FTC Robotics SnakeByte team visits Headspring
We consider the projects we get to work on every day pretty awesome, but we were really wowed by what this group of Austin high school students is working on in their spare time. The Vandegrift High School FTC 4546 Snakebyte Robotics Team came by Headspring to talk to about the robot competition they’re entering and other tech-stracurriculars they’re working on, and to learn more about what we do. Trinh Nguyen, Landon Palmer, Paul Clukey, and Viraj Ramachandran presented at our Friday all-hands meeting and then joined us for Taco Deli lunch (a staff favorite—we roll out the best for our guests!).

FTC Robotics Trinh and Landon

Afterward, a group of Headspringers sat with the students to share their own stories, work highlights, and inspirations. The SnakeByte team asked some really smart questions about the state of the industry, the way we work with clients, and the not-always-traditional paths to success that exist in tech. The responses from our team pointed towards prevailing themes: a passion for learning, and the desire to make a difference.

Principal Consultant and Career Start instructor Patrick Lioi talked about how the process of learning to code in a new language got him hooked on his own career path:

“[Learning Pearl] changed the way I thought, and that was amazing. I tried to learn a little bit about as many languages as I could. It changed the way I was thinking again and again, every time I learned a new one.” – Patrick Lioi, Principal Consultant

Senior Consultant Erin Knight (a former music teacher) also touted curiosity as one of her main success-drivers in the technology world and beyond:

“I’m always thinking, ‘How can I use this for something I want to do instead of just completing the assignment?’ It helps you think iteratively. Taking that approach my whole life has helped me out. If you’re interested in something, really pursue it beyond what’s on the paper and make it interesting to you.” – Erin Knight, Senior Consultant

We hope our words made an impact, and we were curious to hear more about this gifted group’s views on the future of technology as well as their own goals. The Snakebyte team members were gracious in sharing their answers to a few questions we had for them, too:

What got you excited about technology and where do you see it factoring into your futures?

My inspiration started when I first got “Hello World?” to output in code. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Inspired by this, I started building websites in my own time and I’m currently working on an application of my own. I want to eventually become a software engineer at a software development company.
– Landon Palmer

Why do you think technology is so important?

I believe the direction we are heading with technology will greatly affect our future. Software is the oil that runs our world, though we may not realize it. It is, in so many aspects, our daily lives. Personally, I’m excited to see how more advanced algorithms affect the future of AI/machine learning.
– Landon Palmer

Technology is our future. With more integration of everyday objects through the internet, development of AI, storage on the Cloud, we make leaps and bounds in the development of humanity as a whole.
– Paul Clukey

Who are some of your biggest mentors or inspirations?

Hearing about the great achievements of alumni from our Robotics team is inspiring. It really shows us how much of an impact the Robotics program has had on students, and how they take their experiences and apply what they learned during high school to college and their professional careers.
– Trinh Nguyen

What made you choose Headspring as an organization to engage?

We sought to find an established organization in the local community that had involvement in the STEM field. As a large portion of our team is interested in a career in software, we wanted to find an opportunity for these members to gain inspiration by seeing the real world application of computer programming.
– Trinh Nguyen

What stood out about your visit to Headspring? Did anything surprise you?

All of the Headspring staff made our team feel extremely welcome. I really liked the collaborative feel of Headspring; I think the communication incites stronger problem-solving skills and allows for a positive environment.
– Paul Clukey

Something that surprised me was the pleasant and inviting office atmosphere—that really helps avoid stress. I was also pleasantly surprised by the friendly “brags” amongst team members at the company meeting.
– Viraj Ramachandran

What were the best pieces of advice or takeaways you received?

One piece of advice I really loved was to start developing software on my own, to set myself apart from others in the field. It’s something I took to heart and have begun working on. I know this will benefit my future greatly, and I have some great people at Headspring to thank for that.
– Landon Palmer

Thanks to the Vipers for stopping by and sharing your stories. We look forward to learning from and supporting the next generation of world-changers.

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