I gave a speech at SolarCity Toastmasters today. Here is my speech transcript.

Steve Jobs once said, “I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.” Marc Andressen has a famous article, “Why Software Is Eating The World,” about how software is automating all kinds of routine jobs, and coding is becoming a digital literacy. Therefore today, I want to tell you why you should learn how to code and where to start.

There are three main benefits I think coding can bring you. First is job opportunities; second is the fun to create your own projects; third is the super power in the future.
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Do you know how to pronounce Parenteau? Evelyn explains how to pronounce her last name. If you want to know how to pronounce her name correctly, listen to this episode. Her last name was popular in France (not sure about the current status). If you know French, maybe you already got it right. 🙂


Evelyn is a full stack engineer. She works on the front end, back end, embedded, Linux kernel, drivers, CPU design, and board design. Basically she can work from the front end to the parts reaching the manufacturing materials.


Evelyn speaks highly of the computer systems engineering major she took in college. She learned electricity, circuit, transistor, and also computer science fundamental, different languages, and software engineering practices. She feels that she got the best parts from electrical engineering and computer science training.

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Chris Chang is a little offended for not being interviewed as the first guest of Passage to Silicon Valley. ? Chris is a QA engineer (his official title is Quality Ensurance Specialist) in the Embedded Team at SolarCity. Chris studied Economy in college. He took only one CS class (which is amazing!) in his undergraduate. He happened to have a chance to work as an engineer after college and he then settled for that career. He likes his current job because otherwise he would need to dress up all the time (when I interviewed him, he was wearing a T-shrt, khakis, and basketball shoes).

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Aman is a data scientist at SolarCity. In this episode, she talks about her journey in the US. She was an international student coming from Punjab, India, and she finished her master and phD studies at UC San Diego and UC Merced. Currently, she’s working in the Silicon Valley as a data scientist.
She explains how data scientists work. She uses mostly Python and Matlab to help her process data. One good advantage of Matlab is that it’s simple and can help you test data quickly. The down side is that it’s very expensive and not open sourced.

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Michael Gao is a Software Engineer at SolarCity. In this episode, Michael talks about his decision to return to the Bay Area after graduating from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Michael started out as an environmental engineer, researching hurricane induced power outages but later became a software engineer. To help contribute to his research group’s model, he learned R programming, and eventually learned other software tools to explore ways to the model faster and more accurate.


He remains curious in learning. He sees programming as a tool, and the application is where his passion derives from. He feels it’s quite fortunate and a coincidence for him to become a software engineer. He talked about how he got the job at SolarCity by learning about the opportunity at a conference. Michael compared the differences between working as *a contractor within an applied science program* at NASA and SolarCity.

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