"With my app, my goal was to help people better themselves or just keep track of their personal health."
– Jeremy Almonte, Class of 2022

Jeremy Almonte (BA in Computer Science ‘22) has known what he’s passionate about since middle school: designing and building video games. It all began with his shared interest in games, such as Minecraft, with his friends – and since then, Jeremy has embarked on a journey to learn more about the field and other technology. Although open to the multitude of opportunities the tech industry has to offer, Jeremy has shown a strong drive to pursue game-making as a future career.

Knowing how vast the tech field is, Jeremy took an interest in learning various technical skills like app development, 3D modeling, and video editing – all of which he is learning through multiple projects.

One such project was inspired by something very personal to him. As someone who deals with an ongoing medical condition, Jeremy came up with the idea of an app that makes the recovery process less daunting and more uplifting: introducing the Buddy app.

Jeremy’s idea for Buddy was to gamify a well-known and typically mundane tool - the to-do list. Inspired by organizational apps like Microsoft To-Do and fun virtual games like Tamagotchi, he plans to develop an app where users look after a virtual pet that thrives when tasks are completed. These tasks just so happen to be related to the recovery process – so when users take care of themselves, they are also ensuring a healthy and happy virtual pet.

In addition to Buddy, Jeremy is working on a matching game called Gaia, named after the Greek goddess of earth and life. In the game, users get a chance to play god themselves as they build a habitable world and are tasked with caring for the in-game sprites (graphic representations of various entities like people or animals) on their land. By creating Gaia, Jeremy will hone not only his app development skills, but get to apply his academic experience in game development.

So what’s the most challenging part of learning all of these things? “Starting slow and doing things step by step,” says Jeremy. When a new project is inspiring you, it’s easy to get lost in all of the things you want to accomplish. Trying to tackle everything at once can be overwhelming, but Jeremy has found that breaking tasks down piece by piece can make the process easier. It’s still a challenge, though: “I’m not saying that I’ve learned from all of my mistakes,” he explains. “I’m still struggling, but I’ve definitely gotten better than before.”

Another issue that is common among students like Jeremy is the struggle with imposter syndrome, which occurs when someone doubts their own knowledge and abilities and feels like they do not belong in certain communities. When taking his first programming class at Pace, Jeremy had limited faith in his ability to code. However, after starting the class he quickly realized that he knew way more than he anticipated. “I thought I really sucked at coding, but it turns out I pretty much knew all of the basics. I just needed to have the confidence to actually start.”

That experience was reinforced by similar ones in other classes. “I took an Intro to Game Programming class and realized I actually know how to make games,” he says. Like many Seidenberg students, Jeremy likes to dream big: “Most of my projects were a little bit too big to ever get anything done, but at the start of that class when we were making simple games, I was actually able to complete them and that felt amazing.”

Being able to develop projects and have success with them built up his confidence not only as a coder, but also as a future game developer.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

For students just starting out, Jeremy recommends finding an interesting project and practicing – a lot. “If you don’t practice, you’re going to forget so much,” he says. As with many skills, practicing code is essential to retaining your knowledge.

Having passion for the project is also important. Coming up with something that personally interests you can serve as motivation to practice coding while working toward your goals. If you’re interested in gaming, how can you incorporate games into your artificial intelligence project? How can you code an app that combines the tech skills you’re learning with something you love? Jeremy attributes much of his own growth to working on meaningful projects that challenged him to practice and keep learning.

From his mobile app to the single player and multiplayer games he’s created in the past, Jeremy has started working on numerous projects with the intention of uplifting the lives of others and, in the process, himself.

“I actually had very specific goals in mind when I was making them. With my app, my goal was to help people better themselves or just keep track of their personal health. For my single player game I wanted people to be able to relax. And for the multiplayer one, I wanted to make a game that I would enjoy but could also enjoy with friends.”

Despite working on so many different projects, Jeremy claims that it was his mobile app that bolstered his spirits most recently. “Creating Buddy helped me because I was struggling and that motivated me to get up and actually start coding.”

Jeremy decided to work on his mobile app so that once he began treatment, he could then use it to keep track of his personal health and encourage others to do the same. Getting into the groove with Buddy would help him pick up his other projects and practice his coding even more.

As a student with an immense passion for technology, it is amazing how intentional Jeremy is with what he creates and how it impacts others. The skills he is learning can be applied directly to projects that are fun, useful, and enrich the lives of others. And best of all, these skills can be applied in endless ways. For Jeremy, it’s through game development. For others, it’s healthcare, entertainment, activism, and just about anything else you can think of. Technology is a part of just about everything we do – and Seidenberg students are constantly figuring out ways to make life better.

See Other Profiles
More Student Stories