By Roadtrip Nation

Adrian Rodriguez



My road in life has taken me all over.
I grew up in a rough neighborhood in New Jersey and was raised by a single mother.
Started hanging out with the wrong crowd and, by high school, I had been kicked out of several schools, so I made the decision to drop out entirely and got my GED instead.
I became a father when I was 17 years old.
Shortly afterwards, I decided to join the U.S. Army—due to my situation, I knew that if I didn’t join the military, I would have ended up dead or in jail.
After leaving the military, I learned how to be a mechanic and opened up my own car shop, but I struggled financially to keep the business going.
To help boost my business, I set out to build a website for my car shop, which is how I first got into computer programming—taught myself the basic skills using YouTube and other online resources.
Decided to attend West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in computer science.
Landed a coveted spot in the Vets Who Code bootcamp for veterans—I am now a full stack software engineer at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Keep following my journey


Software Engineer

I am a full stack software engineer in the banking industry.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

As a software engineer, I have to cure a bunch of excel sheets and take that information and manipulate it into something that is useable. My work mainly focuses around optimizing the performance of teams throughout the company.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Being in the military taught me not to be scared of anything and to just do your best at whatever you are doing. Don't fear failure, trying is what is important. Learn how to take constructive criticism. You obviously have to know computer basics and be comfortable staring at a screen for hours on end. Be self-driven, resourceful, and persistent.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Find a support group or mentors that can help you. Start learning new things in any way that you can. Whether that is through school or not, keep learning. Don't wait for people to give you permission to do something. If you want it, go for it.


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I can't do this, I should just quit."

Challenges I Overcame

Raised By A Single Parent
Gangs / Violence
School Drop-Out

Interviewed By



Future of Work Roadtrip