CTD grad goes from struggling with English to working as a programmer at Duke University

When Fernando thinks back to his first days in the United States they weren't easy. "I cried in the classroom because everyone was speaking English and I didn't understand what they were saying," he remembers.

Fernando is originally from Honduras, and as a child he didn't have much access to computers. But he was always interested, from the time he first saw one in an internet cafe. 

Fernando laughing cropped.png

When Fernando's family came to the United States, they settled in Johnston County. And there the opportunities were still limited, but Fernando pushed on and completed an associates degree at Johnston Community College. He still hadn't given up his dream of learning to code.

Two years ago, Fernando got an email about Code the Dream. He didn't think twice. He took the 12 week beginner course; then moved on to the intermediate course; and finally advance to making a much needed app for the nonprofit Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF).

Together with fellow CTD grad Jorge Rodriguez, Fernando developed an app called ConectateCarolina.org to help migrant farmworkers find education, health and other resources nearby. For 10 months he worked hard on this app, taking into account feedback from SAF as well as from some of the farmworkers who now use the app.

Fernando believes learning to code has widened his interest in learning new things. He also believes it has made him more persistent. "For example, when I want to learn something new, coding has taught me to keep on pushing and finish what I want to learn."  

This month Fernando is taking those skills and persistence to a new job as a software developer at Duke University. We are all proud of all the hard work Fernando has put in and all he has achieved as he embarks on his new career.   

Posted on August 16, 2017 .