danielmarquezIt wasn’t too long ago that I felt myself becoming a statistic. I was only going to school because I was told to, not because I saw a future for myself through education. I didn’t have any mentors to lead me in the right direction. Looking back, I realize how lost I was.

I was warned that I wasn’t going to graduate, so I had to go to adult classes at night to catch up. I ended up graduating on time and working the graveyard shift at a fast-food restaurant for minimum wage, but I knew I needed to figure something else out. That’s when a youth leader from my church told me about Year Up.

I applied immediately because I liked that I could get paid and learn at the same time. I hadn’t used a computer much, but during my Year Up training I fell in love with technology. Not only was I developing technical skills, I was becoming a professional. The instructors and staff at Year Up taught me how to be reliable and prepared for what’s ahead.

I went from not even knowing what Quality Assurance was, to specializing in it during my internship at SendMe. I was working alongside people who had been doing this for years and the Year Up intern who was there before me had set the standard high, so I encountered a little “tough love” from my team. Over time I earned their respect, and at the end of my internship my manager offered me a job and said they’d work around my class schedule so I could study programming. What I like most about Quality Assurance is that I can find issues that will help users have a better user experience with the company’s products. I recently transitioned to Moboom Ltd., where I’m working as a Quality Assurance Engineer. I am also attending City College San Francisco where I’m majoring in Computer Science. My goal is to become a software developer and then start my own business. I really believe there is no limit when planning your career.

When I look at the average 20-year-old Latino, not a lot of them are where I am. Most minorities think they can’t work in the corporate world, and that they should just settle for a low paying job. What they need is an opportunity to see their potential.