Sayem Shahrier

“It was at this moment that I realized that programmers are modern-day artists.”

Sayem Sharier

As a young New Yorker, Sayem always had a certain amazement for computers and technology. He remembers so well that when he was only six (6) years old, he had his first computer; a Windows 98 with a white, bulky monitor, a huge QWERTY keyboard, and an old school trackball mouse. Out of everyone in his family, he was the only one who seemed to enjoy the entertainment that came along with using a it.

He recalls spending so much time drawing pictures using Microsoft Paint, playing Solitaire and Pinball, and even just printing random pictures that he got from the internet.

Then when he turned eleven (11), he was introduced to another activity that would become his absolute passion; -music. He became a vocalist and started to play the harmonium, and a drum-like instrument called a tabla. He got so passionate with it that he started having a hard time choosing what to prioritize learning in his spare time. He initially wanted to just pick which one he liked better and just give the other one up. He had school too after all, so juggling between the two things he loved most doing proved so hard to do.

” But I realized music is my identity of my culture and I can’t lose that. “

Sayem Shahrier

He was so close to choosing music over programming because for him, music is part of his culture and his identity. Music is an art that he can never, ever, get out of, and bare losing.

Just when he thought that music will win his personal battle, programming slowly crawled its way back to his heart. He realzied that he couldn’t simply give it up, specially since technology has always been a strong interest to him. He knew that if he gave it up, he would miss out on something -he doesn’t know what- amazing.

” I knew that if I did not ride these trends I would be missing out on something tremendously great. “

Sayem Shahrier

It is with this realization that he began to make sure that he will find time to do both (of his passion) even if it took so much energy and time. He struggled for a bit to manage it, but as he said, looking back, it was all worth it.

His first official exposure of programming was when he graduated high school. He began with Java but it wasn’t exactly one of the best experiences of his life. His professors made him feel like he just wanted to give up on coding. It was not fun and the constant ridicule and condescension of his professors were not helping at all. But, instead of letting go, he took it as a challenge and found the determination and pushed himself to absolute limits. He finished with a B but he decided that this University was not for him, so he transferred.

There was something about this new school that felt different to him. Aside from the fact that it was here that he was first exposed to C++, it was also here that he met a young, unique professor, who was almost just his age. He taught programming in a different way: no books, no syllabus to follow. He even advised everyone to not buy the recommended book for the class. All he wanted to make them do was follow the slides that he created himself. Sayem wondered if this teacher really knew what he was doing, but then, to his surprise, everything made sense to him. The fundamentals with ease – if/else statements, for loops, while loops, switch statements, pointers, just to name a few-.

He went from hating Java to falling in love with C++. And in such a short time, he was able to create his own Scrabble game, Guessing game, and more. At one point, he was even able to remove an object using it’s pixels in certain images using programming. With this task, a realization was formed in his mind: ‘programmers like him are modern-day artists since they have the ability to create something amazing from complete scratch and make a solid product out of a few line of code.

” It was at this moment that I realized programmers like myself are like modern-day artists. We have the ability to create from complete scratch and make a solid product out of few lines of code and the potential impact it can make towards anyone in the world made me realize how powerful I am as a programmer .”

Sayem Shahrier

With this realization, he knew that his commitment in programming, and the passion to learn more about it in college was the absolute, right decision for his future. He knew that with this skill set, there is a power to potentially create something big for the world.

In 2016, in his sophomore year in college, he was introduced to Clever Programmer. He remembers so well the very first video that he saw: “Why you should learn to code – is a Software developer career worth it?” It was this guy named Qazi, who had a lot of excitement, enthusiasm, and energy. He exposed himself to others who were not even a little bit familiar with programming and made the whole thing interesting. He also found so much of himself in Qazi; -they were almost the same age, he was young but he also worked an insane amount of time, just like him. This was the time that Qazi became an inspiration to him.

Sayem loved Qazi so much that he started to dive into Python. And with no effort at all, he found Python way easier to deal with than C++

” The easy to read syntax made me so much more interested. “

Sayem Shahrier

Using Java, C++, and Python, he started to explore more advanced topics like Artificial Intelligence, and looking into possible careers like being a Data Scientist or Machine learning engineer. He kept on practicing his skills using the fundamentals because he knows that mastering the basics will be crucial in becoming a great programmer. He also decided to build his own website, and started to get his name out there. He created profiles in LinkedIn and created a Github portfolio because for him, a simple resume would not be enough for his huge dreams. He grew his own skills outside school, and even took a coding bootcamp that got him exposed to Cloud technologies and careers like DevOps Engineer and AWS Solutions Architect. With all these, he realized that Python is one of the most in-demand languages in the market and to know how to use it will be a valuable investment.

A few months ago, his investment in Python proved to be worth it as he now has a full-time career in a Fortune 500 private software company. This company competes with Oracle and he uses Python to write scripts in his day-to-day tasks. He now has so much fun in project-based learning. He is now in a corporate world where there is so much room for development and growth.

It was not an easy ride for Sayem. There were times when it seemed that giving up is the only thing that made sense to do. But where he is right now, with his fancy job and his own YouTube Channel, and so much skill, proves that nothing is impossible if you are determined to make it. Programming is hard, specially if you have another thing that would eat up time to do, and there would be times when you’d think so less of yourself since it’s such a damn hard skill to learn. But never give up. Keep learning and proving life wrong. This is what Sayem did. He is now a great programmer and an awesome musician all at the same time. So for those people out there who thinks that programming is such an impossible task to do, or if you have something else that’s not allowing you to balance your time in learning this valuable skill, this is what Sayem has to say:

Tips I have for programmers is to never give up and to always find ways to keep your motivation going and most importantly stay consistent. Musicians like myself have a lot of commonalities with programmers because our skills require practice and over time you develop the intuition and expertise in your field to perfect and simply. It becomes easier over time. Find good mentors with practical experiences, communicate with like-minded individuals/professionals in your field, and make friendships with those who you want to become that have leadership qualities. By having the right frame of mindset and surrounding yourself with the right kind of people I believe you have a better chance of becoming a leader in your field/domain.

Sayem Shahrier

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