How Hackbright Scholarship Winner Natalie Miles landed a job at Credit Karma

72584_751438918288_206195_n Natalie Miles is a business analyst at Credit Karma who earned a full scholarship to the Hackbright Academy Part-Time class. Eager to help with tasks at her current role, her knowledge in programming is vital in the current work landscape, and as a woman, she knows the increasing need of females in tech. 

It was during a job transition when Natalie had the idea of getting into the data science field. 

Wanting to learn Python, Natalie, who had previously known about Hackbright, heard about the scholarship application through Hackbright from the Women Who Code newsletter. “I read it all the time and saw that there was a scholarship opportunity. I had been through boot camps and that had always been the first thing on my mind.” Natalie said she liked that it was all women.

“It’s a great way to learn a challenging subject, being with other like-minded people who are similar to you.”

After the application process, which Natalie found to be quite painless, she had heard within two days that she got the scholarship.

“I think for me I would have been reluctant to make that jump had I not received the scholarship. The program was something I wanted to do for awhile and I always pushed back because I knew it required a huge time and money commitment, so having that money commitment out of the picture and knowing it would just be a time commitment on my part made it a go ahead.”

Hackbright’s new Prep Course is twice a week during the evening, for eight weeks that covers the foundations of programming, which amongst the many topics, includes Python, GitHub, basic data structures and functionality. The prep course is perfect for those that want to get more into programming but still need some more experience before taking the Fellowship course.

As far as the program itself goes, Natalie made great friends in addition to a great education.

“It was a very encouraging and nurturing environment. I like the fact that there wasn’t weird competitiveness going on, and it really helped forge great relationships. The cohort I was with was great and I made some really great friends from this class. It’s hard to meet people outside of work so having an in-person class is a really rewarding experience.”

Projects That Carry into Work

As a business analyst at Credit Karma, and a former operations analyst at Lending Club, Natalie wanted to learn programming to help with mundane projects and tasks in her work.

“One of the most important things as far as getting into the data science field is that I have a basic understanding of Python, and [without this education], wouldn’t be able to do.

One of the cool projects I was able to do at Hackbright during class was using an API project to improve a work-related issue. I was able to make a tool to have a presence of Reddit.”


Eventually, Natalie would like to get a master’s degree in data science or an MBA. “I feel like I’m at such a big advantage knowing how to program—it’s such a valuable skill set. There’s not a lot of representation of women in these roles, and I feel an obligation to help and not be left behind because technology is advancing.”

Natalie’s advice for people who might be interested in learning about the Hackbright program and getting into more technical roles: “If this is something you’re interested in, make sure you set yourself up for success. Don’t keep putting it off because of timing…there’s never going to be a perfect time. Do it now while you have the availability, because you want to be able to focus on this and give yourself a chance to succeed.”


  • Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners is offering $1,000 scholarships | Apply here!
  • In honor of International Women’s Month, every student will receive a $500 scholarship for our Part-Time June courses

Hackbright Academy is the engineering school for women in San Francisco dedicated to closing the gender gap in the tech industry offering 12-week software engineering programs and night courses for women.

Happy International Women’s Day! 10 Inspiring Quotes from Women in Tech

In honor of #InternationalWomensDay, we put together some of our favorite quotes from some seriously talented and motivational women in tech. Take notes and get inspired!


#1 –   Ginni Rometty, first female CEO at IBM

“People are their first word critic, and it stops them from getting another experience because I could be better, if I was just ready yet, if I had one more thing. And that’s not it…You always have to do something that puts you in a zone you don’t know. Someone once told me growth and comfort do not coexist. And I think it’s a  really good thing to remember.”


#2 –   Rebecca Garcia, Technical Head of Product at Next Caller

“It’s so easy for us to get caught up in negative patterns, versus seeing what positive change you can make. Especially for women and minorities, we need to learn to see challenges as stepping-stones instead of hurdles. They really can bring you experience and closer to your goals.”

Women @ NASA - Michelle Haupt

# 3 –  Michelle Haupt, Operations Engineer at NASA 

“One thing I always tell young girls: Never let anybody tell you you can’t do it. Growing up, they’d look at me like, ‘Really?’ Even when I did my college visit, I had someone tell me most people change their minds after the first year. I never gave up. Even when I was having teachers tell me, ‘Just take a break from math, you can take this class next year,’ I said, ‘No, I’m going to take it now.’ I kept pushing for it.”


#4 –   Jean Bartik, Programmer at ENIAC

“I was told I’d never make it to VP rank because I was too outspoken. Maybe so, but I think men will always find an excuse for keeping women in their ‘place’. So, let’s make that place the executive suite and start more of our own companies.”


#5 –   Megan Smith, Former CTO of the United States of America 

“If you can find something you’re really passionate about, jump on that. If you’re passionate about (something) and you bring your talent, you’ll be unstoppable.”


#6 –   Lauren Mosenthal, CTO at Glassbreakers 

“Life is a series of building, testing, changing and iterating.”


