I have been reading articles, checking out forums on techhui for a couple of years now, but only recently decided to sign up. I have to say a big mahalo to TechHui for the work you are doing, especially this website. What made me sign up today was reading: "Finding & Retaining Talent in Hawaii" by Daniel Leuck (I'm not really sure how I stumbled upon it). Anyway, I decided to sign up and write my first blog post, with that article in mind, as I also introduce myself to the TechHui community.
I was born and raised in Hawaii and for as long as I can remember, I wanted to work with computers. My dad was a computer teacher at an elementary school and was always around computers growing up. I starting doing Doom level designs when I was twelve and three years later I started learning my first programming language: C++. In 2001, I graduated high school and left hawaii to attend school in Los Angeles. After graduating I continued to work in Santa Monica until recently moving back to Hawaii a little over a year ago (early 2009). I currently work in downtown Honolulu, developing applications using Java.
Since leaving Hawaii back in 2001, I had never paid much attention to the tech industry in Hawaii. I had always known I would move back home, I just didn't know when. When I had decided to move back home, so began my search for a job. With no idea where to start looking and what the Hawaii tech industry looked like, I stumbled upon TechHui. After reading through blogs, forums and job posting I began to get a feel for what the tech industry is like. The positives, the challenges, the work life, etc.
Finally, I thought I'd explain as to why that article resonated with me so much. When reviewing the tech industry in Hawaii I noticed many things that it lacks that make it difficult to work (or get started working) in Hawaii. Though nobody is really to blame for this except myself since I don't usually open myself to any type of social interaction with the tech industry. The main frustration I had was the difficulty to find information about the Hawaii tech industry. Again, much thanks to TechHui for doing a great job at this but there really wasn't much more exposure than this. As TechHui grows, I'm sure it will make it easier for job seekers and Hawaii expats to obtain the information they need / want in order to pursue working in Hawaii. One thing that I really couldn't find were the "different" perks of working for a company. I'm not talking about the usual 401k, medical, etc. (though those are very important) I was in search of companies that did things "differently". Free lunch, ping pong tables, video games, free tickets to events, free random toys, gadgets, company logo stuff... companies that thought outside the box.
I wish that TechHui had been around when I has going to school, which
would have allowed me to keep an eye on things at home while being
away. There is a lot of talent in Hawaii, especially at the high school level (I cannot attest to the college level as I did not attend college in Hawaii). You can see that many of our high school students excel at the national level obtaining awards and recognition at national competitions. I'm not sure what happens to them all, but from my experience through my high school, many of them left Hawaii to pursue an education on the mainland. Some of them return but many of them are making waves on the mainland. I think one way of getting this talent, especially the tech talent, to come back to Hawaii and help build Hawaii's tech industry is to introduce them to the industry as young as possible. Perhaps start doing internships for high school students or college students coming back for the summer. I took on internships on the mainland during my college years as there was a lack of places in Hawaii that were offering anything. You could have them develop iphone / android apps, something they can relate to. Developers these days are starting younger and younger. The other month I sat at dinner watching in amazement two 2 year old kids play games and understandingly interact with an iphone. By providing the young talent with a "start", it would show these students the opportunities that Hawaii currently has.