At 16 years old I never thought I would be working as a software/data engineer at a boutique ad agency in New York City.
My first experience with coding was an Introduction to Java class my dad had cajoled me into taking my sophomore year of high school. Much to his disappointment, I found the material to be dry and hard to digest. It was difficult to identify with the people in the class or the image of what I believed a coder to be: nerdy, hyper-intelligent, male. I did not feel that coding was for me and moved on after completing the class.
“Hello, World!” P.2
After graduating high school in 2014 I started to pursue an undergraduate degree in international affairs at The George Washington University. My father and I made an agreement that if I was going to major in the social sciences, I needed to build my technical skills as well. Once again, I enrolled in Introduction to Java and gave it the old college try. This time was different, I gave it my all and was performing well, but did not feel accepted by my peers. I was one of the few females in the class and found it difficult to find someone to work with me on group projects or take my opinions seriously. I completed the class with an A, but frankly did not feel smart enough to pursue coding as a career.
I lacked the confidence to complete a computer science degree but the tech industry had captivated my interest. I transferred into the business school my sophomore year of college and started to work towards a business major with a concentration in information systems and technology management. On my spare time I began to take coding classes online which allowed me to learn at my own pace without any discouraging influences. Shortly after starting The Flatiron School’s online Introduction to Ruby: Building CLI Applications certification program I discovered that I not only enjoyed coding, I was good at it.
“Yay! You’re on Rails!”
In April of 2018 I found myself to be one month away from graduating with a bachelor's degree in information systems and business management, but without substantial technical skills. My experience with Flatiron’s online classes had given me enough experience with coding to know that I wanted to build applications as a career. I was not qualified to be considered for any of the job opportunities I was interested in so I took a chance and postponed my job-search to attend Flatiron School’s Software Engineering Immersive Bootcamp.
Attending Flatiron School’s Software Engineering Immersive Bootcamp changed my life. I learned more in those 4 months of bootcamp than I had throughout my entire undergraduate experience. The curriculum was jam-packed, fast-paced, and I thrived under the pressure. It was still difficult to relate to my classmate, but I did not feel like an outsider among born-to-be coders. My classmates all had unique backgrounds and histories in physical education, human resources, the arts and more; this diversity inspired me to learn from my peers and work with them to overcome the seemingly insurmountable goal we shared to become software engineers in 4 months.
After graduating from Flatiron’s program, I began my job search feeling more capable than ever. 3 months later I landed a great position as a software/data engineer at an advertising agency in NYC. Today I am fortunate be working alongside new peers and coworkers automating processes and building applications as a software engineer. My path has been somewhat unconventional, but I would not change it at all. Flatiron School taught me more than just coding, it taught me how to learn, self-educate, and empower myself.