After Maria Sofia and her touching story from Palestine, full of hope and enthusiasm, here is my second guest in this series dedicated to my former students and their successful careers in the world of work, university or research.
Emanuele has always been the nerdish type with his love for fantasy books - "prof., what about reading some good Tolkien pages in our classes"? - rock music and computers. Achievement after achievement, he now lives in Milan, has an important job, works in a field he loves but still dreams to achieve more. He wrote this piece for my present pupils - see it on Learn Online - in order to share his love for Computer Science and pass a few good tips to them..
Hello, I’m Emanuele and Mrs Spila was my English teacher during my high school years, so I’m really proud to write a post for her blog.
Let’s see what happens when I try to sum up my whole life in a short post... Well, let’s start from the beginning. My high school career wasn’t that brilliant, mostly because I spent those years playing the guitar, listening to music and reading fantasy books. I was quite weir and it was really hard for me to study something I couldn't find cool, exciting or useful. So, I have to admit, high school was really boring for me.
After leaving school I had no idea of what I was going to do in my life so I enrolled to University, Computer Science Department of La Sapienza, in Rome.
The first year was a nightmare! I couldn’t pass any Maths exam because they were so hard for me and I had no skills for programming. Till then I hadn’t written a single line of code in my entire life. I started feeling really frustrated and, at the end of the first year, I started thinking that computer science wasn’t the right choice. However, I decided to resist just another year before quitting definitely.
Guys, guess what? My second year was amazing!
I started studying hard, I totally changed my attitude and, finally, I discovered the creative and fun aspect of this world. I clearly remember those years, they were tough but, at the same time, challenging. I studied a bunch of new things every day and all classes where based on cutting edge technologies: algorithms, artificial intelligence, micro processors, data bases and other nerdy stuff I’d always loved!
When I got my Bachelor Degree my mind was full of ideas and I wanted to use what I had learnt to create something new. So the first thing I did was to start a little start-up with one of my best friends. In the same time, I was studying to get my Master Degree in Computer Science with a focus on Human and Computer Interaction. It was an amazing experience for me! Every day was exciting and I felt like I could become one of the new computer heroes, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.
I was in the middle of the start-up era and, even if I didn’t live in Silicon Valley, the world was changing really, really fast. During those years I got great satisfaction but had also to face huge failures.
I understood that finding your place in the world is not so easy, sometimes you feel exhausted and you feel like giving up. But I think that trying to overcome your fears, trying to make another step in the right direction and trying to carry on is the only way to grow up and move forward.
Some months ago I got my Master Degree and now I’ve just moved to Milan. I’m currently working for a huge banking company as a software developer. However, I feel this is not exactly my dream job. I’m already thinking about a new change, I've been thinking about it since I understood this isn’t the right place for me. Though, I'm quite satisfied.
This is a completely new chapter of my life. I’m facing new challenges, I’m learning how to live alone, far away from my family, I’m learning how to save money, pay bills and, yes, I’m learning how to wash the dishes after dinner and I love that! Changing something in our lives is always frightening, but I think fear must be a part of the process, because if you are not scared while you are trying something new, it means that you are not giving the right importance to the challenge.
However, changes are extremely important in life because they allow us to reach better goals such as a better job or great life experiences. So, I'd like to give you some advice: try to find your path but don't be afraid to change as soon as you understand that the path you are following is not the right one for you, not the one you expected. It’s your life, don’t waste your time living someone else’s life.
I often think about the next move. I have to say, Milan is simply amazing and I love the lifestyle in this big city. But I would really like to move abroad in the next years because I started thinking that out country is not the best place to live if you want to move on with your career.
Another thing I would like to do is teaching Computer Science, especially programming and because of this I’m going to became a mentor for the Coderdojo project. Coderdojo is a no-profit organisation built on a beautiful mission: to teach children how to code. Let me say, this is really exciting, especially because often children are better programmers than some adults.
I would like to close this post with some advice that continuously resound in my mind: live your life in eternal beta version. In Software Engineering the beta version of a software is a non-definitive version of the product. It’s a way the developers use to say: “Hey guys, this software is cool, full of great features and has an amazing interface but, you know, sometimes it crashes for no reason so be gentle with it, this is a beta version, we are still workin’ on it and we’ll fix the issues as soon as possible”. I’m trying to live my life following this principle. I’m always in beta because there is always something I can improve, something I can do better and step by step I’m going to learn new things, living new experiences and, of course, fixing some bugs!
Said that, if you need help or advice, if you think that Computer Science could fit your expectations, if you have doubts about a problem I’ve faced or simply, if you want to talk with me, feel free to contact me using my email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obviously you can find me on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and so on, so if you are interested just google my name. C’mon dudes, don’t be lazy, Internet is your friend!!
Bye byeee ;-)
@Denise: Thank you for your support, let's say that Computer Science is more like an addiction than a simple calling. I really hope to see more guys (and girls) in this field in the next few years. I'll try to do my best, as always ;-)
Hi A. Thank you for your comment. The truth is that Mrs Spila has a lot of great students and, you know, it's common when you are a good teacher!
Mmm so, you are from York, I got an interview offer from Leeds some months ago, is near your town is't it.
Gosh! I've just moderated your comments, Emanuele, and , doing that, I have unadvertedly deleted A.'s and Denise's comments to your post! And even my replies! I must start thinking about retiring :-( If not yet as a teacher, let's say as a blogger ;-) SORRY A., Denise and Emanuele. So sorry :-(
I think it's so wonderful Emanuele has found his calling in computer science even if he hasn't found his dream job. I really wish I had better computer skills.
Best wishes in finding your dream job, Emanuele! Buon Natale!
Maria--please don't retire as a blogger--I love your blogs! And our shared love of Jane Austen, Colin, and Richard, etc... You bring joy to me!
Ciao Emanuele, yes York is about 1/2 from Leeds. York is beautiful, Leeds a lit bit less but offers great opportunities to young and talented graduates like you. There's also a nice and supportive Italian community. Also direct flights Roma-Leeds if you ever want to come and have a look...
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