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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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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For the second interview, I’m happy to invite Henry Ng, a software engineer at SolarCity. 吳奉全  is Henry’s Chinese name (if you are wondering). He can speak Mandarin and Cantonese (and English of course).
We chatted about Henry’s decision to move to the Bay area from Canada, and about the differences he’s found between San Francisco and other parts of the world. He thinks people in SF are more forward thinking. People in SF believe they can change the world and improve society. He talks about how Canadians fit into the Silicon Valley. Visa issues and housing conditions are big concerns to almost every immigrant here.

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For the first interview, I’m honored to interview Jordan Olthoff, a software engineer at SolarCity. In this episode, we learn that Jordan grew up in San Diego and came to the Bay area 6 years ago. He studied psychology in college and has pharmaceutical research experience. He recently started his career as a Software Engineer at SolarCity. We had an interesting discussion about how psychology might influence his thinking and help him in developing software.

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