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“All students can – and deserve to if they want to – learn to code.”
Online Graduate Katleiah Ramos has studied Dark Matter, taught kids to code, and earned three college degrees! She has boldly networked while looking for her first coding job, and has great things to share on those experiences.
You learned coding when you were in third grade and you taught yourself how to script in HTML. Time passed, and you became a teacher. How did you find your way back to coding and ultimately enrolling at Flatiron School?
While I was getting my degrees in Math and Physics at the University of Washington, I was heavily involved in the Axion Dark Matter Experiment, and that’s actually where I came back to coding. I was learning to code on the job (doing some embedded software projects) and found that I really enjoyed it. After college, I joined the Teach For America Corps and taught Math and Physics. I loved Teach for America because I got to share my passion for STEM with others. After the corps, I took a step back to look at my experiences, skills, and passions and realized that I wanted to enter tech because I felt like I could really make an impact in that space. That’s when I decided to enroll in a coding bootcamp, and ultimately landed with Flatiron School because their vision was similar to mine – make an impact on the world of tech through education.
You have certainly demonstrated a true passion for education by earning three college degrees! Given these accomplishments, what struck you as unique about the experience of being a Flatiron School student?
Flatiron School was challenging! Completing the online program really required me to hone in on my organization, self-motivation, and self-discipline. Not to mention also getting really comfortable with ‘the struggle’ - aka not having the answer to something right away - aka googling/stack-overflowing.
You began to focus on networking in advance of your graduation — your career coach calls you a “fierce networker.” How long did it take you to start seeing the results of those efforts?
I was seeing results right away! I feel like this is because the ‘results’ I look for going into networking are simply to learn more about the experience of being a developer and of job-seeking. I don’t necessarily look to walk out of a conversation with a direct lead. It was so helpful for me to chat with folks about their experience, because I got such great advice. A lot of the times the conversations would yield a lead, which is great, but I was never disappointed because I always got to learn more.
How has your job search been going so far? What’s challenging in the process?
Job-seeking is hard. There are a lot of opportunities I’ve invested time in, that I felt like I was a great fit for, but ended without a match. The challenge, for me, is to always look at my experiences and learn from them. It can be hard sometimes because there may be decisions that I don’t fully understand, or I may get a rejection without direct feedback. I always challenge myself to trust that there is more room to improve.
Earlier this year you taught kids in grades 1–8 to code at Codeverse in Chicago. What was that experience like?
I really enjoy teaching kids (or anyone for that matter) about coding. In that role specifically, kids were creating games at an interactive coding studio called Codeverse. There were certainly challenges – coding syntax is hard to teach students when they’ve just started learning English syntax in school – but what I found was that there was still an appreciation for being able to create something from nothing.
That experience relates to your personal vision of bringing education closer to students across the world through technology, and supporting the learning of coding for the younger generation. How can you, and other coders out there, make that happen?
First, believing that all students can – and deserve to if they want to – learn to code. After that, I think there are already so many organizations out there with the vision of bringing technology to kids, so finding ways to support those orgs!
Katleiah's Career Coach Crystal Combs on what she finds impressive about Katleiah:
"Katleiah's attack is solid and consistent, her attitude is so positive, and with her science/math/teaching background, that all adds up to someone who will be an outstanding hire! She’s also dedicated to finding a work space where she can thrive and support and mentor others."
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