In contrast to most my classmates, I was excited to learn just about everything in school. Be it history and geography, or math and physics. School wasn't even enough. Back home, I’d take my father’s books to read. Books like The Servant, Freakonomics and The Facebook Effect. By then, I was just a 13-year-old nerdy kid.
Still, these “business books” amazed me. Reaching the age of 15, I racked up all my savings and bought my first book: Outliers. What an amazing book! It inspired me to try and become a successful businessman. Well, maybe it wasn't for books—in our generation, striving to be the next Steve Jobs or to create the next Facebook is trendy. Either way, after high school I was sure a business degree was the right next move.
I started pursuing a business degree at FGV [Fundação Getúlio Vargas], one of the top colleges for business administration in Brazil. I was super excited to master the art of business and to meet my new classmates. But my first college year didn't start so well…
The courses were way too theoretical. It wasn't nearly as practical as I had expected. I wanted to build products and services. In order to acquire the knowledge that would get me there, I started to work in the Entrepreneurship FGV Center and in a Private Equity Firm. I still kept learning business and marketing at school, but I wasn't happy with the process.
Dropping out of college to code
Then, something changed the course of my life. I was chosen to participate in a digital entrepreneurship course called Sthart. That got me in contact with the “startup world”. Soon, I was in a room with a hundred extremely talented people. I met designers, other business school students, and most importantly, software engineers.
It was my first contact with software developers. I was curious about their magic: turning code into amazing websites. How could “words” in a computer become a great product? I wanted to find out.
"I need to learn this"—that was my first reaction. After a few magical interactions with developers, I was lured into their world. And I wanted a real way in. So I started to code.
After my business classes, I'd browse Udacity, Coursera, edX, Codecademy or whatever website that would help me learn to code. Programming became a passion.
I started with Python, a beautiful programming language. I coded games like "rock paper scissors lizard spock", "snake" and "tic-tac-toe". Those were basic coding tasks, but still, very important exercises that taught me to be practical with my newly acquired skills.
By then, business school didn’t make sense for me. Finally, I dropped out of college to have more time to learn programming and do what I was really passionate about.
After I dropped out, I worked at Sequenza IT Solutions (a consulting firm), Codus Tecnologia (as a technical consultant), Geekie (an EdTech startup) and now Worldpackers (a travel startup) as a software engineer building great digital products.
Hackathons and programming competitions
I was self-teaching myself to code, but I was never doing it alone. Along with a hundred coders, I was chosen to participate in the Ambev Hackathon. They had a lot of talented people, and we were served great food and drinks 😎 The hackathon was an amazing experience. I was proud of my team: we built an app that matched food with harmonious drinks.
Taking part in a programming competition was another great learning experience. I got into a competition called InterFatecs & ACM ICPC. It involved programming problems about algorithms and data structures. All the finalists had their hotel and amazing food paid for by the organizers!
Pushing the limit
I want to keep on learning, trying new things, and building awesome products. And books are still helping me do it. I love reading books like:
- Biographies (Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Mastery…): I really enjoy the construction of a marking personality—how people who have a lasting impact on history come to be.
- Business books (Zero to One, Outliers, The Facebook Effect…): As I told you, I've been reading these since I was a kid. It feels good to understand how companies work, and how they dominate their market.
- Product books (Hooked, The Lean Startup, Platform Scale…): I'm passionate about building engaging things that solve big problems. I strive to be a creator and problem solver.
- Technical books (Clean Code, Design Patterns, Cracking the Coding Interview…): The deep study of software engineering is a big part of my life. One of my last reads, "The Effective Engineer", explains what makes great engineers.
Recently, I read Code Energy's great book for beginners: Computer Science Distilled. It's a slim intro to computer science, that includes everything you need to know about algorithms and data structures. Check it out!
I share what I'm reading with my digital bookshelf, built with ♥ using HTML + CSS + AngularJS. I’m also sharing every single day of my journey to learn programming, AI, machine learning, web development and other fun stuff on Instagram.
Lastly, I’m looking for a side project involving travel or education, my two passions. But I didn’t decide on a which project yet. I’ll write about it in another story, okidoki? 🤓
That's it guys! Have fun, always keep on learning and code on!
This article was first published on the author's blog.