First-Generation College Graduate with a Passion in Technology – Bryan Brito Bonnet

Bryan Brito Bonnet STEAM Boston
Photo Courtesy of Bryan Brito Bonnet

Bryan Brito Bonnet graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology in August 2018 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computer Information Systems.

Bryan talks about his passion in technology and gives out advice to students in high school that are interested in entering the STEM/STEAM fields.

Check out the podcast!

Below is a transcription from the Podcast:

[00:00:00.06] – Will

Hey Bryan, how is it going? Welcome to the podcast! So, tell us a little about yourself.

[00:00:05.58] – Bryan

My name is Bryan Jose Brito Bonnet and I am a first-generation college student. I was born and raised in Boston and I am of Dominican descent. I didn’t grow up necessarily in a wealthy place, but not also a poor place.

[00:00:27.15] – Will

What made you interested in Computer Information Systems? I know that you did change your major from Computer Engineering Technology. What got you interested?

[00:00:33.42] – Bryan

For me is when I first got in, I thought it was a pretty cool major and I was very interested in what the major offered. But by sophomore year I think like early sophomore year I saw it more as a hobby than a major than a career. And I wanted something that provided me that technical aspect that Computer Engineering Technology to make it a career, but Computer Information Systems did that for me.

[00:01:10.00] – Will

Tell us a little about your Senior Capstone Project and I know you worked on a project called Pi-Stick which basically offers a small computer on a Raspberry Pi and has all the necessities like programs and stuff like that at a low-cost and that’s interesting.

[00:01:28.48] – Bryan

So, we created the Pi-Stick and pretty much the idea behind it was to create a low power computer. And when I say low power don’t assume that it’s completely useless.

[00:01:41.92] – Bryan

It is a computer that can do some amazing things. I’m not saying it’s a super high-end PC, but it has the capabilities of doing all your average stuff. But what we wanted to do we went into created a learning platform for those that couldn’t afford traditional PCs. Yeah, nowadays you can find Chromebooks that are around 100 bucks and 150 bucks. We wanted something even cheaper. We wanted something that was easily accessible by many people, particularly people that are not in the United States simply because the technology and the help are not there.

[00:02:15.34] – Bryan

Maybe like a Third World country where technology is not as easily accessible. We wanted something that was straightforward to use, a plug and play system and we designed it based off of low-price components which were overall pretty awesome come out of the product that we did create.

[00:02:33.36] – Will

What’s great about the Pi-Stick is that it is low-cost and low-powered. When you were doing the demo in class, you were running an open-source software called LibreOffice and it is crazy that you were able to access the internet. And run processing tools and if you could do this at a large scale, you can impact so many people. We’re privileged to have high-end PCs, but if you can expand on this, this can change the world.

[00:03:06.69] – Bryan

Yeah like is awesome like people that may not necessarily need like a powerful computer was useful is a viable option. But we want it like a learning environment I think in the Pi-Stick really provided that with like a free version of the Microsoft Office Suite and having like a coding application on there which can naturally increase in time to move forward with technology and entrust with younger students.

[00:03:33.85] – Will

So next question we’re going to transition into is what advice you would give to students looking for a co-op right now or looking for a full-time job after graduation.

[00:03:43.37] – Bryan

At the very beginning when you’re looking for a co-op maybe freshman year or maybe you know a little bit after that. Do things that you see some interest in. Yeah, ideally you want to do something in your major or something that correlates to major because at the end of the day you’re going to school for. But the reality is we often change our job careers even after graduating with a certain degree.

[00:04:08.17] – Bryan

And at a young age, it is easier to make mistakes or figure things out than it is when you’re much older. So, for me specifically, my first Co-op was actually interned as a security asset management and short term. I was pretty much just collecting a lot of data and pretty much being able to present it in a way that my team was able to make bond purchases and all the other fun stuff. And to me, I didn’t really like it but the good thing that came out of it was that because my managers saw the work ethic in me and how good I handled myself even though I didn’t necessarily enjoy all of it.

[00:04:50.17] – Bryan

I enjoyed the team and the people that I worked with and that transition me to where I am today where my second co-op showed up in a technology position that I really enjoy. And right after graduating I was offered a full-time position. So, my second co-op I am now working full-time. Which is awesome.

[00:05:10.34] – Bryan

And that would not have happened if I did not pursue my first co-op which was more of a financial co-op position. So, looking for things that might be slight of interest because you never know things can lead an interesting past.

