I Got the Job!

I’ve been dreaming about being able to write this blog post. It feels as though I’ve completed a very long cycle (of course to only begin a new one!).

About a year ago I decided I wanted to leave my job and attend a coding bootcamp. Going into it I was set on becoming a developer, although I knew other tech related roles were an option to pursue as well.

The bootcamp was the toughest endeavor I’ve ever pursued. I committed myself everyday for 6 months chucking along through the Flatiron curriculum. There were highs and lows (lots and lots of lows) fueled by discipline and determination. I graduated with 4 projects I was very proud of building but I also experienced burnout.

The end of the program coincided with the end of my apartment lease in Philly, and since I didn’t want to sign a new lease without having a full-time job, I decided it would be best to move back in with my parents so I could figure it out (they were living in Long Beach Island for the summer, poor me!). I took two weeks to myself— sleeping 10 hours a night and catching up with friends and family I had negated while I was enrolled in the bootcamp. I then got a part time job at a beachy, bohemian boutique so I wasn’t under financial pressure while on the job hunt. However, as the weeks went by, I couldn’t bring myself to apply to developer jobs. I couldn’t understand why I felt this way. I had dreamed of finishing the bootcamp so I could get a job as a developer. However, I decided to reflect why I was resistant to become a developer. I realized that I missed aspects of my prior job— being a cross team communicator to help resolve customer issues. The thought of coding for 8 hours a day did not appeal to me. It was tough to admit this to myself, because although going into the program I was open to other roles in tech, after I graduated I felt like I “should” pursue a role as a developer, since I had learned Javascript, Ruby, React, Redux, Rails, and some basic HTML and CSS. I stopped “shoulding” all over myself and started to look for roles which combined my deep interest and knowledge of technology with my communication skills. Although it felt like I had turned full circle, desiring aspects of the role I had previously had, I knew I was going into this round of job search more knowledgeable and hirable because of the skills I learned in the coding bootcamp.

The first step was to figure out what the title of the role was that I was looking for. Initially, I was open to all positions what were “hybrid” roles- roles which desired both business and technical knowledge. This included roles such as a solutions engineer, customer operations engineer, various analyst roles, technology associate, application support service coordinator and technical onboarding specialist. After initial phone screenings and learning about the aforementioned roles, I began to trim down the list of positions I wanted to apply to. Solutions engineer proved to be too much involved with the sales process for my liking. Roles as an analyst seemed too narrow and did not seem to utilize the technical knowledge I had attained. This led me to narrowing down my search primarily to technical support engineer and technical onboarding specialist.

During my interviews I was upfront and clear with the kind of role I wanted. It was my responsibility to communicate that although I completed a coding bootcamp, I did not want to pursue a developer role. I was interested in a role which looked at problems from a technical and analytical standpoint, empathized with stakeholders, and worked with developers to resolve. Coding could be a requirement of the role, but I didn’t want it to be the main focus.

In all, I applied to 20 jobs, had 5 phone screenings, 2 onsite interviews and 2 offers. I want to mention that all phone screenings, and both offers, came from roles I had applied to online, without knowing someone at the organization.

The official role I accepted is an Application Support Services Coordinator with a small consulting and technology agency. I will be the point of contact for clients to reach out to should a web app or website turn buggy or isn’t functioning the way intended. It will be my job to scope, prioritize, and pass on the work for the developers to resolve. I’ll keep both clients and developers updated on deadlines. I’ll work with developers to understand the problem at hand and put it into words so our client understands. I will be responsible to QA the resolved issue. There’s even opportunity down the road to apply by own coding skills and resolve issues once I familiarize myself with the company’s technologies, which sounds exciting.

I’m very happy with this role. It’s everything I was looking for in a role from a professional standpoint, and in a location I want to live in as well— in Monmouth County, New Jersey. I have a quick commute, am close to the beach but also close enough to visit friends I have in nearby cities – New York and Philadelphia. I’m happy I was able to attain a role in tech without having to move to a city, and I’m glad there’s a vibrant tech community at the Jersey Shore. I have been attending networking events all summer in the Jersey Shore and am excited that I’ll be able to continue to attend. The small but mighty tech community is welcoming and personal.

