“I started programming in class 11, on my 1 GB RAM home computer. I didn’t know a lot and my slow computer didn’t allow me to do much. But I watched YouTube tutorials and tirelessly tried to run programs. One day, I had a breakthrough – I could get a “Hello world” to appear on my screen. I had achieved the most basic step in computer programming, but I felt like a wizard. I had made the computer to speak to me! That winter, my cousin who worked at the tech park in Thimphu took me to work with him. There I saw two men working on an android app. I was intrigued, and asked them ‘How? How do I change the Hello World into an app?’ They introduced me to android development. I could actually build something, and it felt magical. For practice, I made a calculator and a simple app to store my chemistry formula.

After class 12, I started making a proper app. My math teacher had scolded me for not having a formula book, so I wanted this app to solve that problem for students. It would keep track of every formula. I’d had a problem for the whole year, and this was the solution. This free app eventually won me the ICT champion award. When it was time to go to college, there were no ex-country IT engineering scholarships available. I had my heart set on IT so I ended up joining a college in Bhutan to study it. In the past year, I’ve worked on a flight information display system, which was a project my college had undertaken. I am now working on an individual project, which is almost done, along with a few smaller projects.

IT has been recognised as an important field, but funding is limited and our programmers are undervalued. People ask us to build elaborate websites but aren’t willing to pay its worth. When we take the initiative to create a useful app, there aren’t enough users. I am only an undergraduate student for now, but in the future I want to do something to encourage and boost Bhutan’s IT sector. I didn’t start programming for money or as a career but I now want to do this full-time. I have missed out on my social life for many reasons but programming has been a true friend to me; always there as a positive, progressive escape.”

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