Introducing Developer of Technical Content, Dhruv Patel

June 15, 2021
Written by
Twilion
Reviewed by
Twilion

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Where it started

Being born in 1999, I was offered the best of both worlds. A life with and without the reign of technological inventions. When I had the first generation Game Boy in my hands, it opened my eyes to the wonders of technology. How did they make this happen? It all seemed like a mystery until I realized that it was the handiwork of computer systems and software bringing it all together.

gif of person playing gameboy

From there I kept up with the newest releases, reading about each spec and upcoming innovation in tech.  Adults around me would mention computer science but it sounded very foreign to me.

In school, we weren’t exposed to this subject. We used technology heavily but I needed to know what happened behind the scenes. It brought me so much benefit in terms of learning and entertainment, so I decided it was my turn to take a deep dive into these complexities.

I called up my brother in law who had always encouraged me to enter the field. He knew of my interest and my capabilities, and I am grateful to this day he put his faith in me because he opened my eyes to a world of opportunity.

First step into the tech world

When I was 18, I had an unconventional summer. I followed my brother in law to work everyday and he showed me what he did on a daily basis.

Meeting his colleagues and just seeing the projects he was working on made me excited to immerse myself into this work space for my career. These projects had practical solutions for the everyday user, just like me.

I thought if I could create something that was useful for something like me, then I will for sure make the impact that I’ve always wanted. On top of that, it came with a challenge like no other that I was willing to take on.

These experiences led me to pursue computer science and it is what I chose to learn in college. From there, I gathered a plethora of knowledge but I knew I had to take an extra step, further than the rudimentary lessons given to me and my 600 other classmates.  This allowed me to take learning into my own heads which progressed my knowledge by ten fold.

Drawing the owl

One of the Twilio Magic Values that really stands out to me is called “drawing the owl”. It’s main premise is that you have free reign on how to carry out the direction and completion of the work at hand. Luckily, I am completely used to this process, through the progression of my academic independence.

Guide on how to draw an owl

My college experience brought upon a substantial learning curve, however, I made it work by becoming an efficient self-taught programmer. I started building projects on my own time. I spent countless hours watching bootcamps, taking courses, and learning about new technologies to boost my portfolio and toolbelt.

My first industry related internship in computer science was for an EdTech startup called Edgi Learning. Although I was excited to have a real job, it also came with feelings of nervousness as I was told that I’d be without a mentor or another developer.

I am confident in my skills but there was that sliver of doubt that was always lurking in my head. My role was a web developer that dealt with both front-end and back-end. I was very grateful for this opportunity and to be working with excellent people, but I knew that I had quite a bit to learn in a small amount of time.

The pressure was on: I wanted to excel while learning their entire codebase on my own with technologies I had no experience in. Overtime, I kept my focus and realized that in life, you cannot always have your hand held, especially in a fast paced industry.

Looking back, I realize that I had been drawing the owl, where I had to gather my existing knowledge and take on a responsibility like no other. I learned that I could excel without a guide and take on any challenge, no matter the initial intimidation.

Power of APIs

As I was surrounded with more and more colleagues in the industry, a buzz word came upon my radar. Despite my efforts in self-learning, I couldn’t know everything. I accepted that and went ahead with my research to discover the power and potential of an API.

gif of cartoon bird coding

Boasting significant power, simplicity, and flexibility, I came across its importance in the developer world. It feels great to be able to be a part of something that allows us as a society to connect with the internet of things and expand beyond our current limitations.

The great benefit of being in computer science is that I can incorporate it into almost anything. I have always had a passion for the modern sneaker culture, especially for shoes that are rare and coveted.

I realized that I could create an API that brought my creative and technical interest together in a helpful and interesting way. Little did I know I was “wearing the customer shoes” by thinking about my own.

The Sneaks API

By looking at the perspective of the customer, I solved a problem for both myself and the sneaker fanatic community by creating the Sneaks API.

gif of sneaks API

The Sneaks API is a Node.js API that allows users to search for sneakers and track their status on different resell sites to find the best price. This not only helps me, but also other consumers who deserve transparency and the best value for their hard earned money.

In sneaker culture and the lucrative industry itself, some sneakers tend to sell out based on how coveted it is or talked about. If you want a shoe but you aren’t lucky, chances are it will sell out and you won’t be able to obtain it from the original retailer.

The sneaker resell market is the next step which can be quite complicated to navigate. As a customer I found that searching for sneakers with the best price and correct size was more of a chore. I’d get frustrated as time went on and I couldn’t find the correct shoe.

Market prices are also constantly changing and the volatility allows for no guarantee. This API eliminates the strenuous search process and provides users with the shoe’s silhouette, colorway, brand, images, price map, retail price, as well as the link to the resell site.

To my surprise, I ended up gaining traction with this creation after it was published to npm and Github. With 500 downloads in the first month, I realized that I created something although quite niche, it was very helpful. Currently, there are 1,800 downloads and I look forward to this number increasing every day.

This continuously inspires me and gives me joy as I occasionally receive a message from other users showcasing how they have used the API to carry out the best purchase. Additionally, it even inspires others to develop something from it, boosting creativity in our small community. It is amazing to see the power of APIs at work with a little help of passion and knowledge.

Hello world

It seems that my curiosity has paid off as I launch my career! I am beyond excited to be a Twilion as Intern Developer of Technical Content for the Developer Voices team!

As a newbie I hope to bring a fresh pair of eyes to the table and learn from the experts at Twilio. I will strive to learn from my colleagues and how they draw the owl at Twilio, as well as bring creativity and experimentation to the table.

Dhruv Patel is an Intern Developer on Twilio’s Developer Voices team. You can find Dhruv working in a coffee shop with a glass of cold brew or he can either be reached at dhrpatel [at] twilio.com