[00:05:26.58] – Will

For the summer of my freshman year, I worked in the financial services industry as a project management intern. And I don’t know why but during then I really wanted to do project management and project management was all in the mind. I wanted to be a technology project manager, but I found out that I didn’t really resonate with the financial services industry and I wanted to work in tech and now I work in tech and tech is amazing because it always changes. But it was so cool. But yeah, I decided to make the switch. It was a great experience learning what project management is but, in the future, I still see myself becoming a project manager.

[00:06:12.03] – Bryan

Yes, for sure. No doubt in my mind like that for me it opened my eyes and helped me moving forward. But that is what I really wanted to do.

[00:06:21.44] – Will

Where do you see yourself in 1-2 years? Either position wise or do you see yourself going to school or getting some new skills.

[00:06:30.61] – Bryan

Yeah. So ultimately and I’m at a crossroad now because shortly after I graduated, I had an idea what I wanted to do. Kind of like to make long term wise career wise and kind of lately I’ve been thinking about in kind of transition into a different perspective and a different career. So one to two years for me now I still see myself where I am now simply because it’s a great position for me to get a strong understanding of where I want to lead to and I think that like me just staying they’re really just learning what I what I can and take as much as I can or will lead me to where I want and where I want to be.

[00:07:13.84] – Bryan

Unfortunately, I really don’t have an idea where I want to be like just yet, but I have like I was working on my cybersecurity. More and more of my CCNA network certificate so I can build up to my cybersecurity certification. But I’m solely kind of just rethinking about that and kind of want to do more of like technology management may be like running the technology team that I’m working for now or you know something related with technology because technology has a passion for me, and I see myself in a career.

[00:07:45.12] – Will

Technology is a passion for me too. Either I want to stay in IT or become like a project manager or either like a product owner I want to work on a product where I can listen to stakeholders and see how I can improve that product by doing analysis and stuff like that. And that’s why I like to do but I want to work in the technology industry.

[00:08:09.26] – Bryan

I understand it’s such I think the beauty of its technology is always changing and developing. You can start you know working for a couple of years and little do you know the whole industry decides to change.

[00:08:22.87] – Bryan

Now you’re like working with new technology and new advancement so if you’re a person that’s constantly looking for something interesting something new technology is such an amazing field because like the one you can go in so many ways. But technology always developing and always changing. And I think that itself excites me for the future especially like what was the come you know what’s next. There are some ideas there are some rumors, but we don’t know and that and that to me that’s the exciting part.

[00:08:48.51] – Will

Most definitely. So, when you were at Wentworth were you involved with any extracurricular activities.

[00:08:59.18] – Bryan

I, unfortunately, didn’t. And really the main reason why is because while I was going to school, I pretty much only had time for school and then the time that I was off I was working. So, when I did my first co-op after I got my technology position and my co-op, I sort of transitioned to like a part-time role. When I wasn’t in school, I was working. So, I didn’t really have a whole lot of time to do extracurricular activities and it bummed me out and there were some cool extracurricular activities. I really wanted to join but unfortunately, I didn’t do it.

[00:09:41.76] – Will

What’s great about working part-time is that you’re able to get paid but also gain experience. You worked part-time in a field that you really loved and you’re able to gain that experience while in school and that’s the best of both worlds.

[00:09:59.58] – Bryan

For sure. It added benefits for me where it led to me having a full-time position because of my dedication at the company. So, it’s not something that I regret from doing.

[00:10:20.07] – Bryan

I think overall, I’m happy where I am now career wise and I think what I did find I would do it again is just a great opportunity that I couldn’t pass on.

[00:10:34.55] – Will

Next question. What advice would you give the students that are in high school that is looking to enter the STEAM or STEM field? What’s great about us is that we went to the same high school. We went to the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science so is basically geared towards STEM-like curriculum. We also took AP Computer Science together and we were able to be in the same major too in college, so we were in it through all eight years. But, what advice would you give to high school students?

[00:11:08.05] – Bryan

I would say that if they’re really looking into the engineering role in that technology field make sure that it’s something that you’re interested in and use you potentially see some future to it.

[00:11:25.98] – Bryan

And I understand that often told it’s okay if you change your major which it is why I myself change my major and I don’t regret it whatsoever. But have some idea of what you want to do simply because it does cost money. My advice is just to dig into some of the majors. Unfortunately, that I didn’t do a whole lot of research and that was my fault. What I recommend if you’re interested in computer science to do a little research and if you’re interested in a school look at their curriculum what is somewhat are things that you’re going to be learning.

