An unlikely job led Damian O'Farrill to catch the coding bug: salsa dance instructor.
O'Farrill was teaching salsa lessons in Mexico. He didn't have a tech background, but he knew there had to be a better way to keep track of his students' progress and keep up on billing than with old-fashioned pen and paper.
He turned to low-code platforms — products that allow users to build applications with very little coding knowledge. Low-code platforms focus more on dragging and dropping prebuilt components than writing code. Using a low-code platform from Salesforce.com and instructional videos from Salesforce.com's Trailhead website, O'Farrill built his own application to monitor his students' levels and payment schedules. But it didn't stop there.
O'Farrill caught the coding bug, inspired by all he could do with low-code platforms. He started trying more tools and learning programming languages online. A few years after O'Farrill built his first application to monitor salsa dance lessons, he began searching for jobs in the United States. He knew it would be particularly difficult finding work as a foreigner who needed sponsorship. "If I didn't have my Salesforce knowledge, I'm pretty sure I would not have been sponsored by any company," he said.
Today he is in charge of marketing and sales automation at software design and services company Autodesk. "I was really doing creative work then. I had nothing to do with coding," O'Farrill said. "Now people perceive me as the tech guy."