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From Social Worker to Software Engineer πŸ’ƒ

Six months ago I began my journey into the world of software engineering by joining the Full-Stack Web Development & Computer Science program at Lambda School. The last time I wrote a blog post, I wrote from the perspective of a part-time student. So much has changed since then so I figured it was time to write an updated post. πŸ“’

Transitioning to the Full-time cohort πŸ’»

At the end of May 2019, I decided to transition to the full-time cohort to accelerate my progress and learning in the program. I was working up to 35hrs per week in addition to coding for at least 8hrs per day. Needless to say it was quite stressful and overwhelming. 😩 😩 😩

In August, and after speaking with my partner, I left my full-time job, started working as a part-time Team Section Lead at Lambda School and kept pushing through the program. August & September were the two most trying times. Apart from the stress & shock of learning Reactjs & Redux back in June, participating in the 2 months in-house apprenticeship (labs) was maddening - primarily because I was coding all day with my team then had to switch to managing students & team leads in the part time cohort. My day started at 8am and ended at midnight most days. It was (and still is) a lot of work. πŸ’€ 😫

By the time labs ended, I was completely burnt out. 😩 So I asked for a short break from school. I wanted to be in the right mindset before going into the hardest part of the curriculum - computer science fundamentals. Additionally, I wanted to give myself time to enjoy the Grace Hopper Conference which was immediately after completing labs. πŸ’ƒ

Grace Hopper Celebration πŸŽ‰

Sometime this year I received a registration scholarship from AnitaB to attend Grace Hopper. This was my very first time attending a tech conference and I was determined to make connections and engage with as many employers as possible. πŸ˜€

While I was extremely surprised at first to see how underrepresented WOC were at the conference, I made it my goal to present myself as best as possible and tried to standout among the large computer science crowd. I used the wonderful interpersonal skills I gained from working in the field of Social Work, Non-Profit Organizations & Government, to connect with recruiters on an individual level and create meaningful conversations. πŸ’¬

I spoke about my journey, my former career and my current tech stack and was surprised at how receptive most employers were to my story. This increased my confidence and allowed me to shine even brighter when I was speaking with the Engineering Director at Northwestern Mutual's (NM) booth. 🏦

I'm happy to say that I was hired by NM as an Associate Engineer and will begin that journey in January 2020 after completing Lambda School in December. 😲 I still cannot believe this happened because my goal was to work in the fintech space post graduation. 😲 πŸ˜€

The Journey Ahead ✈️

As I continue my learning at Lambda and prepare to move across the country with my partner, I'm simply amazed at how much I have learned and how much I am yet to discover. Discovering code in December 2018 has been a transformative experience. ✨ ✨

As a Jr Software Engineer, I am so excited to see what lies ahead. πŸ˜€

Top comments (4)

eli profile image
Eli Bierman

Congratulations on the new fintech job!! πŸ₯³ Locking down a job before the end of your bootcamp is super impressive and a testament to all the work you put in. Your combination of coding skills and interpersonal skills definitely sets you apart as an applicant, and the best employers recognize that. Good luck finishing up the program and with your move!

ladykerr profile image

Thank you so much! πŸ€ΈπŸ½β€β™€οΈπŸ’ƒπŸΎ

charlyjazz profile image
Carlos Azuaje

Software Engineer or front end dev?

ladykerr profile image

I was hired as an engineer 😁