How building apps taught me more than coding

May 08, 2019 | GET MORE : Community

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High school sophomore Ashley Chen writes about participating in app development competition Technovation. 

Chen is a member of team Computer Glitz, which visited the U.S. Bank boardroom to pitch executives (she is pictured above with Chairman, President and CEO Andy Cecere) as practice for Appapalooza, the upcoming statewide level of the competition taking place on May 11.

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what occupation I want to pursue in the future. However, I do know that I have grown to love what I do in Technovation. Before it, I thought Java was a type of coffee. While I still have much to learn, I have become more experienced in both coding and entrepreneurship thanks to the program. 

In my first year of Technovation, I learned so much about entrepreneurship and business. It was fun designing our app and I took joy bragging about our app in the form of our business plan and pitch video. My writing, presentation, and persuasion skills became more refined and have only gotten better over the last few seasons. In addition, I have also gotten more confident. Before, I would have immediately rejected the idea of speaking in front of a room full of judges, and while that idea might still make me nervous, at least now I am not immediately running for the hills. 

What I learned the most in, however, is coding. I wasn’t heavily involved in coding in my first two seasons of Technovation. For this season I decided that I wanted to learn and be more involved with that aspect. This inspired me to sign up for my school’s AP Computer Science class. I am positive, if it weren’t for Technovation, I would never have considered taking it. The class itself is very fun and I really enjoy the problem solving.In Technovation this season I worked mainly on integration, which is entirely different from what I did in AP Computer Science. Dealing with interactions between different modules and classes was a completely new experience. I can now proudly say that Stack Overflow is one of my favorite websites. 

What I have really enjoyed as well is meeting different people. Thanks to Technovation, I have been able to meet people of all ages who are all interested in helping each other. I have received so much help from my mentors who are all amazing people. In addition, I have been able to meet other girls who are interested in technology, entrepreneurship, and making the world a better place. I have learned so much and have been inspired by so many people. 

Overall, Technovation has taught me so much. While I may not know what I want to do in the future, I feel much better prepared. Today, technology is everywhere. Being able to code, no matter the profession, is a serious asset. In addition, the other skills that Technovation teaches such as problem solving, persuasion, and planning are all things that you would need in any type of job as well. Technovation has made my life better. For that, I am thankful. 

Written by Ashley Chen with photos by Justin Yunke of U.S. Bank. Learn more about Technovation and how U.S. Bank supports women in technology.