How I built my career by learning programming when I was 11 years old

How was your University time?

I joined IIIT Allahabad in 2013, for a B-Tech in Information Technology. IIIT Allahabad is known for its programming culture, and it helped me stay focussed
in building out my skillset as programmer. The exposure was amazing, I got to meet a diverse set of people, from all over India. The course structure gave
me an opportunity to try out all the possible options in the field, and I was able to do some large and ambitious projects with the able guidance of the professors.

Why did you seek a career in programming?

I started programming when I was 11 years old. Back then it was a hobby, but the more I did, the more I liked it. Not just that, programming is a career where you have to keep learning. Your ability to learn things quickly and consistently is one of the determining factors of your success in a programming career. And I love learning! These aspects led me to choose a career in software engineering and start my own company.

What was your first job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you to get to where you are today?

One of the things that I realised very early in my career was that just being skilled is not good enough. I was very shy and it took a long time for me be comfortable around people. This was working against me. So i started participating in more activities, networking sessions etc. and I slowly got better at it. Most of the opportunities which were presented to me came from networking and connections. Especially for me as an entrepreneur, this proved to be vital for the success of my venture. Hence I would say skills, the ability to communicate your thoughts and ideas clearly, and the willingness to do it played a key role in helping me get where I am today.

Things are changing very fast in the industry, how do you keep yourself updated. Please list techniques or newsletter, podcasts, events etc?

Hackernews and Medium publications like Hackernoon, Codeburst etc are great sources to learn about new things in the industry. Apart from that, I spend a lot of time on GitHub, going through other people’s work. It helps me get perspective and also learn new ways to do things. One thing to keep in mind is to check the credentials of the author of the post, and the engagement on the post. A lot of people across with diverse skillsets write blog posts, and not all maybe useful to you.

Advice for someone looking for software job?

It is very important to set both long and short term goals, and work toward achieving them. Think about where do you want to see yourself in 5 years from now, and talk to a person who is at that position today. It will help you gain perspective, if that is what you actually want. Avoid taking up jobs that are high paying, but does not reward you mentally. Now is the time to take on challenges, and as you gain experience (not on paper, actual work experience), better opportunities will present itself to you. It is also important to build your personal portfolio. Take up projects. join communities, contribute to open source, whatever suits you. It is always better if opportunities found you, rather than you chasing after them. 😉
Abhishek Menon is the Co-Founder and CTO of RepHike, a micro influencer discovery software based in NY. He started programming when he was 11 years old, and he did his Bachelors in Information Technology from IIIT Allahabad. 

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