How a Lawyer from Sydney Became a Change Maker Through Software Engineering

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 […]

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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._For as long as Remmy C. can remember she’s always craved being challenged. Originally from Australia, she studied law and biomedical science in college. Eventually choosing to pursue law, she became a commercial litigation lawyer in Sydney for five years. She enjoyed her work, she thrived under the pressure, and craved the steep learning curve the job demanded. However, after working in law for five years, she was worried about the satisfaction and fulfillment law could provide her years down the road. Additionally, she saw other industries innovating while her industry seemed to be moving forward at a snail's pace. Something needed to change. Remmy wanted her work to have a meaningful impact on the company itself and the world around her. That’s why she chose a socially responsible startup that’s helping local governments make smarter environmental decisions. Below, Remmy, a Flatiron School online graduate, discusses how she being a change maker is a holistic experience.

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From commercial litigation to coding

Commercial litigation law covers business contracts, venture disputes, class actions, and everything in between. Practicing lawyers in this field have to quickly become experts in their clients’ respective industries. Remy thrived with this demand to learn as much as possible. Every day was different, every client had different needs, and she needed to always be on top of her game. As Remmy spent more time in the courtroom, she started to grow frustrated with some systemic issues in the profession. “The structure of the industry is incredibly slow to embrace change by its very nature,” said Remmy. “And, that became more and more frustrating as I saw so many exciting things happening in the world around me, particularly in technology.”She recalls how hard copies of court books every time they go to trial. “I just thought I’d rather be somewhere that is open to embracing change and that’s what lead me to start thinking about something in the tech industry,” said Remmy.She knew something had to change. Key takeaway → A career may be satisfying in some ways, but not so much in other ways. All jobs will have their pros and cons, but think about what you need to make your job a career.  

Transitioning from law to software engineering

Remmy knew she wanted to be challenged, to always be learning, and make an impact with her work when considering a new career path. In reflecting on this transition, she points out how software engineering fit the bill perfectly. In fact, Remmy notes there are similarities between commercial litigation and coding. “In commercial litigation, I spent most of my time strategizing, problem-solving, and researching different areas of law because anything commercial, we could deal with it,” said Remmy. She was a master at getting a matter through the court system and was already a researcher and problem solver at heart. Those skills would easily translate to software engineering. “I don’t just want something to work, I want to know why it works. I’ve always been very curious in that respect,” said Remmy.In exploring the potential of this new career in software engineering, Remmy started doing a few tutorials online and found her way to Flatiron School’s free online Coding Bootcamp Prep. After just a short time learning these new skills on nights and weekends, she was hooked, “I’m generally an all or nothing type of person”, she said on reflecting on this time. So she quit her job as a lawyer and joined Flatiron School’s Online Web Developer Program (now called the Online Software Engineering Bootcamp). Key takeaway →  A career in technology doesn’t mean you have to leave your other passions behind. Take your motivators and passions from your previous career and embrace them in a new career in software engineering.

Remmy’s learning journey

Right around the time Remmy quit her job in Australia she knew she wanted to move as well. Her partner's company opened up an office in Denver, Colorado providing a perfect opportunity for her to relocate there as well.Flatiron School’s online program provided the perfect amount of flexibility for her to thrive throughout her learning journey while traveling from Australia to New York to Denver and back all throughout this process. What truly helped to provide the perfect amount of structure for Remmy excel in the online program was the access to WeWork she received while she was studying. Because of that, when she was visiting her parents back in Australia, her sister in NYC, or getting settled with her partner in Denver, she had a constant space to focus, learn, and network. While at a WeWork, she was able to network with engineering professionals, and meet other Flatiron School students. “It made it feel much less like I was studying online”, Remmy said.Key takeaway → Studying online doesn’t mean you’re in this alone. With access to over 335 WeWork locations around the world, direct access to instructors over slack and zoom, and exposure to the global Flatiron School graduate network, students have endless opportunities to make real human connections while studying software engineering online.

The job search

Remmy was able to hone in on what she wanted her work and life to look like after graduation while working at WeWorks around the world.Additionally, Flatiron School's career coaches were pivotal in helping Remmy land a job. Encouraging her to focus on herself as an applicant rather than just one aspect of the job search like refining a resume or improving LinkedIn. “That really made me think about the job hunt in a holistic way. It’s not just ‘get my resume ready’, it’s more like get the whole package ready. Figure out my story. What I want. And the ‘why’ I want to do this.”, said Remmy. She learned there were two factors that were important to her. “I wanted to work for a smaller startup because I wanted to have a tangible impact from day one,” said Remmy. “I wanted to care about the work I was doing every day, which is why I chose a socially responsible company.”The career services support didn’t just end when she secured an interview. “The number one thing for me was once I received job offer,” said Remmy. “Being able to pick up the phone and ask what do you think about the offer. Or before I walked into an interview being able to ask what do you think I should say if I’m asked this question’’ Key takeaway → While the job search looks different for everyone, Flatiron School's career coaches help personalize the job search for every student from start to finish.

A change maker

Remmy is now a software developer for Sawatch Labs, a Denver based startup that analyzes telematic data off of vehicles to determine if the vehicle’s driving needs could be met with an electric vehicle. In reflecting on her career change, she shares how excited she is to get up and go to work every day. “I just want to create some sort of positive change,” said Remmy. All things she loved about her career as a lawyer and still get to experience as a software engineer. She doesn’t miss having to wear a suit every day though! Additionally, she finds she’s able to focus more on what she wants to do and learn in her current role than being a lawyer. She’s also become more socially aware since starting her new job. “I definitely think about the environment more since starting my job. I was environmentally responsible before, but now it spans my entire day, so that’s pretty cool,” said Remmy.Remmy is using the skills she learned at Flatiron School to make a change in her career and life. “Change in my personal life, is leaving something better than I found it,” said Remmy. “Whether that be the world around us, myself, my skills, the way I think or the way I interact with people, it’s a very holistic approach.”Changing careers can be scary, but Remmy says it will be rewarding.”Change, in my career, means taking that leap of faith,” she said. “Negative things may come of it, but overall it will have a positive impact on you.”

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of February 4, 2019. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ.

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