03 June 2019
Gareth Small talks with Dave Rael about dark experiences, going to prison, software as a path to improvement, living with integrity, and teaching and learning

Gareth Small started learning how to code by building a browser based MMORPG in middle school. He loved it. Afterwards, he went a different direction, and ended up addicted to drugs. After high school, he was involved in a robbery and was sentenced to five years in prison shortly after. He didn't want this life. It was time to re-evaluate who he was. He wanted more out of life. During this time, he had the opportunity to help other inmates learn how to code. He spoke at the first ever tech conference in a prison on a 2D Canvas game he created. After release, he struggled to find work. He wasn't going to give up. He gained work experience through consulting and contracting for the first year where he scraped by just enough to survive. He interviewed for hundreds of jobs, failed, learned, adapted, and refined his interviewing process. In 2017, he was given the opportunity to work for a company which specialized in helping children with special needs through their charting software. Here, he gained a love for the quickly changing front-end. He has since become a specialist in front-end optimizations and technologies. With the hope of spreading what he's learned through interviewing and job hunting, he helps out in a slack group that focuses on helping felons returning to society who are interested in software development.

Gareth's top 3 tips for delivering more value:
  1. Always look for opportunities to grow (even in failure)
  2. Enjoy life (it's not promised)
  3. Take some time to understand what you want out of life

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