Interview with Erion Adams, Emerging Tech Developer

- 8 mins

Erion Adams

Tell me a little about your current role: where you work, your title and generally what sort of work you and your team do?

Currently I am an Emerging Tech Developer at Carnevale. I am currently working on getting certificates in the HarvardX CS50 Intro to Computer Science and Intro to Game Development classes while Carnevale is supporting me along the way. I am also learning CasualOS, developing projects that will best point me in the direction of work I will be doing at Carnevale and C# in the future. Think of my role being more of an apprenticeship. At Carnevale we focus on the future. We create AR/VR, advanced mobile apps, advanced websites and IoT. Most of the team has a background in game development and that is kind of how we create our version of “the future”. Most things are created around interaction.

When did you know that you wanted to work in tech?

I think I always knew I wanted to work in tech. Before I started actually working at a tech company I was heavily into content creation, specifically videography. I started videography at 14 and just ended very recently at the age of 21. Throughout all of my years as a videographer I thought my love for it came from storytelling. Storytelling was an aspect that I did really like about videography but when I was thinking of transitioning into tech I had a lot to discuss with myself. I found out that I loved all the gear I got to use doing videography. Drones, electronic gimbals, mirrorless cameras, audio devices, the science behind getting a clear image, etc. A lot of videographers say true videography doesn’t need gear and that the story is the art but sometimes I hated hearing that because for me it was both: gear and the story. If I was only focusing on the story I found that I wouldn’t be nearly as inspired as working with really cool gear on top of telling a cool story.. But, for the work I’m doing, if there was not a story, there was not a video. After I came across that thought I decided to prioritize my interest in tech and find other versions of technology I could learn about. I took a career exploration class starting in April 2021 and found deep interest in coding and the tech world. It made sense. I would spend all my free time watching videos about IoT devices, Teslas, Tesla’s competitors, new tech, etc. After doing research on the tech industry and what kind of careers would be available to me, it was a no brainer. I was especially interested in software development.

You followed a non-traditional path into tech (like me) right? What did your path look like?

I went to college for Media and Information (Filmmaking) at Michigan State University right out of high school. My first (and last) year at MSU was great. Everything except my major on top of taking classes I didn’t need as an art major. I passed my major classes with flying colors because I already knew everything we were learning about filmmaking. It was too intro for me and I felt like I was wasting my money. I was active in other filmmaking teams and groups and even had a campus job as a videographer for a few of the university’s social media pages. I did videography 24/7 at college with no real growth in my craft with no time of my own to challenge myself and eventually get tired of it. I dropped out after my freshman year to try wedding videography on my own but less than a year later, I proved to myself that I was in fact still tired of videography even after making time to challenge myself. A few burner jobs later, I was given an opportunity to film a few videos for the company I currently work for, Carnevale. I took the opportunity because I needed money to pay my bills and I had the skill to do so. Very shortly after I started the videography project with Carnevale I got into an apprenticeship tied to a year internship at Spectrum Health as a SQL Analyst. We learned things like SQL, Python, AWS, Informatica Power Center, Agile, etc. I explained to Carnevale why I wanted to pivot into tech and about the apprenticeship and they told me to stay in touch during and after the apprenticeship and so I did. I’m glad I did because I was offered a position in the middle of my previous apprenticeship allowing me to decline the internship at Spectrum Health in insurance and work and create really cool technology.

Who is a role model that you look up to?

I look up to anyone who is future focused. If I see someone genuinely focused on their goals and their future in a non-destructive way, they are a role model. A lot of my friends are role models. Every time someone close to me achieves something it only makes me want to do more for myself and for them to keep going as well. For people I don’t know, while on my tech journey I have been watching a lot of Bukola on YouTube. She’s a black woman working in tech with no degree in Computer Science and an ex-software engineer but now a Software Developer Advocate at Google. Her channel has lots of inspirational videos for African Americans getting into or already into tech.

What is a struggle that you’ve faced and how did you handle it?

I think my biggest struggle so far has been imposter syndrome. Some things take me a long time to understand and sometimes it is frustrating. Before pivoting into tech I thought it would be too hard for me so when something is really hard it’s discouraging. I handle imposter syndrome and discouragement by doing something that gets me inspired and excited about my future and keeping my “I can’t give up, I can do this” attitude which is definitely easier said than done. For me these two things tend to be enough to keep me going but sometimes I need to apply these methods multiple times a week.

What’s something that you are immensely proud of?

I am immensely proud that I don’t and won’t do things that don’t make me happy. And if I do it’s only because I’m planning how I should pivot. Having that habit, while of course being mindful and strategic and while I’m young, to me is powerful. It allows me to dream bigger and do more with my life. I make things happen for myself.

If you could give your 18-year old self advice, what would it be?

Although I recently turned 21, I’ve learned a lot. I think the biggest thing I learned and that I would tell my 18 year old self is to be more bold in my decisions, trust my gut, know that I’m not behind in life, and to start learning to be okay when things don’t turn out perfect.

What’s something that’s been on your mind a lot lately?

Getting a personal trainer and continuing my fitness journey. In the last 2 years I learned that fitness makes me more productive but it takes a while to get over the “just do it” hump after you’ve been out of it for a while. Now that I’m pretty stationary for my job it’s even more important for me to keep active.

What inspires you or makes you feel like your best self?

For me this is a simple answer. Other people’s goals and achievements inspire me. A lot of people tend to get jealous when others talk about their achievements and goals but for me it just makes me want to work harder for myself and reach my own goals and be proud of my own achievements. Of course I’ve had thoughts of just being okay where I’m at and staying stationary but challenging myself and wanting to grow and work hard while also giving myself time to play is my best self. If I give up my desire for growth and I’m not setting the best example for others around me then I feel I’m not being my best self.

If you could try another job for a day, what would it be?

I would probably try being a real estate agent somewhere like Los Angeles. It’s a career I considered after dropping out of college. I love real estate but I don’t think I would make a good sales woman, although it would be really cool to sell multi-million dollar houses for a day!

What are some resources (books, blogs, people, etc.) you’ve learned from?

Tech groups on Facebook, tech channels and career channels on Youtube, my team at Carnevale, other developers I know through networking, and of course Randy Kinne.

You can find Erion on LinkedIn

Randy Kinne

Randy Kinne

Software Engineer

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