“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” - Colin Powell

Researcher turned Software Developer

Dabbling in code has always been a hobby of mine since I was young. It wasn’t until I started data analysis and setting up layouts in fundraising software that I realized how much I enjoyed it. I love researching, computers, and helping others learn, so I worked my way up in data analysis and prospect research in higher education fundraising. However, when I realized that I loved coding just as much as I loved research, I knew it was time to make a career change.

I’ve loved brain teasers, puzzles, and computers ever since I was a kid. My father, a systems analyst, would bring home computers and let me play with them. I spent hours building my first program in basic, a hearing test. College courses in statistical analysis and psychological research required using computers to process the data. During one college course that required making money from a website in one semester, I built a website that took orders for hosiery for women of color. During my career, I was lucky to have managers who put their faith in me and let me step into responsibilities like data analysis, database maintenance, and report development, which gave me many opportunities to learn and succeed.

Using databases and the complex software for fundraising raised my awareness of the need for better user interfaces and backend processing. Simply matching a form to the input screen saved hours of time in entry and reduced errors. While developing routine reports for everyday use and custom reports for special events, I learned how important clean data, accurate analysis, and the report format is for thorough communication of information. I realized that I loved coding just as much as I loved research and wanted an opportunity to learn more from experts.

I naturally researched different opportunities to learn how to code. Being in a university setting, I included college degree programs, but decided college computer programs teach older languages and frameworks due to the lengthy accreditation process. I considered several online and in-person bootcamps, but Bloc.io stood out with a very thorough full-stack software engineering program with mentored apprenticeship. Bloc’s curriculum covered frontend, backend, algorithms, data structures, many projects and open source contributions. Pair programmimg with a mentor and in group sessions gave me a deeper understanding of the coding process, collaborating with others on a team, and working remotely.

During the course work, I discovered that my research skills help me locate reliable sources for information needed in using languages, frameworks, tools, etc. My experience in listening and collaborating with fundraisers helps me work with team members and clients. I think it’s fun and exciting to learn new languages, frameworks and other tools. Software development is very rewarding, just like fundraising in education because it’s helping others reach their dreams. Currently, I’m finishing the Bloc software engineer apprenticeship, pair programming with my mentor on projects, contributing to open source projects, and volunteering as webmaster for a few non-profit organizations.