After Making a Connection Between the Brain and Computers, One Became a Software Engineer

Alexandra discusses how she made the leap from psychology to software engineering.

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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.

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Alexandra W. wasn’t always an engineer. She studied psychology as an undergraduate, but she made an interesting connection while taking a neuroscience course. “I was taking this neuroscience class in undergrad and that excited me; how neurons work. They have excitatory phases of either on or off, which is very similar to how computer circuits work,” said Alexandra. “That really kind of blew my mind a little bit.”After college, she decided a few years later to return to her childhood love of computers, and began her pursuit in the computer science industry. “I have always been really really into computers. My earliest memories are of me with my dad and him teaching me commands on there.”While she was nervous to leave behind her job, Alexandra followed her passion and attended Flatiron School as an online student. Five months later, she was an Apprentice Software Engineer at Pandora in Oakland, CA.

Below, Alexandra discusses how she made the leap from psychology to software engineering. Sometimes, an interesting connection can lead you to a career you love.

From psychology to Python

Alexandra took another step into the computing world while studying psychology. She took an Intro to Python course — which reignited her interest in computer science — and self-taught her way to completing a CompTIA A+ certification that same year. But, switching majors from psychology to computer science was not a viable option as a junior and she graduated with a degree in psychology. Alexandra’s interest in computers never truly vanished after graduation. While working as an onsite technician, she became interested in learning more about programming. She started teaching herself Ruby, took an Intro to Computer Science course, and began her search for more intensive bootcamps to further her skillset.

Key takeaway → Determination and hard work go a long way toward achieving your goal. If you’re passionate about something, pursue it and find way a to turn it into a reality.

From Flatiron School to software engineering

Alexandra’s research led her to Flatiron School. “Flatiron School’s online curriculum was way more flexible than any other program, and it worked with my work schedule,” said Alexandra.Even before becoming a Flatiron School student, Alexandra always had support. “During the free Bootcamp Prep, I actually needed help on a problem, and used the feature where I was matched with an available Flatiron School technician,” said Alexandra. “He worked with me for over an hour to explain how to solve the specifics of the problem, which was immensely useful, and, after that, I knew that Flatiron School was where I wanted to take my next steps.”

After quitting her job to complete the self-paced Online Full Stack Web Development program in under five months, Alexandra graduated from Flatiron School and accepted a role at Pandora in Oakland, CA as an Apprentice Software Engineer. “I wasn’t nervous about my future after I quit my job, to be honest,” said Alexandra. “You always will be a little, but I had a good feeling about Flatiron School and had a really great support system. It seemed like the right fit for me. I really felt confident about that decision.”Alexandra now is part of the Subscription Management Team at Pandora, focusing on Development set up, and thriving. “I love it. It’s fantastic,” said Alexandra.She’s learned a lot on her journey from psychology to technology. For anyone looking to pursue a career in tech, Alexandra emphasizes following what really motivates you. “My advice for anyone looking into the field of technology is see where your passion lies,” said Alexandra. “My goal was to go into work everyday and enjoy working, because it was something I was enjoying doing. I think if your goal is to do something like that, specifically in programming, then you’re on the right path.”

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of January 29, 2019. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ.

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