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From Flight Attendant to Software Developer

kapehe_ok profile image Kapehe Updated on ・7 min read

From 36,000ft

Imagine this, you get to travel the world, you get to drink authentic Colombian coffee in Cartagena and swim in the beautiful waters of Aruba. And you get paid to do it. Sounds like the dream job, right?

That was my job.

My job was spent at 36,000 feet, way up past the clouds. I met some of the most fantastic people and traveled to wherever my heart desired. Yet I always knew, this was not it for me. I wanted to create, build, teach, learn. But where was I going? What was I going to do?

Flight Attendant Dreams

I started as a flight attendant back in April of 2012. It was my dream job for years, but that itch to learn something new, create something beautiful, teach someone else was always there. And while the idea of moving on was hard to grasp, I was zealous in finding my next calling in life.

Photo of Kapehe as a flight attendant

I found it when I stumbled upon a coding bootcamp in 2015. They claimed, “Change careers, learn new skills, become a web developer.” Hmm, let’s see what the fuss is all about.

Coding Bootcamp

For years I struggled with the idea of leaving my job as a flight attendant. After months of going back and forth, I finally decided I needed to take that leap of faith. I started my bootcamp in the fall of 2017. Was this going to be worth it? Would I spend all this money and be able to get a job afterwards?

DevMountain logo and photo of mountains

I attended DevMountain, a coding bootcamp located in the foothills of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains in Provo, Utah. They gave me a giant stack of pre-course work, books to read, things to install on my computer, and video tutorials to watch. Even with all that pre-course work, nothing could prepare me for the fire-hose amount of information I got while attending the bootcamp.

My program was twelve weeks long with a week-long break in the middle. We focused on ReactJS, Node.js, Git/Github, PostgreSQL, Postman, a little bit of Angular, and some end-point/unit testing. This stack left me overwhelmed. After every long 10 hour day, I’d return to sleep, my mind spinning, only to wake up and start it all over again. Had I made the right choice?

We built two projects. One was a personal project where I built a portfolio for a local photographer. I incorporated authentication using Auth0 (we’ll come back to Auth0 later!), Stripe for easy payment processing, and npm packages for simple modals. It was my first project, it was my own, I was ecstatic! My second project was a group project where we created a scheduling app. Both projects were full-stack, used Auth0 authentication, and used a database.

While the bootcamp was overwhelming on a daily basis, it was very reassuring that I was making real projects. I was building, I was creating, this was fun!

The Job Hunt

During my bootcamp, I always had in the back of my mind, “Am I going to find a job once I’m done with this?” My coding bootcamp gave a lot of support in the Utah area for jobs, but in Las Vegas, where I live, there was minimal support.

I reached out to a mentor at my school and he recommended attending meetups in the Las Vegas area. He also gave me some names of Las Vegas developers that he knew of from Twitter.

meetup.com logo

The combination of those two things propelled me into the dev community in the Las Vegas area. I attended a meetup where developers would present their current projects. I wanted to show off my very first project. So I did! After I had presented, I had people approaching me asking me about my project, the technologies I had used, and how I got into dev. Whoa.

A month later, I decided to present my group project. I was approached again by a handful of people. Whoa.

It was the meetup in December that an individual stood up and said, “I don’t have a project to present, but my company is looking for developers. Any skill level, any language.” Whoa.

I introduced myself to him, we exchanged email addresses, and within a couple of days, I was contacted about setting up an interview.

My First Dev Job

The interview process was relaxed but extremely technical. Fortunately, my bootcamp had prepared me for this. I was ready.

I was offered the job.

Life as a Junior Software Developer

Something I learned very quickly about web development is that the coding bootcamp aggressive learning approach doesn’t end there. I continued to have an overwhelming amount of information thrown at me. I was determined, I asked questions, I figured things out, I worked on a software development team. Pinch me!

My first dev job taught me a lot. Some of those include:

  1. Stay far away from the master branch.
  2. We have to name our branches like this….
  3. Ramen is really good and fun with co-workers.
  4. Senior devs have to Google things, too.
  5. Mechanical keyboards are amazing!
  6. GraphQL is incredible.

I was lucky: I landed a job working with a team that was patient and kind, but pushed me to be greater. That team taught me more about web development than I could have imagined. It wasn’t just a school project that I could show off to my family and friends: this was code being pushed to real users, real people were going to be clicking that button a thousand times; the issues we had to debug were real.

Moving On

I wanted to teach others how to code. I wanted a job where I could use my knowledge and pass it on to another individual to help them succeed. I found dev blogs.

Scotch.io, run by local Las Vegan Chris Sevilleja, is where my very first-ever blog post was published. I wrote about the (new at the time) React Context API. This felt great. I was creating, building, teaching. I had found my niche!

React Context article on scotch.io

It was then that a friend of mine recommended writing for the Auth0 blog so I started looking more into it.

My first article with Auth0 was on EmberJS. A framework I had never used before. I worked any second I had after work on this article and learning every inch of EmberJS that I could. My sleep was minimal during that time, but I knew that it would all be worth it.

After weeks of learning, writing, editing, my EmberJS article went live. This was my new pride and joy. I looked at it, over and over. Was this real? Did I really have an article published on Auth0’s blog?! I had been building applications with Auth0 from the beginning of my learning, so to be there, on their list of articles. Dreams do come true.

EmberJS article on Auth0's blogyyhg

I was soon offered a job with Auth0. Saying goodbye to my first dev job was bittersweet but my team cheered me on.

