Welcome to the "CodeNewbie Community Spotlight" — a series where we interview an individual from our community and highlight all that they've accomplished. We can't wait to celebrate our CodeNewbie community in a new and different way each month!
Name: Álvaro Montoro
Playing games... sort of. Growing up, my parents limited the time I could use the computer to 30 minutes a day during weekends. They were strict with the schedule, so every second counted and they couldn’t be wasted. Knowing that, and after being stopped a few times short of finishing a game, a neighbor and I learned how to program some basic batch scripts so we could automate tasks, execute everything faster, and have more overall playing time.
That was my first contact with coding: creating a small menu to execute commands faster, avoid typos, and save time. There was a problem and coding was the solution.
Later, I was admitted to the Computer Science program at the University of Jaen in Spain, and I started coding more and more. First for classes and labs, and then for websites, phone apps, TV apps… anything and everything I could do.
I wrote about my dream job on CodeNewbie a few months back:
I have a dream job. It's at a big company (I won't say the name), on a small and collaborative team full of talented and supportive people, with exciting challenges, room to grow, and cool perks.
That dream job was in 2008.
To add on top of that, my dream job is one in which I feel I can help others. Not only with the project in itself, but also my workmates: assist them and learn together, mentor (both directions), and in which we can all grow.
Being a developer is a continuous learning process. I have 15+ years experience and still consider myself a code newbie for many things because languages and technologies (especially in the front-end) are in constant change and evolution.
Learning is essential, and that’s where online communities play a key role. As the character from The Legend of Zelda says: “It’s dangerous to go alone!” Being part of a community helps considerably with the learning process. They are full of people with the same curiosities and interests, many of them onboard in the same learning journey. Some at earlier stages, some more experienced. But most of them are willing to help and support the other members.
I have met wonderful developers and even better people in the online communities, and cannot recommend enough participating on them.
I have collaborated in different communities at different levels. I am currently a moderator at StackOverflow en Español (the Spanish edition of StackOverflow) and have a history of answering questions in both English and Spanish.
On a few occasions, a workmate reached out to me with a comment: “Your answer on StackOverflow helped me.” They had an issue with the project, searched online, and found an answer that worked for them… then they realized I was the author! I had helped them without even knowing.
Those types of things bring a great sense of pride and satisfaction. They prove that sharing knowledge online is important, no matter the level or how simple it may seem: sometime someone somewhere will find the content useful. It may be a completely unknown, or it may be a coworker or, who knows, it may even be yourself.
Finding my place as a developer.
When I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and was starting my career, all the opportunities that I found were related to back-end development: C/C++, Visual Basic .NET, C#. But there was something missing.
As a student, I had discovered web development (outside of the degree), and had fallen in love with it. But with my background and experience, all the opportunities that I got were related to the back-end. It was difficult to convince others that I was ready to do it. With each rejection, I started believing I was not ready to do it either. It took some time to convince myself that I was.
Accepting positions that were more “full-stack”, I gained confidence and professional experience in the front-end, and was able to prove I could make it. Shifting my career towards something that I enjoyed more.
I tried doing some comedy and even entered a couple of stand-up competitions. I made it through the first rounds, but wasn’t funny enough performing live, and not many people laughed. So, I quit comedy and focused on programming.
To read more about Álvaro's coding journey, you can follow him here on CodeNewbie Community and DEV @alvaro_montoro.