Today I sat down with Android developer and U.S. Army Veteran, William Parrish to learn more about his very interesting and impressive career path!
Q: What is your position at RapidSOS?
A: Android developer
Q: Why did you want to work at RapidSOS?
A: I was doing mobile ticketing and transit at Bytemark for a little over a year and a lot of the problems had been solved so the complexity of the projects were streamlined and the challenge was gone. I was excited about the technical challenges at RapidSOS and the utility of the project. It is a super complex thing to build and build correctly. It requires a really high level quality and it is meaningful and useful to the population as a whole.
Q: Why did you decide to join the army?
A: My mother died when I was 17 and there wasn’t a lot of structure to my life at that point. I was looking for an adventure and I wanted to be around likeminded people. Joining the army gave me a chance to do something other than a 9 to 5 job (something I had grown to hate). Basically the army was a way to get away from that, go on an adventure and have a good time. It also let me develop friendships with people based on common human experiences and provided a really great way to approach other people. I was just a young dude looking for something to do. Oh and I loved G.I. Joe.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: First of all, I love that I am able to work with my friends and we all have really good common ground. More than that though, programming is one of the better jobs there is because it is intellectually stimulating. From nothing, you are able to create things that other people find useful. I have to map and model these intricate structures and then I turn these structures into something that lives and breathes and can change the world and the people around me. It doesn’t feel like a job, I love it.
Q: What are you most proud of in your career?
A: I am most proud of the fact that I taught myself all of this. I developed the talent and the skillset to do this on my own.
Q: Outside of RapidSOS, what is the most interesting project you have ever worked on?
A: I created a microeconomy in a refugee camp in Afghanistan. I was able to get a grant from the USAID to pay a tailor to teach women how to sew, creating opportunities for these women that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Q: Do you have any advice for a veteran interested in going into tech?
A: The big thing is that you may think that people know more than you do, but what I have seen throughout my entire career is that you are responsible for your own level of talent. Your talent is a reflection of your effort and nice things will happen if you work hard. It is a tough process to get into, but there are so many resources out there to help you.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I really like playing video games, I read a lot, and I do a lot of programming. I just like building things and seeing things come together. Programming is a hobby I get paid for. This isn’t my job, it’s just something that I love to do.