“Something I’ve always done without hesitation is talk to people who are a couple of years above me to learn about the challenges they faced with certain classes or when applying for opportunities. This allows me to always be as prepared as possible for the future, but more importantly, it opens the door for me to mentor people who are in my generation or in a younger generation. It’s my way of giving thanks to those in the years above me who have passed on their knowledge.”
BHC Scholar Dylan Ochoa is preparing to graduate next fall with a degree in computer science. Having discovered his love for programming in high school, Dylan has had several opportunities to develop his skills in his time at UCF so far. His first opportunity out of high school came in the form of an internship on a software development team for the Palm Beach County School District. As it turns out, this position was the basis for many more opportunities to come. During this internship, Dylan learned a valuable life lesson: “You never know where one application, connection, or email could
land you. I’m convinced that everything I’ve done since high school has only been possible because I applied to this internship at my local school district. I found the application the day it was due, and I almost didn’t submit it. Taking that first risk can be very difficult,” he encourages students, “but just envision what the positives of that risk could be and dive in headfirst!”
In addition to attending hackathons and learning several web development languages, Dylan has interned twice at Bing: last year as an Explore intern and this year as a Software Engineer intern. When describing the work he’s done at Bing, Dylan says, “I’ve been doing full-stack work this summer, writing the back end for a new feature, writing and styling the front-end, and establishing a connection with our database to power the feature. The feature targets people who are searching for a new job, giving them perspective into other roles near them that pay higher than their current position and showing them
how much skill overlap exists between the roles.” Dylan also emphasizes that his time at Bing allowed him to connect with and learn from thousands of other employees, which helped him appreciate the knowledge of his co-workers. Next summer, he will be interning with the Xbox Cloud Gaming organization. Though he enjoyed the diverse perspectives his internship at Bing afforded him, Dylan’s looking forward to the smaller work environment that characterizes this new position.
All of this experience has provided Dylan with a considerable amount of wisdom. “One more thing for the people who are entering college with no programming experience: please don’t be discouraged,” he says, “yes, there are plenty of people who started programming in high school, middle school, and even elementary school. You have just as much potential as any of those people. Time isn’t a realistic indicator of how much someone knows, so don’t waste any time comparing yourself to others. Allow your passion to guide your progress and work hard to reach where you want to be. I promise you, you’ll impress yourself.”