and prototyping with Arduino.

Bangalore is teeming with energy for new technology, and I attended a lot talks on blockchain, privacy, user experience. But ultimately, I felt like I understood the first 10 minutes of these talks, and then would look forward to clapping at the end of the talk. It was what a friend of mine termed “the cheerleader syndrome” - where you’re enthusiastic about the impact of technology without really knowing how it works.

This motivated me to hunt out Launch School, a rigorous self-paced program for learning software development. I’ve had my head deep into pseudocode, inheritance, encapsulation and state for the last 12 months. Alongside, I’ve also got to work on the exciting and fun world of Burning Man. I’ve been really happy with my progress in 2018.

I’m about to begin studying databases, and expect to move on to JavaScript soon. Right now, I can write clean, readable code in Ruby. I’ve attempted a few problems from the Advent of Code set, and have been really satisfied with solving them. By September, I’m optimisting of having the skills of a full-stack web developer. This, I believe will give me the tools to combine my two interests, and enable me to do impactful work in the digital humanities space.