YOU HAVE a choice where failure will take you—to grow or to collapse.

Thomasian web developer Juan Miguel Alvarez chose the latter as he established a web development company from scratch less than a year after obtaining a degree in Computer Science in 2014.

The 22-year-old Alvarez founded Potatocodes Website Development and Designs, a digital product agency and consultancy which specializes in web developing and web designing.

Alvarez sees web developing not a mere application of what the things he learned from the Faculty of Engineering, but also an avenue in learning how to set priorities and accept challenges.

Rocky start

In his early years in UST, Alvarez was no student who spends the whole night with books and notes to ace quizzes and examinations. He ditched classes to play computer games and billiards in Dapitan. Liquors were his company during his sleepless nights which would result in memory blackouts the next day. Classrooms were areas to get decent sleep while his professors were discussing codes.

This cycle continued until Alvarez opened the myUSTe portal with three failing marks and his parents threatened him to stop studying.

“I faced my problems by having the right prayer. I did not ask for lighter problems or lighter loads. I asked for stronger shoulders,” he said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

While others see summer classes as punishment for not doing well in two semesters of the academic year, Alvarez considers 2012 summer class as roots of his web developing post. He was attending Calculus class when he met Nikko Dasig, his colleague in Potatocodes, who had a background in web coding.

During breaks, he would watch Dasig in entering codes for his project and he would learn the codes himself at the end of the day. Thinking that it was not enough for him to grow, he honed his skills by acquiring as many information as possible available in the Internet.

The Alvarez who used to spend the whole day in computer games is now utilizing time wisely by formulating codes. His thirst for knowledge did not stop there, he also joined the Faculty of Engineering Website in Development team of the same year wherein they were given a chance to do a website project for the UST Office Admission.

“My eagerness to learn beyond the classroom is pivotal to my growth. Without it, I would not learn this craft,” he said.

‘Potatocoded way’

While the peculiar name of the web developing company was chosen because it stood out from a list of names, Alvarez said he literally compares the company to a potato—a small entity which could benefit society.

What makes Potatocodes different from other web developing companies is the team’s vision for the country.

“It may not be obvious but we are growing away from eyes of the people and we have great vision for the country and the youth,” Alvarez said.

In just two years, Potatocodes now has over 50 members under its care, a feat that he said was huge for a start-up company.

Their clients include Redesign Manila, a company aiming to expose the people to new possibilities of Manila can look like.

Almost a year after the launching of Potatocodes, Alvarez co-founded Ideastalk, an Internet-based open community where the public are free to express ideas and share insights.

“Ideastalk came during an off-season for coding. Off-seasons are the best times to pour creative ideas since there are lesser clients,” Alvarez said.

At present, Potatocodes is designing the new University website which would be launched this August. It was embellished by his colleague, Mhariell Mosqueriola, another Thomasian.

Aside from web development, the company also trains their developers how to lead properly. He admitted that skills are important in the technology, but leadership should not be left behind.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.