"It is easiest to learn programming skills when trying to implement a project yourself. Look online for example projects or how to get started with your own coding project."
My career roadmap has been somewhat defined.
Built a calculator using an Arduino for my high school senior capstone project.
Got accepted into Georgia Tech for Computer Engineering. I came in as CompE because of my capstone project which combined elements of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.
Did preliminary research on careers post-graduation and decided to switch my major to Computer Science because it better aligned with my desired career path.
Got an internship at Fiserv for Software Engineering after my first year of college. I did most front-end development in React.js and thought it was monotonous, so I decided that I didn't want that to be my career path.
Worked another internship the next summer at Amazon Web Services as a Cloud Consultant. Before starting the role, I was excited to explore consulting. However, I quickly found out that the role was actually SWE, and I was mainly doing front-end development with some machine learning.
At the end of the internship, I realized that I didn't mind doing front-end work and that I wanted to discover machine learning more.
I accepted my return offer for the upcoming summer at AWS, and I am excited to continue to explore machine learning and further develop my skills as a front-end developer. At this point, I expect my career path to start off with front-end development but to hope to transition to a machine learning-oriented role in the near future.
Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Technology Student Association (TSA)
Senior Capstone Project (building a calculator)
DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER
Sigma Phi Epsilon (helped with connections for my major and internships)
Software Engineering Intern at Fiserv
Software Engineering Intern at AWS
What I'm currently doing/hope to do
I am about to finish up my third year at Georgia Tech, and I am working an internship at AWS for a second summer. I am excited to continue to explore machine learning and further develop my skills as a front-end developer. I hope to work for a big tech company as a Software Engineer after graduation. At this point, I expect my career path to start off with front-end development but to hope to transition to a machine learning-oriented role in the near future. I have tentative plans to return to graduate school several years into my career if I can get my company at that time to sponsor my degree. I would return hoping to secure a more managerial role at a big tech company. Eventually, I am interested in joining the startup scene after I have built up the foundation for my career.
How to maximize my time in high school?
Start coding as early as you can. If your school offers Computer Science classes, take them. If not, take CS courses online or start playing around with software by yourself using resources online. Use the plethora of resources around you to develop your knowledge of CS.
Join clubs relevant to Computer Science. Robotics and technology clubs are great places to start, but these are definitely not the only clubs that help you develop programming skills. These clubs provide a community of students with similar interests to you and are some of the best places to go to develop necessary skills
It is easiest to learn programming skills when trying to implement a project yourself. Look online for example projects or how to get started with your own coding project. This will be a great start for you to learn the skills of programming at your own pace, and have something to show for it.