Gavin Bauman, Software Engineer


by Andrea Payne


“When I leave this planet I want to have opened doors for others.  Someone did that for me,” says Gavin Bauman, a software engineer at Microsoft. After graduating from Louisiana’s Xavier University with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, Gavin joined Microsoft in the summer of 2014. Since then, working remotely from home for six years, Bauman has worked extensively with students, startups, and professional developers in the areas of building apps against the Azure cloud, media delivery, and mobile app development.

 

Bauman was the second guest speaker in a series curated for high school students participating in Boston Design Academy (BDA) an advanced technology design course developed by Timothy Smith Network (TSN).  BDA is delivered on a virtual platform in partnership with Boston Public Schools’ TechBoston Academy (TBA) high school located in Dorchester, MA.  BDA is part of the BPS curriculum and is offered in conjunction with BPS’ own design curriculum.  The BDA speaker series was developed to support students in making the connection between what they learn in the classroom to possible future careers in today’s tech-centered workforce.  

 

“Speaking with the students is super important.  It’s huge for me,” declares Bauman, who went to college to become a pharmacist even though pharmacy was not his first love.  Bauman chose that field because it was a career with which he was familiar.  “Had I seen someone who looked like me in the tech field, I would have gotten my start in technology much earlier,” he states.  “I would have been a monster!” 

 

Bauman describes himself as an “on switch,” acknowledging the lack of Black and Brown people in tech, Bauman notes when he first started at Microsoft he was on a team with some 300 to 350 people and could count his Black colleagues on one hand. 

When questioned about the challenges he faces in tech, Bauman is frank. “Effectively tech is a White boys’ club. All the issues we see in the world today is reflected in the industry.  Often I am the only Black in tech circles, so I am happy to talk to kids who look like me so I can encourage the next group of kids to major in computer science.”    

His advice to the students?  Know your value.  One of Bauman’s biggest regrets is not applying to Ivy League schools like Harvard.  “Man if I could do it again, I would take my shot.  My biggest regret is not acknowledging my worth.  I underestimated myself and I think that is one of the most dangerous things you can do.”


The top three things students should know?  Take at least one life science class, a computer science class and learn coding. “Coding is going to be an increasing part of the day-to-day workplace in many professions,” Bauman reveals.  Second.  While getting good grades is important, having a capricious interest in what you are doing is what separates you from the pack.”  Finally, Bauman says, “You are not going to love every aspect of a job, but if you hate every minute of it, it’s probably not for you.  Don’t spin your wheels.  Evaluate what really matters to you and if none of it aligns with your core values and you don’t see it aligning, then it’s time to move onto something else.”