Sydney Stern Miller, March 29, 2021 | 3 min read

The Journey from Graphic Design to Shaping Minds

Meet our instructor and multiple program graduate, Lionel Jose Beato. Lionel came to Tech Talent South with a background in graphic design, looking to find his niche. He’s a teacher and an advocate at heart. You can see it in the way he consumes information but then looks around to see how he can bring it to his community. From evangelizing pair and team programming to tutoring and teaching, Lionel is what Malcolm Gladwell would call a connector. Easy to understand, approachable, and passionate–he’s the kind of person you’d be glad to have working by your side or leading the classroom.


What were you doing before TTS?

Before TTS, I was pursuing a career in graphic design. While I enjoyed a lot of what I learned, I gravitated mostly towards UX/UI and application design in general. However, I didn’t have much knowledge of the field and didn’t pursue my interest further. It was not until I found TTS that the pieces came together!


What course(s) did you take with TTS?

I took a full-time full-stack Java course over a period of 6 months. I also took a data science course.


Tell us about your favorite project!

My favorite project was definitely my Java capstone. My team created a kiosk system for a car dealership that had a sleek and modern design. I was very proud of it. In that project, I was following a strict agile framework. Eventually, I had to wrap my head around git and GitHub. That was definitely a learning experience.


How has what you learned at TTS impacted your life?

TTS has drastically impacted my life. I feel more confident as a worker and have sought to help others as much as I can break into the field. As a result, teaching has become a passion of mine. I have a better understanding of small everyday technologies to complex wide-scale systems.


What has been the biggest challenge in your tech journey?
Navigating the idiosyncrasies when first exposed to a coding language is the biggest thing for me. Once I get over that hump it’s usually smooth sailing… most of the time!


What have you learned about yourself over the past year?

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I greatly enjoy helping others and sharing what I know. Evangelizing pair programming and team programming has been a mission of mine.


What are your personal and career goals for the future? Dream job?

My goals involve moving into a more senior position in the tech sector where I can make major calls regarding technology policies. I suppose I’d like to be a CTO! Otherwise, I’ve always wanted to be a cartoonist!


What projects are you working on now?

I’m currently exploring projects involving serverless functionalities. After that, I want to learn more about quantum computing and build a project around that.


How has your background been useful in getting you to this point?

I definitely have a design-oriented mindset and I enjoy taking a holistic approach to problems. I attribute that to my art and design background.


Any advice for others looking to explore this path?
It’s perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed at the start of your journey. You should use all the tools available to you to make things as smooth as possible. This means everything from networking to diving headfirst into documentation. Don’t take any of it for granted.


When you’re not coding, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to sketch, play video games, cook, read, and listen to podcasts.


What is your favorite quote, mantra, or piece of advice?
Wise souls don’t hoard; the more they do for others the more they have. – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching 


What is one meal you ate as a kid that you still love and eat today?
Nothing beats a warm grilled sandwich.


What does the world need more of?


Name a woman (or women) past or present, whom you admire or look up to.
Video game programmer Rebecca Heineman.


What would you tell yourself ten to twenty years ago that you wish you knew then?
Don’t be so hard on yourself! Oh, and buy some bitcoin.


Follow Lionel on Twitter and connect with him on Linkedin!