A 10-Week Program Will Not Make You An Instant Success, But Persistent Hard Work Will.

I’ve spent the last 2-3 years hemming and hawing about wanting to learn how to be a software engineer. I’d say confidence was the biggest thing holding me back.

By Marissa Marquez (Hackbright Academy – spring 2013 class)

Marissa MarquezMy original background was in graphic design and several years in front-end design/html/css/js. The excuses were “it’s too hard, I couldn’t possibly…”, “I can’t afford to take the time to…”, and just plain old lack of true motivation. I was very, very fortunate that circumstances and opportunity collided to finally allow myself to make the leap to become a software engineer.

Don’t think that a 10-week program is going to make you an instant success. It is a lot of hard work during and post-Hackbright Academy.

My first white boarding interview was at Facebook(!!!) and was a very humbling experience. I was very thankful that my interviewers were very respectful and seemed genuinely rooting for me. It was no surprise that I had still had a lot to learn. I studied algorithms, practiced interviewing, even bought a mini-whiteboard and thin markers (for better screen resolution), kept coding and forced myself to apply to jobs and go on interviews.

I wanted to put a hold on interviewing and wait until I was “ready” but I realized that unless I was willing to put myself in these uncomfortable situations, I’d continue to hold myself back. It was really embarrassing for me to not have a clue how to answer questions, to look at a blank white board and feel “dumb.”

I began to realize though that interviewers pose these challenges to see how you react. They are testing you and if you don’t know the answer they WANT you to ask questions to see how you think and how it would be like to work with you. They’re evaluating you to see if you’re someone they want to work with and to gauge your ability (junior, mid-level, senior).

It also wasn’t a solo effort. In addition to the support from other Hackbright students, instructors, and family & friends, my mentors Julia and Carina gave me that extra push.

About two months later, I discovered what it meant to find a good fit and was offered a full-stack role at Trulia which I’m really excited about. I start in 2 weeks and it’s dog-friendly :-).

This post was originally posted at Marissa Marquez’s blog.

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