From Law to Code: A Colorado Career Adventure
"As I was relocating, I didn’t have a large network of existing contacts to draw on, so I knew I had to go out and make them myself."
Meet Remmy Clay, an Australian lawyer who discovered she loved coding and living in Colorado. Being an active networker helped her to establish a community in her new home state and find her first software developer job!
How did you originally discover coding, and what was your path to enrolling at Flatiron School?
After several years working as a commercial litigation lawyer, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do ‘forever,’ so decided it was the perfect time to make a change. I discovered coding initially because my partner works for a startup, and many of his colleagues and our friends were in development. I was attracted to it because it incorporates some of the parts of litigation I loved (for example, it necessitates constantly learning new things) but also embraces change, and evolves at a rapid pace. I started coding on nights and some weekends, but I worked relatively long hours and wasn’t able to sink my teeth into it as I would have liked. I resigned from my job and started studying full time.
I had researched lots of different schools, and was ultimately sold on Flatiron School because I loved the Bootcamp Prep – in particular, the 'Ask A Question' feature. I was located in Australia at the time, in a completely different timezone, so being able to easily reach out to people, at least for part of the day, was really important. Everyone I spoke to before and during the process of applying at Flatiron School was super helpful and enthusiastic. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship, and the rest is history.
You began job seeking prior to your graduation, and it really payed off for you. What role did networking play in your job search?
Networking was a huge part of my job search. As I was relocating, I didn’t have a large network of existing contacts to draw on, so I knew I had to go out and make them myself! Toward the end of my studies, I started going to meetup events, aiming for at least one per week. I chose a mixture of happy-hour type and content-based events.
From your experiences, what networking tips do you have to offer our current Flatiron School job seekers?
Start early! I started networking before graduating because I knew personally I would find it much easier to be talking to people as a student versus as a graduate, looking for work. Rather than simply asking for a job, I was asking about the start-up scene in Denver generally, and sometimes asking for tips for when I ultimately started my job search. This not only made me feel more comfortable, it also made the people I was speaking to much more comfortable. It also worked out well for me because the interview process takes time! Because I’d made connections prior to graduating, I started interviewing as soon as I graduated, and had offers within a few weeks.
You received two job offers within two weeks from Sawatch Labs and another company! How did you ultimately decide which offer to accept?
Both companies seemed to have a great culture and I got along well with the founders and all of the employees that I met. Ultimately, the role at Sawatch Labs was more aligned with what I wanted to be doing on a day-to-day basis. It was a Full Stack Web Developer role (as opposed to mostly Front-End) and required more coding knowledge. Throughout the interview process, it was made clear that I’d most probably feel out of my depth most of the time and, as crazy as it sounds, that was exactly what I was after!
Being from Australia, you had to overcome that companies in Denver, where you live, did not seem aware of or very willing to consider the sponsorship process in your case. You came up with an “easy 1-2-3” explanation for potential employers. Tell us more about that, and did you also add anything on your status to your resume or LinkedIn profile?
I created a 1-page fact sheet which briefly explained the visa itself, as well as the process, time and costs involved. I gave a copy to prospective employers in my interview, as well as attached a copy to my follow up email. I did not specifically note that I required sponsorship on my LinkedIn or in my CV, but made it clear that I am from Australia and was relocating.
What will your new role be at Sawatch Labs?
My title at Sawatch Labs is Software Developer. I will be working on both the front and backend, helping work on the platform as well as rebuilding the website.
Remmy’s career coach Jolie Brown on their collaboration during her job search:
“Remmy was an amazing student because not only was she brave enough to leave a very solid profession (law), but she embarked on moving to Denver and the challenges that come with not only getting a job, but acquiring an E3 Visa. Her tenacity and diligence were evident from the beginning, and her commitment unwavering. She moved to Colorado and hit the ground running immediately going to Meetups to connect with her new community, and as they say…the rest is history."
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