Auth0 R&D Content Engineer

I’m an R&D Content Engineer at Auth0.

Auth0 logo

Is it real? Did I just write those words? You mean to tell me that I get to learn things and then write it up in a technical blog in order to teach others about code? Pinch me.

I have been with the Auth0 family since September of 2018. The individuals on my team are incredible, always willing to help, always willing to guide me towards success. I have continued learning at fire-hose speeds when it comes to web development, but now I get to write about it. I get to help others succeed in their coding dreams.

Photo of Kapehe in Auth0 shirt

Working for a remote company, you might think the team would be unavailable or hard to reach. Not at Auth0. They have the remote work life down to a science There is such a sense of camaraderie and passion, it works.

Was It All Worth It?

I was a flight attendant for six years and in those last two years, I was also a flight attendant instructor. I dedicated a good chunk of my working years to a major airline. Moving on was hard, but was it worth it?

Yes, yes it was. I have no regrets, I love where I see myself going in the future, and I’m glad I took that nerve-racking first step into the dev world back in 2017.

The dev community is amazing. I’m so glad to be a part of it.

How to Get Involved

I continue working alongside with my friend, Chris Sevilleja, the founder of scotch.io, and we host a meetup called CODE Hearted and lead workshops in the Las Vegas area.

Hosting a workshop with Chris Sevilleja

Teaching others about code is a passion of mine. I still have so much to learn, but I’m working hard. Don’t give up, it can seem overwhelming a lot of times, but the reward will be worth it.

Attend meetups, mentor one another, cheer each other on.

You can find me at:

Twitter - @kapehe_ok
LinkedIn - Kapehe Jorgenson
Github - /kapehe-ok

Some of my work:

Auth0 Blog - React Tutorial with Popup Authentication

Auth0 Blog - Using Auth0 Rules with a React App

Scotch.io - Build a React To-Do App with React Hooks (No Class Components)

Posted on Mar 6 '19 by:

kapehe_ok profile

Kapehe

@kapehe_ok

I am passionate about spreading the word about code!

Discussion

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This is amazing! Your story is really inspiring 🔥

 

Great article! I am sure dev mountain will reach out to get that story! It was great being a part of your dev mountain experience! I have had a great story myself! I got a job at Sharendipity, an app on the app store to share your things. I then moved over to backcountry.com last october and was in charge of creating landing pages and ads for most of the things you see go live on the site. I am now at a great company called Blip that is a small startup that is getting huge doing electronic billboard advertising. I am excited to set my roots here for a while!
HAHA i laughed out loud at the 'mechanincal keyboards are the best' part! I myself bought a cheap mechanical keyboard from Velocifire made for mac computers
velocifiretech.com/product/velocif...
Its a great first keyboard, and you can buy $10 keycaps from ebay to customize it ;) Also it has cherry brown switches which are the best keyswitch!

Anyway congrats on the successes you have had and continue to have! Coding is a continually growing field and its amazing how fast you can excel! I couldn't be where i am today in a different field with 3 years of experience!

-Jaden

 

Jaden! We really had a great time at DevMountain. Our cohort was amazing! I have enjoyed watching your journey as well (as best as I can from LinkedIn, lol!). I love seeing all of us succeed!

 

Nice, didn't know Auth0 have an office in Las Vegas.
We at moesif.com are a happy customer of Auth0.
A lot of the engineer we talked to seems are all in Argentina, are most of your team in Argentina?

 

We have headquarters in Bellevue, Washington as well as Buenos Aires, Argentina and others! There's no office in Las Vegas, but being a heavily remote based company, I am one of three in the Las Vegas area that works remotely for Auth0.

Thanks for reading! And thanks for being an Auth0 customer! We love our customers! :)

 

Hello Sarah great article and it rang to me because I’m a flight attendant as well and hope to do the switch you did 😀

Did you kept working on projects or writing and meet-ups was what really helped you? I have been focusing more on my projects and kind of been slacking on writing 😬

 

Making the switch is hard but worth it! At the beginning, it was all about learning code and building projects. It wasn't until I graduated from my bootcamp that I started focusing on the meetups and writing part. 😀

 

Wonderful article, Teacher, I was almost going crazy yesterday learning to build a product landing page 😁😁😁... This words encased in gold has fired me to continue charging forward thanks a lot and I know now, Nothing is ever easy but with determination and a little luck there is nothing you can't do

 

Well deserved success! To the moon!

 

Great story of your journey. Thanks for sharing and good luck!

 

Great story! Whenever I'm flying I think how nice it must be to be flight attendant, except when descending. The pain in my ears dissuade me and I continue coding lol

 

really inspire for many self taught

 

Great story and awesome that you were able to make the transition to web dev. Looking forward to your next post!

 

Neat, thanks for sharing your story.I know there is some luck factor but most results come from hard work and generosity, thanks for daring to take the leap and sharing your story with us.

 

What a great story and love your energy! Thanks for sharing!

 

Thanks for sharing your incredible journey so far!

 

Awesome story 👏🏿👏🏿 Thanks for sharing!

 

Wow, great read. Thanks for sharing

 

Awesome! From real clouds to virtual clouds!

 

Congratulations on your journey. Glad to see you transition to programming. 👍👌👋

 

Amazing journey Kapehe, excited to meet you at #ngIndia.

 

This is an Incredible Journey. I couldn't help but laugh when I read this "Stay far away from the master branch".