[00:12:02.48] – Bryan

Go on YouTube and you know some googling and what is this course looks like and see if that’s something that you’re willing. Yes, it can be challenging. There’s going to be hard. But is this something that you’re willing to stick with. At the end of the day, it is it does cost money regardless if you go for free or not someone is paying for it. And the sooner you understand or have an idea of what you want to do overall be better. My one of the things is I wasted. I did spend an extra semester at Wentworth where I still graduated on time. But I had to take courses and actual semester which did cost me a semester of money but that is fine and we’re here but that is my one advice to think about what you really want the kind of just looking into it a little bit more than just kind of jumping in.

[00:12:52.63] – Will

What’s great about the power of the Internet is that students nowadays can go on Google, YouTube, Khan Academy there are so many courses online which are free. There are some courses taught by university professors are pre recorded. Maybe like an intro to computer science class.

[00:13:16.77] – Will

Once you get interested in Computer Science you can make your own side projects can you can learn basic concepts and build a side project because you’ll learn so much by doing a side project.

[00:13:33.97] – Bryan

I know it’s awesome I think with the power of technology you know we have that ability like you have places like Udemy where you can like things like basic programming code which you know you may not you may not necessarily know if you like programming you know maybe a family member or friend someone that seems interested and somehow you find yourself find an interest in taking a course on Udemy which can be like 10 bucks which are very affordable I think to be able to just look at what that looks like in terms of coding and that itself can give you an idea like is computer science something really for me.

[00:14:11.40] – Bryan

You know I know a lot of my friends when I was in high school, they wanted to do like game development create their game. But there’s a lot that goes into building a game and you know just looking at a YouTube video or like you know sample code as to what that looks like can give you that either. OK. You know this is something that I really want to do or something like maybe I’m not too interested maybe and I want to do. And I think that that helps long term once again the quicker you find out what you’re really while what you really want moving forward career-wise the easier will be the more time you get to spend doing that interesting you’re wanting.

[00:14:48.98] – Will

Awesome advice. Appreciate it, Bryan. So, let’s transition into the fun questions. What are some hobbies of yours?

[00:14:57.93] – Bryan

Some of my hobbies are that I like to play a lot of video games so video games are a passion of mine and on the downside right now I’m working on an application with a coworker of mine.

[00:15:13.14] – Bryan

So, I spend a lot of my time learning a couple programming languages. So, I spend my time learning but at the same time trying to figure out how are we going to go about building an app that we want to do and so now a lot of video games and a lot of like code development for my application.

[00:15:32.10] – Will

What kind of video games are you playing right now? I know that you have a Nintendo Switch.

[00:15:37.40] – Bryan

Yeah. So, playing some Switch, unfortunately, I’m not playing a whole lot of Switch. I’m big into Smash Bros. Smash Bros Ultimate is such a fun game. I think it is an overall amazing game. On a side note, a game that I’m playing a lot right now is called Call of Duty Black Ops 4 for the PlayStation 4 and I just enjoy that now it’s kind of my primary game, but Smash is an awesome game.

[00:16:04.73] – Will

Yeah since we’re STEAM Boston, we love Boston so much. What places would you bring a tourist coming to Boston? Any favorite places in Boston?

[00:16:16.88] – Bryan

Restaurant-wise that I would bring them to is a restaurant close to me and in Roslindale. It’s a Dominican sandwich shop and likes it. Like if I had a family member it most likely coming from the Dominican Republic. I would want them to eat something close to home I feel like oftentimes when we come to a new place, we want something a little of that reminds them of home and food is usually a comforting and this sandwich place really brings it home in terms of ingredients they use and how they cook it. I think it really brings home so that would be a place and it’s called Tostado that that would be a place that I would want to bring people.

[00:17:15.67] – Will

Do you have any shout outs to any professors, friends, family that have helped you all along this way? Any shout outs?

[00:17:25.82] – Bryan

I mean at the end of the day. I can’t just say to one person the shout out is there was just so many people that helped me to get to where I am today. Like including from you William like we’ve had some very interesting conversations from high school to college you know to Giuseppe to my mom helping me out like there are so many people and I just want to thank all of them you know I can’t say a whole bunch of names. I want to thank everybody finds where I am now. I have a lot to grow, but I am very happy where I am now.

[00:18:01.50] – Will

Thanks, Bryan, for joining the STEAM Boston podcast and thanks for sharing your story. So, it means a lot to us and to the whole community.

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