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How One Student Pivoted From Healthcare to Energy Sector

By Flatiron School StudentsOctober 16, 2019
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From Houston Healthcare to Energy Engineer…

“I see coding as a different puzzle everyday. Here is this jumbled picture, and it's up to you to straighten everything out, and rearrange the pieces to make a masterpiece!”

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Meet Sam Roberts Flatiron School Alum and Petro.ai Developer! He worked in the Healthcare corridor for years but eventually felt it was more maintenance then creation. Once he was exposed to what the in-house developers were building, he thought…”I don’t want to think outside the box, I want to build the box!” Read here about Sam’s incredible journey:

You come to Flatiron School from the supply chain side of healthcare. What was the spark that led to exploring the transition to programming?

I was good at what I did in the healthcare supply chain, but there was something missing from the core nature of the job. I could see the importance of the field, and I worked with some brilliant and talented colleagues, however, something just wasn't calling me back everyday. I started to think of what the rest of my professional career would look like, and I had a realization that life is too short to not take a risk at pursuing something that you are truly passionate about in your career! Those passions for me have always been rooted in technology and the act of "creating something" from scratch.

I read on your application that you describe yourself as a creative soul. You even created a commercial in college entitled “PB&Jay-Z!” What is it about coding that allows you to explore this side of you? What have you discovered about yourself through this journey?

Yes, that commercial certainly won't be winning any awards, but it was so fun to make and pretty clever if you ask me! I see coding as a different puzzle everyday. Here is this jumbled picture, and it's up to you to straighten everything out, and rearrange the pieces to make a masterpiece! The fact that I can think of an idea, draft up requirements for making this idea a reality, and then actually write the code to make this concept a tangible product, is insane to me! That's so powerful! I think I've discovered that I absolutely love putting creative touches on the things I work on. It's so much fun to bring that vision into the light.

Your career coach mentioned how you leveraged your LinkedIn presence to make valuable connections and put your work out in that space. Tell us about that and what evolved.

The majority of my interactions came from going outside my comfort zone and reaching out to someone in my field or who had similar interests to me. I did this through messaging recent Flatiron School grads from other cities as well as through in person Meetups (this is actually how I got my foot in the door at the company that hired me!). I would say to anyone: Put yourself in positions for things to happen. Nothing is guaranteed, trust me I sent out many applications and received many rejections, but it only takes one to catch on. Success is more likely to happen if you put yourself in positions where it’s possible. I know Meetups can sometimes be an awkward feeling for people, but it only gets better with practice!

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You landed a job at Petro.ai as a Software Developer...amazing! Tell us what you like about the company and what keeps you busy there.

I keep telling my friends and family that I have to keep pinching myself to believe I am working here. Everyone is extremely friendly and welcoming, and it has a great balance of working hard and at the same time- knowing how to relax! The company actually works on a "sprint system" where we work for 1.5 hr sprints, then have 30 minutes to do whatever we want (read a book, go for a walk, play ping pong, or video games, whatever!). I have been extremely busy familiarizing myself with the code base, learning how to use a new framework as well as about the oil& gas industry as a whole. I’m thrilled to be working here!

What have you discovered about yourself through this journey?

I felt such a sense of pride reflecting back on this journey. I made a tough decision to leave an industry that I had good experience with, working at a great company with wonderful people. I knew entering this journey that my goal was to find a job as soon as physically possible after graduating Flatiron School, and I treated the process of job hunting as a full-time job in itself. I think I've really seen that I am always willing to work hard for the things that are important to me, and that hard work and kindness to others is the best possible way to get ahead in this crazy world.

If you had to go back to day 1, what advice would you give yourself about the job search?

Start earlier!!! I know this is easier to say with hindsight, but even just 30 minutes a day of job preparation would be helpful. I started my job prep around the end of Mod 4 in my program, however, I wish I would have set aside daily time to practice white boarding questions or trivia-style questions that come up in technical job interviews. I won't sugar coat it, Flatiron School helps boost you part of the way up towards your goal, but don't expect that graduating the program leads to a job. It's up to each person to work hard and don't let up in the process!!

Career coach Shelley Richards reflects on how Sam's job search was so successful:

"Sam started working through the career milestones before graduation and was able to declare his job search shortly after graduation, thus keeping his momentum up. Additionally, Sam approached Meetups/networking as opportunities to learn something new and meet new people, rather than places to get a job. This ultimately led him to his current job."

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Flatiron School Students

Flatiron School Students

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