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I am a software developer and have Achondroplasia

Jrg91 Member Posts: 6 Connected
edited June 2019 in Coffee lounge
Hi all, 
My name is Jacob. Always been keen to join scope and learn more about it. Really happy to join. 
I work as a software developer, I'm a bit of a geek with my interests and often talking about code and video gaming!  
I have Acondroplasia the most common form of dwarfism. 
As public attitudes can sometimes be rough, I've always wanted to help change this. I want to push past the stereotypes cast by society, and show I'm an everyday guy with a personality, dreams, a job, hobbies etc. Acondroplasia is only a part of who I am. 
Always happy to answer any questions, and I'm also really happy to join this community! 


  • Antonia_Alumni
    Antonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
    Welcome to the community @Jrg91 how are you doing today? :)

    Thank you for sharing this with us. That sounds interesting, coding seems complex but intriguing. How long have you been working as a software developer?

    Absolutely, it's just a part of who you are.
  • Jrg91
    Jrg91 Member Posts: 6 Connected
    Doing great thanks @Antonia_Scope. Hope you are having/had a great day too. 

    Coding can be, but it can be really intresting esp. to build something from nothing and see the results. Ive been a developer professionally for about 4 1/2 years. But been developing outside as an intrest for about 9/10 years. Started with an intrest in making video games which lead onto a more general programming intrest.

    Thanks for the welcome
  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,946 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Jrg91 welcome to the community! :)
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • Jrg91
    Jrg91 Member Posts: 6 Connected
    Thanks @Ami2301 glad to be a part of it :smile:
    @Hart86 Yeah gaming my favourite way to relax, been playing since the Nintendo 64 days as a kid. As time went on I wanted to see how they are made, and worked so my hobby got me into coding. Linking it that way helped me get a start in learning it. I think that is the best advice to new/ coders who want to learn. To make new challenges and to make them relateable to interests/causes that matter to you.  Nowadays I use the same skills to help people in social causes. So it's been a different journey than most. Although my direction changed a lot throughout the ten years. I really enjoy where the journey so far has ended up. 
  • April2018mom
    April2018mom Posts: 2,868 Connected
    That sounds interesting. Do you mind if I ask some questions? 

    What tips would you have for someone who wants to be a software developer? What are the hardest parts of the job? What qualities and skills are needed? What tips do you have for the interview process? 
  • Jrg91
    Jrg91 Member Posts: 6 Connected
    edited June 2019
    Thanks yeah that is fine, I don't mind at all it's good to share experiences. Hope this helps anyone wanting to become a softeare developer!  :smile:
    A lot of this is my own personal opinions, but other developers will have a range of different opinions and answers. 

