The Road Ahead, Part 12

Published: October 16, 2018

Written By: Arthur Karambizi

 My name is Arthur Karambizi, and I was born in Rwanda. Growing up, I was interested in science and technology with the dream of becoming an engineer. In high school, I majored in sciences (mathematics, physics and geography) with the goal to pursue computer studies at a university and start a career as a software engineer. I finished high school in 2015 and moved to the United States to live with my sister in Clemson, South Carolina two years later.

Moving to the United States is one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced in my life.  Not only was it the first time I’ve ever been on a plane, but I also had to learn a lot to adapt to the culture and improve my English to blend into society. Attending college was no longer a possibility I could see for myself because it was very expensive. My goal to become an engineer was fading, but I refused to give up.

Four months after my arrival in the United States, I began to teach myself different programming languages through free online websites. I developed my skills through simple projects and tutorials, such as creating and designing web pages. Although I was teaching myself how to code, I knew it would be difficult to find a job without experience. I spoke to a friend – Thierry Kimenyi – who’s a software engineer at Red Ventures. That’s how I learned about the Road to Hire program and saw a perfect opportunity to learn how to code and grow professionally.

I immediately applied and was accepted into the program. Soon after that, we started a short training called the Gateway Academy, where my colleagues and I were introduced to web development basics, soft skills and Road to Hire’s core values. We were trained by program graduates, and it was very motivating for me to learn how they started their careers.

After I finished the Gateway Academy, I began the Road to Hire program. When I started the program, I was motivated to learn to code, but I did not want to challenge myself any more than that. I felt uncomfortable speaking in front of my peers or giving a presentation, but I learned very quickly that the program is not just about learning how to code. We discovered both professional and personal skills, from leadership and time management to writing professional emails. I learned how to give presentations and tell a story in front of my peers, which helped me gain more confidence in public speaking. Another important skill I gained during the program is effective communication in a team environment. I’ve learned how to receive and give feedback to my colleagues and teachers, which has allowed me to reflect on areas of growth and opportunity. Being in an environment where I feel comfortable has helped me grow professionally and learn how to build a good relationship with my team and mentors.

I’m thankful for the amazing opportunity that Road to Hire has given me. When I look back at the person I was before I started the program to the person I am today, I see a positive change. I was focused on becoming an engineer, but I didn’t know where to start or what I needed to do to get there. I didn’t realize that succeeding in life and pursuing a career requires a combination of professional skills and team collaboration. Throughout the program, I learned to challenge myself by getting out of my comfort zone and facing my fears. Today, one month before the end of the program, my goal is to graduate from Road to Hire and start a career in software development. I look forward to helping guide new students who are excited by the same challenges and are ready to learn new skills.