Mentor Monday: Meet Ruben

Start-up founder Ruben Izmailyan knows the power of technology to solve problems. His app, Budgit,  helps people make better spending decisions and save for what they care about.

For two semesters, Ruben has mentored with our CS First program at Rosemont Elementary in Dallas.

Meet Ruben...

How did you become interested in tech and programming?
I have been playing with computers and technology since I was about nine, but didn’t take my first programming class until high school. While I enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of coding, at the time I did not see myself pursuing a career in technology and switched to a humanities track when I went to college.

What did you study in college?
In college I majored in International Relations and Slavic Studies.  

What are you working on now?
I am working on a personal finance start-up.  After about seven years working for financial data companies serving businesses, I decided to start my own – one focused on helping people make better spending decisions and save for what they care about.  

What have you gained from being a mentor? What was your most memorable moment while mentoring?
Mentoring has been a great way to remember that at the end of the day, coding is solving puzzles – and that everyone can get better at it, especially if they’re having fun.  My most memorable moment mentoring was when a couple of my students first realized that changing a few characters of code made their website dramatically change colors.  They were amazed by that they could do something so visually impactful with a single keystroke.  I think they spent then next five minutes playing with color.  

Is there anything that you wish you could tell your younger self about coding?
Though I do not regret pursuing a humanities track in college, I often think about how much better of a developer I’d be if I had stuck with it, even as a hobby.  Fortunately, it’s never too late for anyone to get into (or return to) coding.  

Is there anything about our mission that really connects with you?
The best part of Bold Idea is that it gets people to leave their work bubbles and share their knowledge and, more importantly, enthusiasm for technology with young coders.  There’s something quite magical about seeing kids change their perceptions of computers from entertainment devices to creation machines.