By Christina Douzmanian
If you had told me, a year ago, that I’d be working as a developer, I wouldn’t have believed it. A year ago, I was riding my bike across the Venetian Causeway at 6AM to go to work behind the coffee bar at a hotel on South Beach. Now, a year later, I’m about to start my first job as a junior full stack developer, making three times what I was making at the hotel.
Last fall, I began to teach myself to code through a slew of online tutorials, but found it difficult to grasp the concepts on my own. That’s when I heard of a coding school named Ironhack through a friend; it had a solid reputation and offered scholarships for women. In short, Ironhack sounded ideal. They had plans to open a school in Miami, but it wasn’t for another 6 months or so… next thing I knew, I had quit my job, sublet my apartment, and used up all of my miles to go to Barcelona and learn to code for 2 months.
Ironhack was intimidating! My peers were from all over the world, and they seemingly all had some experience with programming. It was hard not to feel like my acceptance had been a fluke. However, I soon found that with the support of the teachers and my peers, I progressed as much as my fellow peers. My final project ended up being voted one of the top 5 best projects in my cohort! I won’t lie, it was hard - I probably slept an average of 5 hours a night, and there were many times during the course where I felt like I wasn’t cut out for it. Ultimately, the camaraderie that was likely a product of the prolonged, shared suffering, was what got me through the course. Not only did I get to spend 8 weeks with amazing, interesting people from different corners of the world, but I also befriended some of the newest, best talent in tech and they’re connections I’ll have for the rest of my life.
Although I would have been grateful to get any job that allowed me to have weekends off, I had always dreamt of working remotely so that I could travel and live wherever I pleased. The amazing staff at Launch Code Miami made this dream a reality! It took them less than three weeks to find me a position for a company that I’m genuinely excited to work for, all the while being remote! I never assumed that after a decade of working in the foodservice industry, I’d have so many doors open for me. Yet, here I am, beginning my new journey. A journey that includes a generous salary, health care, benefits, paid time off, and most importantly, the flexibility to do the things I love.
Christina Douzmanian, 26, is a Miami local and lives in Wynwood.