From Fleeing Venezuela to Junior Full-Stack Developer

Life in Venezuela had become difficult for Andres and his family. Andres found himself struggling to make ends meet and unable to earn a livable wage

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At Flatiron School, our success is our  students’ success — when students get jobs, we achieve our mission of enabling the pursuit of a better life through education. But, students’ stories don’t end after they graduate. In this series, we chat with Flatiron School’s alumni community about their journey into coding, and how that journey transformed their life._

Life in Venezuela had become difficult for Andres and his family. Andres found himself struggling to make ends meet and unable to earn a livable wage. In 2014, Andres and his family fled to Costa Rica in search of a better life, but was unable to find work in Costa Rica and moved to Hawaii where he had several contacts. Andres took advantage of every opportunity he could in Hawaii. This often meant working odd jobs like construction, cooking, and cleaning. While he was earning an income, he was feeling unfulfilled.He needed more and would eventually find a life and career in Washington, D.C. after attending Flatiron School._Below, Andres discusses how he started a career in tech, found his path in life, and can help his family in Venezuela as a software developer.

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Life changes

In 2018, Andres’ girlfriend moved to D.C. for a job opportunity. She sold her car to a woman who ran a coding bootcamp before leaving Hawaii. This seemingly minor detail sparked something in Andres and got him thinking about what’s next. He thoroughly enjoyed the programming courses he had taken while earning a systems engineering degree in Venezuela. But, could he make a career out of this? His degree wasn’t recognized in Costa Rica or the US. “I studied for five years and I wanted to do something that mattered to me,” said Andres. “I loved the programming part of my education most, and decided to pursue a career in it.”It was time to do some research, which ultimately led to Flatiron School in D.C. He applied to the immersive software engineering course, and was accepted in a matter of weeks. Andres said goodbye to the surf and sun of Hawaii to pursue a career in tech and to create the life he wanted to live.

Why Flatiron School?

“I chose Flatiron School because of the thorough curriculum and prep course,” said Andres. “My software developer friends in Venezuela also confirmed the curriculum was impressive and I would be gaining an excellent education.” He received the Facebook + Flatiron Breakthrough Scholarship, which fully funded his education and made it possible for him to attend Flatiron School.The Facebook + Flatiron Breakthrough Scholarship is just one of many diversity initiatives meant to enable the pursuit of a better life through education. By providing a full scholarship to members of underrepresented, we’re creating opportunities to change their lives and the tech industry itself.There were a lot of resources at Flatiron School that helped him succeed. Career services, for example, prepared him to ace the interview process and find a job. “There were many challenges, as my resume was originally in Spanish, and in my country resumes are several pages long and a lot more detailed,” he recalls. He needed a resume and approach tailored for the U.S. job search. “My career coach, Jolie, helped me simplify my resume for the American job market, as well as improve my Linkedin Profile to attract recruiters,” said Andres. “ We did mock interviews and gave me the confidence I needed to succeed in interviews, especially the technical interviews.”

A new career in tech

After a lot of hard work, Andres landed the job of his dreams, focusing on front-end and back-end development.  He is now a junior full-stack developer at DXC Technology Company in New Orleans. “If it wasn’t for Flatiron School, I would be back in Hawaii working construction and surfing.  Which isn’t bad, but it wasn’t the path I wanted for my life and career.” Andres now has an incredible job and a salary that lets him help his family back in Venezuela.  “I want to buy a good-sized home here so one day I can have them here with me,” said Andres.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of February 27, 2019. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ.

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