Coding in the City: My Story

Sharing my story in tech - the ups, the downs, and everything in between.

My name is Steven Espinal, I'm a NYC Software Engineer. I'd like to use this space to talk about my story, how my life has changed for the better, and where the future is headed through code. Sometimes my posts will be long, other times it will be short, but I will try my best to make it as straight forward as possible, I hope you'll find something here that resonates with you.

I've been in this industry for well over 5 years and initially self taught my self how to code using a bunch of resources like YouTube videos, Udemy Courses, and even textbooks. Eventually I needed more structure to fill the gaps of what I did not learn and decided the best decicision for me in 2019 was to attend a coding boot camp.

My Boot Camp Experience

I struggled in my early days at Baruch College. My head was not in it at all, I would start off strong and eventually just stop attending classes because I could not understand for the life of me why I was learning things such as Art History with a major in Accounting. It was classes like these that were a complete waste of time and that's something I dislike the most. I made a decision to pivot my foot in a different path that would benefit me in the long run.

I had to convince myself that even though all of my peers around me were winning and acing all of their exams, that college was just not for me & it really may not be for you either. I became obsessed with learning on my own and coding had distracted me from doing my school work which made me apply for the bootcamp offered by Columbia University.

Columbia was the greatest school experience I've ever had. I was one of the top performers of my class because I surrounded myself in this coding knowledge for 1 year prior to joining and met some of the most amazing diverse group of people. We had done lots of coding exercises, pair programming, and group projects during my time at Columbia. Attending this program with a narrow focus on what I wanted to learn and do was the best decision for me at the time and it led to me landing multiple jobs (even during the hard times of the pandemic).

Coding Changed My Life

After gaining all of these certifications, I really enjoyed React, a library created by Meta, and decided to specialize in Front End Web Development (although I have done extensive work in Back End Development).

Coding has changed my way of thinking, I went from a very closed minded person into a growth oriented person. It taught me I can help others with the experiences I enjoyed going through. It taught me to build business solutions such as automating tasks, creating specialized dashboards, and how to be the most creative version of myself.

I am blessed to say I landed multiple full time Software Engineering positions without a traditional Bachelor's Degree. I am a complete advocate of a traditional degree is not always worth pursuing. However, this does not mean you should not continue your education or learning. If you decide to not go through college, I am a HEAVY believer in learning skills you passionately enjoy doing to supplement the hours spent during college and after.

I still take plenty of Udemy courses, YouTube courses, and other forms of educational learning in my free time because I cannot get left behind. There is always someone willing to outwork, outlearn and take your spot. Never take your foot off the gas pedal when learning and growing.

This space is for my raw unfiltered thoughts

I will talk about lots of different topics, from Imposter Syndrome to Coding Best Practices. I will keep my writing as simple and real as possible. I made a lot of sacrifices to get here but am finally in a position to help others looking to get their foot in the door. Thanks for reading and I hope you learn something new while you're here.