A stroke of luck; both good and bad

Topics
Development
Author
David Garrood
Publication Date
30 July 2021

A stroke of luck; both good and bad

After completing a traineeship with Mobiquity, David joined the team as a frontend engineer. His story is an inspirational one, which demonstrates the power of a strong belief and mindset, to get you through even the most daunting of challenges.

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David Garrood: Over four years ago I started out on a world trip to visit and explore some of the EU. The Netherlands was my last stop. As my nana had immigrated from there to New Zealand after the war, I was curious to find out more about her home country. I ended up loving it here and decided to make the move to Amsterdam. I have a passion for parkour. However, as New Zealand is a small country the architecture there is quite basic, meaning it’s hard to find a good place to train. Here in the EU they actually have dedicated parks for parkour, so I love that. For me it's a chance to switch off and give my all. I am a very determined person who enjoys challenging myself to the limit, so oftentimes I would train so hard I can barely walk up the stairs. I also love computer games and movies, the more bizarre an environment and storyline there is, the more I enjoy it.

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Stepping into the IT landscape

In Amsterdam an opportunity arose for me to take part in a Google scholarship Nano Degree online, where I could learn the basics HTML, CSS and Javascript. I was then one of the 1,000 selected out of 10,000, to go on and do a six months Nano Degree online. It was a great course, with lots of projects that grew increasingly more difficult. When I was close to completing the course, I started to look for a job and that is when I saw the Mobiquity launchpad trainee program advertised. The program was three months long and consisted of inhouse training, and peer programming sessions with some of the Mobiquity development team. I really enjoyed the traineeship as I got to meet a lot of amazing people, but also learnt so much. It was also a great way to get to know Mobiquity as a company, and I quickly fell in love with the culture. There really is a unique blend of fun, professionalism and hard work throughout the organisation. After the traineeship, I was chosen to stay on and to become part of the Mobiquity team as a frontend engineer. I really admire how open Mobiquity was to take me on as an underskilled new person and give me a chance to succeed and grow.

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Pushing through a challenging time

Last July I suffered a stroke. There were two large blood clots on the right side of my brain which left me with full paralysis in my left side. Thankfully, it didn’t impact my cognitive abilities or personality, just my motor skills. After my time in the hospital, I spent almost two months in a rehab facility (Reade) where I had to start to teach the left side of my brain how to control the left side of my body. This was not only a huge physical challenge for me but also a very mentally challenging time for me. I am forever thankful to all the incredible people, including many of my new friends made through Mobiquity who stood by and supported me (one of which even drove to the hospital to see me within hours of it happening!). I also greatly appreciate how Mobiquity worked with me and supported me through my stroke.

I am a strong believer that you can train yourself to be good in anything you want to achieve. Through this mindset I was able to push myself and my body to slowly overcome the paralysis and start to learn to function and walk again. It is still a work in progress, and I have regained all feeling on my left side, apart from my fingertips on my left hand where I only have minimal feeling.

Last March I started re-integrating back into my role at Mobiquity. Even though it has become more challenging for me to do my job as a developer, I wasn't going to just give up and quit. Nowadays, there are plenty of tools available that can help, but even if that doesn’t work for me, development isn't just about typing. It is much more than that. It’s about the thinking, planning, problem solving, construction of elements and understanding of the code, so I can still bring value to a team in other ways.

A fun loving and inclusive culture

The Mobiquity culture is amazing. It's a global organisation filled with people from countries all over the world and all walks of life, which I think is incredible. It is a very fun loving and inclusive culture. I quickly found others who loved to play board games just like me, so we started up a board game club where a group of us meet after work (often also eat pizza!), have a few games playing simultaneously and relax and have fun together. It is a great way to build connections with people. What is my favourite board game? I am enjoying Everdel lately, but I would have to say my all time favourite is Civilization, even though it is super long and complex. It's great that even through lockdown the culture is kept alive and thriving through online activities. This shows the true spirit of the Mobiquity culture.

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Writing Javascript and seeing it come to life

What does a Frontend Engineer do? We work on adding the look and feel to the website, how it interacts with and displays data and how it behaves when interacted with. As a junior, I get to work alongside the more senior people in the company on different projects. It can sometimes be challenging as not every client is willing to let juniors on the team. However, there are always opportunities to learn at Mobiquity. While waiting to be assigned to a client project, my fellow trainees and I wanted to put our knowledge to the test and build an application from start to finish. The idea was to connect to different api databases that would provide information on movies and tv series, so you could keep up to date on all shows. Essentially we created an internal movie app which was really cool.

What I enjoy most about my job is writing Javascript and seeing it come to life. I love how you can write symbols and letters that have no real meaning, but a computer can interpret what you write and treat it a certain way to provide a specific output. For each product we work on we need to think about not only how the end product will look, but also how the customer will interact with it. You can view development in the same way as a puzzle. Each department or competency must work together to fit each part of the puzzle to get to the desired result, and if one is left out you will end up missing part of the overall picture.

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