Lara M. moved to Australia from Moscow to begin a new career and a new life. She was an account manager at a marketing firm before discovering her passion for tech. In just over a year, Lara has found a community of developers in Sydney and a job as a front-end developer at an exciting startup after she completes her graduate program.
As an account manager at a marketing firm in Moscow, Lara worked on different projects and events, but didn’t feel a sense of ownership in her work. She was always envious of the developers and designers who had something to show for their work.
In her role, she worked closely with developers while managing digital projects. Lara began asking more and more questions about their work even though she already had the answers she needed. “I just found myself being curious about the tech side,” she says.
Software development was a good match with her personality. “You have to be calm and organized before jumping into the solution,” she says. It also scratched the itch she felt while watching her fellow designers and developers at work. Lara wouldn’t call herself “creative,” but that’s one of the things she loves about code. Yes, it’s logical. But, you’re also identifying creative ways to solve problems. Lastly, you’re building a tangible product. “It’s something I love about programming. You’re creating something that helps people,” she says.
What Lara needed to do next was to find out how she could become a software engineer. Luckily, she found her inspiration in the form of Karlie Kloss — who founded Kode With Klossy after she learned how to code from Avi Flombaum, our co-founder — and Casey Neistat. Lara’s a fan of both and learned about Flatiron School through Kloss. The way Flatiron School presented its statistics and the free Coding Bootcamp Prep led to her enrolling in our Online Software Engineering course, according to Lara.
Lara was completely new to programming, but she never felt overwhelmed at Flatiron School. She found the Ask-a-Question feature to be especially helpful. “If you were stuck, you could always ask for help. As a complete beginner, it was great being able to talk to someone who could explain it in different ways,” she says.
After Flatiron School, Lara moved to Australia from Moscow to pursue a Master’s degree in IT. She immersed herself in the local tech scene and attended Meetups and participated in hackathons in Sydney.
The tech community in Sydney is very active. There were a lot of groups that met regularly and were organized by passionate people, according to Lara. “It felt very inclusive,” she says. Sydney has larger tech conferences and smaller Meetups that are ideal for all experience levels. “I was so happy to see how intertwined the tech community was in Sydney.” She’s now giving back and signed up to be a mentor to help others in their coding journey.
Even though it may be uncomfortable, for prospective Flatiron School students, Lara recommends going to events and network. “I couldn’t think of a more cringeworthy moment than trying to start a conversation. But, over time, you start seeing familiar faces,” Lara says. As someone who had just moved to the city and didn’t really know anyone, these Meetup groups were a great way for Lara to gain a community.
It was at one of these hackathons where she first learned about Canva, a graphic design “unicorn.” She interned between semesters and really enjoyed her first professional experience as a front-end developer. She could be herself, be creative, and be challenged. Impressed with her work, Canva offered her a full-time role after she graduates.