How One Alum Changed Careers and Found Her Voice at Flatiron School

Posted by Flatiron School  /  March 13, 2019

Billie S. had outgrown her role as a digital marketing associate at a venture capital firm. She was running their website, planning social media, and chipping in on graphic design. She wore many hats, but knew the job was temporary nonetheless.

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“I felt like I’d be stuck in the same job forever,” says Billie. She was introduced to coding at 11 years old and wanted to enroll in a bootcamp right after college, but the timing wasn’t quite right.  This recent role rekindled her passion for code. Her colleague shared a link to Flatiron School’s Out in Tech Scholarship and she knew she needed to seize the moment. Her friends told her about Flatiron School and she felt confident it was the right place for her. “I have friends who are software engineers who love their jobs. I was inspired by them,” she says.Fortunately, taking a leap of faith was second nature. She was a natural risk-taker. “I needed to do it now or I’d never do it, and I like taking risks,” she says. “For example, I moved from London to New York without a job!” She applied to the immersive Software Engineering program at Flatiron School London and was accepted shortly after. She moved from New York City back to London to begin her career change.For her, tech was the ideal industry, combining innovation and challenge. “I find that energy electrifying,” she says.She felt a similar thrill at Flatiron School when she was challenged to learn new things.  “The thing I loved most at Flatiron School, what gave me that dopamine rush, was solving difficult puzzles. I found it so rewarding,” she recalls.The supportive community at Flatiron School helped her through any challenges she faced while learning. Billie was paired with a career coach before she graduated and loved that she was always in her corner. From general questions to mock interviews, Billie had the confidence she needed to change careers.

While she knew that she could start her career as a software engineer with Flatiron School, Billie didn’t realize she would discover her voice as an advocate for inclusion in tech. “My plan was not to be out and tell people I was trans — and was fairly certain that’s what I wanted to do,” she says. “The experience I had at Flatiron School, and their work with Out in Tech, highlighted the importance of being a visible role model and member of my community.” Every student has a final project at Flatiron School. It’s their opportunity to show off their skills and who they are as individuals. “I saw that the projects people were creating solved problems in their lives and that inspired me to do the same for myself,” she says.Her final project was an app highlighting the social and business value of inclusivity. “It helped trans people find services that are a safe space for them,” she says. “From doctors to clubs to hairdressers. The app encouraged businesses to see the value of being actively pro-trans.”Flatiron School helped her immensely in her journey, according to Billie. “It was such a positive experience where I could build something related to my identity to empower people.”Billie is now a technical associate at Techstars and her advice to future students is to be open to help, lean on students and faculty, and give back to your community when you can.