My friend Frany from ScreenIT asked to share my experience about how it is to live with a disability in the IT world. I am hearing impaired with profound bilateral loss. I don’t hear anything without hearing aids, and I can barely hear the engine of a plane or a big horn near my ear. I have improve myself with up to 8 years of language and hearing therapy. I thank my mother very much for her perseverance in finding different doctors and therapies to give me my best life. Currently, I can speak with no problem. I read lips and communicate acceptable, and have been able to solve simple and complicated problems that require automation, all with opensource and in different academic, government and private companies.
For me, disability is not a limitation, it is like any problem any other person can have. And this is more psychological limitation than physical one.
In Mexico, doctors told my parents to give up, that I would end up in a sign language specialized school. My mom took me to a special school, but I didn’t adapt, so she started looking for regular schools. It was hard for me because several primary and secondary schools did not want to accept me; they thought it was difficult to treat a deaf person in the academic world and that I was going to stop other’s growth. It wasn’t like that; I was intelligent and bold at the same time.
Of course, like any other child, I suffered from bullying specially in elementary school, but as I grow up it was more sporadic. The key to get through other people prejudices is to never take it personally and be sure and confident on who you are.
In high school, the psychologist told my parents in an admission exam behind my back, that they should not expect much from me, because they thought I wouldn’t finish high school with all the complications they had seen in other students. In University, the director of Engineering also told my parents not to expect much from me. I thank my parents for not telling me. This is a great example of the “Pygmalion Effect”; the power you radiate in your children, employees and students is the power they will also radiate at the end.
I started working in technical support from the age of 16 in summers from high school to university, and at the end of University, to study the two postgraduate courses (Networks and distributed systems, and Project Management), I worked at the Panamerican University as development coordinator.
It has been my biggest mistake to leave Panamerican University to work in Televisa where I was supposed to earn double, working as an outsourcer only for higher fees but without any benefits.
Having done hindsight, I learned that it is more important to have stability than to earn a lot of money. In Televisa, I implemented a project for Tarabu, and they currently use the same system in esmas.com. A catalog automation system to place music content, music videos and movies.
What I recommend young people is to learn each year a new technology or a new methodology, learn English to be able to work in the USA, and to share their knowledge in different online platforms.
I have technical English and I worked once nearshore for a company in San Francisco. I was lucky enough that my boss spoke Spanish, but my problem is not speaking English 100%, and so ,trying to find work where people can accept my condition of technical English was hard, but I have been able to solve problems in forums, technical support chat, mail or whatsapp.
“The greatest pleasure of life … It is doing what people tell you that you cannot do. ” -Walter Bight
About The Author
Constantino is a developer with over 16 years of experience. He has worked in technical support, systems implementation, project management (PMI,Scrum and ITIL), and development with OpenSources.