    My Tips 
    1. Have an interest, this is key! As in my previous post getting into development is the first hurdle. I found it helped to link this to my  gaming interest, trying to work out how they worked, helped me get over this first hurdle. So link it to a hobby/interest/cause to give meaning to the first challenge you want to set to build. 
    2. Ask others questions frequently. Learn from other people's experiences. There is so much to learn and do in development which is evolving all the time. Be humble in this fact as within time you'll be able to share experiences and skills to others and visa versa. No-one will know everything in programming. We are all learning all the time.
    3. Start with a smaller project when learning and build up over time. Make the things that interest you at first. Don't change the world by developing something massive at first else it becomes overwhelming.
    4. Use development resources that matches your learning style. I found learning by doing suited my style best. Learning from open-source projects online and building up my knowledge by setting programming challenges. Such as to create a magic 8 ball was really useful and helped build a initial set of knowledge that expanded. 
    5. Learn more than programming. Explaining your ideas to others, presenting what you've built to clients. Learning your clients point of view and understanding others is often more important than the end program. These skills will form a better product for who uses your code. 
    6. At first find someone with the same experience as you, to have someone to journey with. Try to also find someone who has been there and had experience this will give you a range of experiences and will help you with your journey. 
    7. After some time, when ready mentor someone else. This teaches a lot more other qualities other than programming skills. I've found this one of my best experiences. It reinforces my knowledge. 
    8. Document what you can along the way. This way you can see your journeys and keep a record of what you know and learn. 
    9. Be you. don't try and match/compare with other people. Develop in your own time. Do the things that interest you at first. You'll get a mix of experiences and may find new things that you can share with experienced people. You'll also find your own interests then.  
    Best Parts ( I added this one for balance, hope you don't mind :smile: Like to compare it with the hard times!)
    1. When the code works! Seeing all the time you've spent making something new from nothing but code really makes a long time planning,writing testing. Really worthwhile! 
    2. Always having something new to learn and develop. Often I'm faced with new problems that need solving. It keeps everyday different and interesting. It keeps my problem solving going and keeps me involved in what I'm doing. 
    3. Writing code for good social causes for the end goal of what I build . (I like this aspect a lot, and like to know that my code is being used for good. Having a disability I can realise the impact and why this is important)
    4. Seeing the impact to people's lives when your app / code ships, when people use your software. 
    5. Mentoring and supporting others on their programming journeys
    Hardest Parts
    1. When code does not work :sad and you get stuck trying to work out (debug) your own code for a longer period of time. This turns into a great positive however when you solve the problem. OR ask others for help, this way you can expand your knowledge and work with others to overcome your hardest times.  
    2. Learning to code at the start. But as soon as you've built something or wrote a small program and got over the first hurdle, it starts to then change.
    3. Documentation (Recording everything you've built is a very different skillset to building) *May be a personal one! 
    4. Understanding other people's build process when it differs a lot to your own. Developing a understanding of other people's mindset and choices in the way they build things differently; coming to terms with that can sometimes be tricky. But gaining that understanding and negotiation working together is a skill in it's own.
    5. There are hard parts, but I've always tried to find something to learn and develop from using the hard times I've experienced. 
    Qualities and Skills 
    1. Positive outlook 
    2. Interest in coding. 
    3. Interest in solving problems and coming up with solutions to those problems. (I feel my Acondroplasia has helped this mindset I'm often thinking of ways to solve problems, when I am smaller and have shorter reach. You often help find innovations) 
    4. Interest in technology
    5. Self-drive to learn and adapt to new situations
    6. Communication skills to explain ideas , presenting ideas and learning to talk to clients.
    7. Both team playing and solo skills.
    8. Learning at least one programming language. 
    9. Willingness to evolve and learn new skills.
    10. To be able to evolve learning and helping others. 
    Interview Process 
    1. I admit that I had a harder time with interviews when I tried for a first programming job. I had the skills and went to Uni, but had problems the first time getting past the face to face interview. Sometimes I feel disability may have been a hurdle. Showing the skills and work that I was doing helped to break these barriers. Showing me as a professional.  I've now found a very supportive team and workplace who fully accept me for who I am. Who value me for my skills and me as a person.  
    2. Experience was a key factor in some cases. Really hard to find someone when you are new to give you a chance without the experience. But to get that experience you need a initial job. Can be a bit chicken and egg. Volunteer work and personal projects really helped me to solve that problem, as I had a portfolio of work, showing commitment and interest.
    3. Show challenge-solving in the interview talk about how you've solved problems with code and technology.
    4. Show interest in the company and how you fit in. Always research it beforehand.
    5. Learn what likely problems the company may have and think of new ways they could solve them. 
    6. Prepare for any likely tests/interview questions you'll likely have. Try and Pre-empt them based on what work the company is doing at the time. If you don't get asked these questions you can always answer these afterwards showing that you've took time to really understand the company you want to work for. 
    Hope that answers all your questions April. Thanks

  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,946 Disability Gamechanger
    I absolutely loved the Nintendo 64! Loved Zelda Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, Mario 64, proper feeling nostalgic now!
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,572

    Scope community team

    Goldeneye FTW.  B)

    Welcome to the community @Jrg91. What are you playing at the moment?
    Community Manager

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  • Jrg91
    Jrg91 Member Posts: 6 Connected
    @Ami2301 Yeah n64 days were the best liked all those. Plus banjo kazooie and smash bros are my classics! 

    @Adam_Scope goldeneye was great. All rare games back then were. Im playing through the resident evil games atm. Going back through them. As its a series I never really played back in the day. Really enjoyed 1 just finished. 4 is great too. 

    Thanks for the welcome.
  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,946 Disability Gamechanger
    I was going to say Banjo Kazooie but I was worried that nobody else had heard of it! Loved that game!
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • Jrg91
    Jrg91 Member Posts: 6 Connected
    @Ami2301 Was my fav. Game as a kid. Still waiting on a proper third game haha. Esp for the nostalgia!
  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,946 Disability Gamechanger
    Definitely! Ahh the good old *coughs* younger days ?
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • Antonia_Alumni
    Antonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
    I am thanks @Jrg91 that's good to hear :) That's amazing, you have a lot of experience. Thank you for sharing your tips with us, very informative.


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