At a young age, Aaron discovered a love for cracking puzzles. Born and raised in Warsaw, Indiana, he explored a natural desire to take pieces of hardware apart to learn how they function. Putting them back together was an entirely different challenge and in his words, “the most addicting puzzle I could find.”
Aaron enrolled at Indiana University with a non-technical major. “I studied Sociology because in my mind it is the study of chaotic patterns. People are uniquely unpredictable and complex, so trying to find reasonable patterns to explain chaotic human behavior takes strong analytical skills to be done well.” A Computer Science major was added to his curriculum as a practical complement. It wasn’t until he dove head first into his first semester of CS courses that he came to realize a love for the algorithmic approach to solving problems.
Computer Science allows Aaron to create solutions for users. He defines the software engineering process as “being given a bunch of puzzles to solve; I get to make my own pieces by drawing from my personal experience and the experiences of others.” Aaron was not always successful the first time around when trying to solve more complex puzzles. Software engineering required a different level of thinking than he was used to and his school projects did not always function correctly the first 5, 10, or 20 times he compiled or ran them. He viewed this new level of thinking as an opportunity to sharpen his analytical and diagnostic skills when viewing a problem. “You can only fail at something so many times before you need to re-evaluate the process you are using to solve the particular problem.”
Aaron took every opportunity available to him at IU to expand his field of knowledge in CS. One of his most impactful ventures was to take a leadership role in an informatics course in the School of Informatics and Computing at IU. As an Undergraduate Instructor for an introductory class, Aaron earned a nomination for a leadership position within the department. He used this opportunity to take a step back and attack problems from a wider perspective, making decisions and course plans that would affect the entire department. Ultimately, his goal was to invent projects that would add value to the course itself and could be student led.
After graduation, Aaron connected through a friend with TechPoint’s talent initiatives. Aaron has found his first post-grad job with BidPal as an Indy Tech Fellow and full stack Associate Software Engineer supporting the company’s product team. Today, Aaron’s bigger projects include updating the company’s mobile bidding platform utilizing the Angular 2 framework to provide the best possible user experience during a client’s fundraising event.
It’s the people who appeal to Aaron. That’s what he loves most about being a part of the Indy Tech Fellowship. Despite CS grads typically being pretty quiet at first, after bridging the gap “they are one heck of a group,” Aaron says. The program is boosting his confidence in other areas of life, too.
“I try to do all kinds of crazy things outside of 9-5,” Aaron said. “I love learning new things and I’m becoming a major adrenaline junkie. I am making plans to jump out of an airplane sometime this year and participate in my first Tough Mudder hardcore obstacle race. I like the type of activity that makes my body get a little nervous.”
Aaron thinks Indianapolis’ mix of affordability and technology culture creates an unbeatable scene for young adults. It allows them to invest in experiences to better themselves instead of sinking money into a higher cost of living. Some of Aaron’s favorites are Indy Tacos — “they are just really good tacos!” He says visitors and newbies must see Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press in concert and they have to see an IMAX movie at the State Museum.
“After the two year fellowship I see myself deciding between staying in Indianapolis or taking some time to explore the world. Travel is one of the biggest things on my to-do list, but after falling in love with the city of Indianapolis it will be a tough decision.”