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Coding Corps Marin Scholar Spotlight: Cesar Castillo

Cesar Castillo is a scholar formerly enrolled in Dream Corps TECH’s Coding Corp Marin program, a two-part program piloting a blended-learning model to make tech education accessible to all communities. A Bay Area native, soccer enthusiast/athlete and DACA-recipient, Cesar’s story demonstrates the opportunities tech can provide when barriers are knocked down.


Cesar Castillo applied to the Coding Corps Marin program in March 2017, excited about the possibility to join the exciting and burgeoning tech sector as a software engineer. He saw potential in a computer science education since his early teens, but was prevented from doing so as he was pursuing a career as a national soccer athlete.

Cesar was born in Mexico City, Mexico and his family moved to San Rafael, CA shortly afterwards. As an ambitious and athletic child, Cesar knew that he was meant to do something bold. He didn’t let anything stand in his way, especially the uncertainty surrounding his citizenship status in the United States. He chased his dreams by moving to Los Angeles at the age of 15 to join the MLS Chivas USA Under-16 league, eventually moving along to the Under-18 league.

His dream of becoming a professional soccer player, combined with his parents’ wish to pursue an education, led him to Sacramento State. He instantly became interested in computer science, but NCAA rules prevented him from pursuing a degree in the field, so he chose to pursue a Communications degree instead. While attending Sacramento State, Cesar received multiple soccer accolades and went on to join the Puerto Rico Bayamon Futbol Club (BFC) after the passage of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. However, after just 6 months on the team, Cesar suffered a first-degree tear on his quad. He took advantage of his time on the bench and decided to return to Sacramento State to finish his Communications degree.

True to his ambitious personality and character,  Cesar wasn’t satisfied with what he had achieved and wanted something more. While working towards completing his degree, his interest in computer science resurfaced. Post graduation, he looked through several coding schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the financial barrier prevented him from attending. When Coding Corps Marin appeared on his radar, he immediately took the opportunity to apply and enroll in the program.

Now nearing 6 months into Coding Corps Marin, Cesar is on his way to  becoming a programmer. Prior to the start of the coding immersive section, Cesar began studying HTML, CSS and Javascript on his own. His open mindset and willingness to help others has made Cesar a cohort standout. His growth over the past few years is truly inspirational.

Always looking to challenge himself, Cesar has set a goal of becoming a senior programmer within 5 years completing Coding Corps Marin. Cesar has walked down a road paved with obstacles and challenges out of his control, but he persevered through them all to get to where he is today. Our program is better because of students like Cesar and the tech sector will be better with someone like him on their side.

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