My dream, my journey: Tatiana’s Avanade scholarship story
- Posted on April 11, 2016
“There is no dream that cannot be realized; there is only a long path to follow. Those who persevere, and succeed, are called Achievers.” -- Tatiana Kambwa, Avanade 15 for 15 scholarship recipient
When I was a kid, in Congo-Kinshasa, I dreamt I would grow up to be a fashion designer. My mother was a tailor, and I was impressed by how a simple piece of fabric can become a wonderful dress, or blouse—observing my mother created in me the passion for designing and creating small items to satisfy others.
Many years later, Victor, my bother-in-law, sent me a magazine which changed my goal from Fashion Design to Software Development. Friends and family thought that software development was an industry where I would compete with men and many suggested that I become a nurse or preschool teacher instead. I ended up earning a high school diploma in Fashion Design, but I still wanted to create applications that people could use. I earned a certificate in Windows forms programming with Visual Basic 6.0 and Crystal report. I then wrote a calculator application, which performed simple mathematical operations and displayed the answer within a textbox. I was so happy with what I had accomplished that I knew I would become a software developer.
When I moved to the United States, I had to find a way to achieve my goal. “The sky is the limit” as Americans say. I first applied for a customer service position, not only to learn and practice English, but also to improve my listening skills while learning to satisfy customers’ needs. At the same time, I learned basic C# with Visual Studio 2005 by reading tutorial from a French forum. Then, I enrolled at Chaffey College and earned an Associate Degree in Business applied Technology. I then transferred to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona to continue my education
Although I was pleased at the progress I’d made to achieve my goals; at the same time, I was anxious about how to pay my tuition and others expenses. One day, I received an email from the CIS department, encouraging students to apply for the Avanade 15 for 15 Scholarship. So I did. It is sometimes surprising how small efforts can lead to big results. I cannot thank Avanade enough for such a gift, such a wonderful opportunity. Avanade’s scholarship is not only about money, it comes with a mentorship and internship. My Avanade mentor, Chetana, told me that a developer must effectively listen, understand, and communicate with customers. A programming language is a tool to implement code, but you need to be able to do more than that. This includes critical thinking and analytical skills to design and implement a system. In other words, if you know how to drive a Toyota, you will know how to drive a Nissan; it is not about cars, it is about knowing how to drive.
I know I’m not a professional software developer yet, but soon I will be. For now, I’m preparing myself for Avanade’s annual Innovation Contest – an internal competition where employees submit their ideas for the opportunity to win money and bring their innovation to life - held in Seattle in June. The contest is another chance to learn, to discover, and to have fun. Thank you, Avanade.
Blog post written by Tatiana Kambwa an Avanade 15 for 15 recipient. Tatiana is a junior at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis on Computer Information Systems. Fluent in French and English, she likes to be in an environment where she can learn about public speech, programming, database management, playing and helping others.