#7 –   Carla Meninsky, engineer for Atari 

“I was a bit of an artist, and somewhere along the way had gotten the idea that computers could be used for animation and artists, because in-betweening was so tedious…Of course, everyone thought I was nuts.”


#8 –   Radia Perlman, AKA “Mother of the Internet”, IEEE fellow, inventor of Spanning-Tree Protocol           

 “The world would be a better place if more engineers, like me, hated technology. The stuff I design, if I’m successful, nobody will ever notice. Things will just work, and will be self-managing.”


# 9 –  Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo and former engineer at Google 

“People ask me all the time, ‘What is it like to be a woman at Google?’ I’m not a woman at Google, I’m a geek at Google. And being a geek is just great. I’m a geek, I like to code, I even like to use spreadsheets when I cook.”


#10 –    Kimberly Bryant, Founder and CEO of Black Girls Who Code and electrical engineer 

“Being able to push against that paradigm and push girls to the forefront, particularly girls of color, is going to make a tremendous difference in the industry in the years to come.”


Are you ready to get started with your career in tech? In honor of International Women’s Day, Hackbright Academy is offering $1,500 tuition scholarships for the 12-week immersive program until March 15! Apply here

Hackbright Academy is an engineering school for women in San Francisco dedicated to closing the gender gap in the tech industry.  

From Dental Assistant to Genentech Engineer: Meet Ruba Hassan

Ruba Hassan is a software engineer at Genentech who graduated from the Hackbright Academy fellowship in September. Before Hackbright, she was a dental assistant. A single mom, Ruba wanted to make life better for her and her daughter. Here’s how she changed her life by learning how to code.  


Ruba Hassan, Hackbright alumna, has completely changed her life within the course of a year. Working as a dental assistant for 9 years, she realized she needed a change for her and her daughter. “I wanted a career change but wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do,” she says. “I live in the Peninsula, so I wanted to get into tech. Knowing there were many tech bootcamps, I proceeded to look into what each had to offer. I wanted something that I would enjoy and a career that would give me the flexibility to work from home if need be to spend more time with my daughter. I started taking a few online classes: HTML, CSS, and found it fun. That’s when I found Hackbright. They had a part-time class called ‘Intro to Programming’. It was two nights a week, and I met some amazing women. Those women became my best friends and we developed a support system.”

After the class, Ruba felt confident enough to apply for Hackbright’s fellowship, a 12-week intensive that prepares you for a career in tech. “It was the part-time class that really helped me with the application,” she says. “My advice to anyone thinking about getting into tech is to take one or two classes to see if you would enjoy coding or if you’d understand it – and then go from there.”

Ruba was on vacation with her daughter at Universal Studios when she received the email that changed her life. “I got the email saying I was accepted into the fellowship program, and it was life-changing for both myself and my daughter. I knew I could provide a better life for her.”

“Emotionally, I feel more confident, stronger as a woman and that I can do so much more. I’m a part of a group of scientists that are building a huge project. It’s empowering.”

From there, Ruba quit her job and started the 12-week fellowship program.


“The fellowship experience was great, my classmates and I are best friends now and we got through the program together – no matter how challenging it got. The teachers are very helpful, the students are very helpful, and we learned from one another. They always said, ‘don’t worry, we’ll help you through it’ when things got challenging, and it really made me calm down and relax and realize that yes, I can do this.”

During the fellowship, everyone creates a project. The project that Ruba worked on happened to get her a job at Genentech after she graduated.

“I wanted to build a website for dental surgery. It’s an oral surgery scheduling app that’s built to allow patients to go online to the surgeon’s website to schedule the appointment on their own, texting a confirmation after the appointment has been made. It’s a real app based on my life experience in the dental industry.”

When interviewing with Genentech, the recruiters asked Ruba to “show them something you’re proud of” and that project is what got her the role as a software engineer at the company. Now, she’s building a website and working with scientists.

“Working at Genentech has been amazing,” Ruba says. “It’s a huge relief. Emotionally, I feel more confident, stronger as a woman and that I can do so much more. I’m a part of a group of scientists that are building a huge project. It’s empowering.” Ruba says her favorite part about her job is seeing her code live. “I’ve only been there a month and a half and I’ve seen my work go live on the website. That itself is more rewarding than anything else.”

Beach pic

When it comes to the fellowship, Ruba says she couldn’t have found a better program. “As a mom, I had to go to school from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and make sure to drop off, pick up and take care of my daughter’s needs. It wasn’t easy, but I had support.  I would recommend the program for any woman or mother. People think they can’t do it because they have children – and that’s not true. It was a stressful 12 weeks in terms of picking up my daughter, but it’s a short period of time. Now I have the flexibility with work to spend more time with my daughter. I also will say that the Hackbright alumnae community was incredibly helpful with my job search.”

Hackbright Academy is the leading engineering school for women in San Francisco dedicated to closing the gender gap in the tech industry.  Learn more about Hackbright’s 12-week software engineering program Ruba completed.