This Microsoft Software Engineer and former camper says the key to success is taking advantage of opportunities.
Charlie, excelling in his career as a Software Engineer II at Microsoft, encourages students to take the time to explore new things. He feels this is particularly important in the fields of STEM, where there are so many opportunities to pursue.
“When you’ve found something you want to do, dedicate the time to gain some experience and understanding. It’s important to not give up even if it doesn’t meet your expectations right away,” he says.
This was true for Charlie. While in middle school, he attended iD Tech Camps held at Princeton for several weeks over several summers, experimenting with different types of courses like web design and video game creation. However, it was the C++ programming course that sparked the series of events that led him to where he is today. It was the first time he had ever seen real computer code, let alone attempted to write some of his own.
“I definitely struggled with some of the concepts at first, but was just so enamored with all the possibilities now open to me that I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from learning as much as I could,” he says.
Charlie eagerly continued learning computer science throughout high school and then at Tufts University. He wanted to excite other students in programming too, so he returned to iD Tech as an instructor, teaching at Columbia in 2009 and MIT in 2010. He then became a Teaching Assistant for his college’s computer science introduction classes where he felt he could have the biggest impact.
“I think having a basic understanding of computer science is incredibly valuable today and is an increasingly necessary component of a well-rounded education,” says Charlie.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Tufts, Charlie moved to Seattle to work for Microsoft. Now, in his current role as Software Engineer II, he frequently uses the C++ programming language he learned in his very first iD Tech Camps programming course.
Charlie continued to inspire others as a yearlong volunteer for a program called TEALS. This national organization puts industry professionals into local high schools to teach computer science in underprivileged areas where students would not otherwise have the opportunity. Working alongside Microsoft engineers and industry professionals, Charlie was a TA for an AP Computer Science class at a local Seattle high school.
“iD Tech taught me technology gives everyone amazing experiences and opportunities, regardless of who they are or their background,” Charlie says. “Stay open to the idea of saying ‘yes’ to new opportunities. You never know what experience waiting around the corner might spark some previously undiscovered passion!”
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