Like they say sometimes you need to leave your job, attend a coding bootcamp, pick up part time jobs as a yoga teacher and studio manager, experience burnt out, graduate from said bootcamp, move home, work in a peaceful feminine beach store for a few months, and brainstorm what kind of role in tech fits your skills before you end up in a role that fits your professional aspirations within a company which aligns with your personal values. This has felt like a long year, which is a good thing, because I felt like I have experienced a lot from a professional development standpoint.

Looking forward to the learning and bright future ahead in my next chapter, onwards and upwards!

What Made You Interested In All This At Such A Young Age?

“So, what made you interested in all this at such a young age?”

One of my classmates was intrigued that I was attending a workshop entitled “Transform Your Energy, Change Your Life” at Kripalu, a center for yoga and wellness.

It’s a question I’ve asked myself as well, noticing that I’m often times the youngest person whether I’m in yoga teacher trainings, reiki courses or other wellness related workshops.

I began to share my story.

I’m fortunate to have discovered yoga while I was in high school. I remember a couple of close friends and I planned to go to a class together at our local gym— plus we heard the instructor was cute. What was originally a mini social event turned into something much more. Yoga seemed to alleviate my monkey mind and the pressure I had put on myself to “do it all”. It was junior year of high school and I was in the midst of over extending myself with AP classes, playing travel soccer year round, and keeping up socially with my friends. At about this time I was also diagnosed with ITP, or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. I’m fortunate that ITP allows me to live my life quite normally, but the one symptom that never leaves is fatigue. Yoga was a source of movement that didn’t completely deplete me, but instead nourished and energized me.

Since my first yoga class, I kept following the “spiritual breadcrumbs” as Pam Grossman likes to say. I can’t really pinpoint when this happened, but after a couple of years of practicing yoga I realized it was not only a physical practice for me, but a spiritual experience as well. Throughout college and onwards I explored different types of yoga classes, a yoga teacher training, reiki classes, a meditation course, and various other workshops and trainings. I notice I do tend to be on the younger side of these classes, but it’s never something that made me feel alienated or uncomfortable.

After all, what attracts people to these types of trainings has nothing to do with age, but everything to do with curiosity, a search for something “bigger than ourselves”, and a desire for community. Furthermore, these trainings are filled with storytelling, which relates people regardless of age and background. Hearing people speak their truth breaks down separateness and differences.

My question is, what is the “correct” age to do all this? My answer: there isn’t. As a lifelong learner, I see these courses I take as “college for adult life”. What all these courses have in common are that they offer ways to alleviate stress and add lightness to everyday life. I tell my peers about the courses I take, and the interest is there. One obstacle for people in their early 20s may be cost, as these courses have ranged anywhere from $250 – $2,400. It’s easier for people to have this kind of disposable income when they are more developed in their careers and have paid off student debt.

As time goes on I believe these trainings will have more representation from younger age groups. Yoga and mediation are being exposed to kids in elementary school these days, and I think exposure has a lot to do it with it. Yoga classes were offered at my local gym while I was in high school. I know that wasn’t the case for my parents. I believe it’s generational.

I’ll continue to explore my spiritual curiosity because I know my presence and participation enhances the experience (that can be said about anyone, no matter the age or background!) for all.

What’s an API? Real World Examples

Now that I’m actively interviewing with companies, I’m learning more about tech to build on top of the knowledge I learned at Flatiron. Two companies I’m interviewing with— Plaid and ICIMS, views their API as a product. Plaid, specifically, sells their API to other SaaS companies in order to connect users with their bank account information. Plaid did all the dirty work of connecting digitally to different banks so companies like Venmo doesn’t have to worry about relationship management with the bank or bank security, they can trust that Plaid has that handled. Therefore Venmo can focus on the front-end and the user experience of the app. Prior to interviews I never though of APIs and being products themselves, and can be used as infrastructure for many different apps.

ICIMS on the other hand, is a software company that sells software for managing recruiting, on boarding, and offer management. ICIMS also has a product called Unifi, which is a platform as a service where clients can shop around for other software companies that will help with payroll, resume storage, and recruitment. When new companies want to be added to this marketplace, they must connect to the API that ICIMS built for Unifi. It’s innovative to perceive an API has a market place and not just as an endpoint to data.