Last Updated: March 8, 2019
This story begins in Transylvania, where I was born. I lived most of my life there. As a child, my dream was to live and work for Microsoft in the United States. That was my one and only dream. The likelihood of that dream coming true was minuscule; after all, I was was living in Romania.
Growing up, I absolutely loved programming, though I never knew why. Many times, friends asked why I loved it so much, and eventually, I decided to stop giving them explanations. It was simply part of who I was; and that was good enough for me.
As a child, I remember spending countless evenings in front of the computer. But only after I had finished my homework for the next day; my mom made sure of that. I began with a ZX Spectrum and Sinclair Basic. My dad had several magazines that came with printed code that one could type to build a game. Using these, I could then alter certain variables to modify the game in small ways. The experience was magical.
Years passed and I kept this habit of setting aside time for programming every day. I became good at it. My mom pushed me towards programming contests, and I became good at those. While in college, my team ended up representing Romania in several international contests. It was during those first few years that I realized a person can make a career and a living out of programming. Before that, programming was simply too much fun for me, something too good not do, nothing more.
Then one year, a recruiter from Microsoft came to the university where I was studying. He told us to send our resumes to him, and I did. After the first screening, I then had to pass a tech phone screening. This was followed by an on-site interview at Microsoft in Poland. In Poland, I had three thirty-minute interviews. I was very emotional during the interviews because I was fighting for my dream. After an hour and a half of interviews, I headed to the airport to return to Romania. The only problem was that my flight was scheduled to depart after nine hours. I had planned it that way because I was expecting a full day of interviews based on what I had read online. I had little energy left, so all I did was sit in one of those uncomfortable airport chairs. And think about whether or not I had done a good job. For nine hours...
Two weeks later I heard back from Microsoft. They were offering me a summer internship in Redmond, WA. I was thrilled! My dream was about to come true. I was told I was going to work for this new product called Bing. I gladly accepted the offer and flew to the US for the summer of 2009. The internship was amazing, and I was offered a full-time position after its completion. I came back to Romania, finished my studies and relocated to the United States in 2010 where I worked for Microsoft and Bing for 7.5 years. I always joke that if I had passed away after I got to work for Microsoft, I would have died happy. My dream had come true. And that was magical to me.
During my tenure at Microsoft, I always felt that I owed them my life. They found me in Romania, recognized the talent I had, and relocated me to the US. They offered me a better life. To me, it was never about a better life, it was always about this crazy dream I had to work for Microsoft. Only after I had lived in the US for a couple of years did I realize the difference. On average, life is so much better in the US, in so many ways than the life I had known.
Living in the US made me finally understand why I fell in love with programming. I did not know this when I was a kid. Programming was a way for me to escape the limitations of the physical world. Anyone can sit in front of the computer, which is a fixed cost, and can build anything they want. It does not cost extra to build a button on a form. It does not cost extra to build a text box on a form. In fact, it does not cost extra to build your own world where everything is exactly how you want it to be. The computer does not judge you based on how you look, or the shoes or the clothes you are wearing. The computer allowed me to build my own little world: an escape!
So I have built TalentSort to help companies and hiring managers discover what Microsoft attained in me. To find and recognize those talented people who were born without opportunities. And despite the lack of these opportunities they somehow managed to get in front of a computer. And loved programming for what it is: an escape. And study programming for countless hours. And are very good at programming with or without formal training. TalentSort was built for them and for talent seekers. TalentSort was built to bring these two worlds together where exceptional programmers and exceptional companies can network, collaborate, and work together to continue excelling by pushing the boundaries of what meets the eye. Cheers!