"It's just really nice to be able to work at your own pace and go over things you learned after a long day in class. Plus, if you have any questions, there's always an instructor or other students to help you out."
- What Problem He's Solving: Creating an online community with resources for people with disabilities.
- First job: Worked in retail (and hated it!)
- Most proud moment: Taking a two-month tour of Southeast Asia where I was able to speak to thousands of children
- Next bucket list item: Interning with Google overseas
Listen to Mohammad's inspiring talk on self-empowerment.
Why are you at Starter School?
I'm at Starter School because I've always wanted to learn how to build web apps. When I saw it online I thought "Wow, this program teaches you how to do everything in web dev from A to Z. It even teaches you the business side of things! " So, I applied to the program and here I am!
What's one thing that you have been surprised by at Starter School?
I was really surprised by how laid back and relaxed everyone is. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't take away from the intensity at all! This program is INTENSE!
Is there one experience that stands out for you at Starter School?
I guess it would be the late nights that the students spend working in the classroom. It's just really nice to be able to work at your own pace and go over things you learned after a long day in class. Plus, if you have any questions, there's always an instructor or other students to help you out.
What was day one of Starter School like?
I was anxious to meet all the other students and instructors, but everyone was really friendly and approachable which was a relief. That was a great day!
How do you explain Starter School to your friends, family, and/or significant others?
In my opinion it's a top quality program that not only teaches you how to code, but they teach you how to build and design your app, what your aim should be, how to acquire customers, etc... There's never a point in the program where you feel like you don't have anyone to turn to for help or to answer your questions. The Starter School environment is really motivating and pushes you to improve each day. Looking back to where I was at the beginning of the program, I'm amazed at how far I've come in such a short period of time.
Were you intimidated to learn anything that ended up coming easy to you?
I wasn't really intimidated to learn anything— I'd say fascinated. I was amazed by the things we were learning in class and that I could accomplish those same things with practice. Knowing myself, coding does not come easy AT ALL. Through experience though, everything gets easier with practice and repetition. You just need to be brave enough to push through it.
What makes Starter School different than other classes/schools you've been to?
The super relaxed environment and the fact that you can spend as much time at the school as you want.
What are you building right now?
I'm currently building a lot of things. Among them is a site to serve as a central location for people with physical disabilities/families of people with physical disabilities to find information and interact with others in similar situations. Another is an app I built with a group of students giving you accessible directions on Chicago's public transport. Also building a new site for our family restaurant as a side project. There's probably more, but I can't remember right now.
What would you say to someone interested in joining Starter School?
Join the program! If you have the motivation, persistence, and put in the effort you will benefit immensely! This is what I tell people and will continue telling them when they tell me that they're interested in joining the program.
What's something you've done in your life that you're most proud of?
Taking a tour of Southeast Asia for two months this Summer where I got to interact with the youth there. I was also able to visit and help out at numerous orphanages and had a number of speaking engagements in front of over 1000 students! I'm just really happy and grateful to have been able to take such an amazing trip.
Who or what inspires you and why?
My parents, my teachers, my friends, orphans, so many things inspire me. It's very humbling when you as a person think you've accomplished so much, or have been through some tough times and then you meet these people who are better than you, done more than you, or have been through tougher times than yourself. It's a huge reality check and at the same time, very inspiring.