Victoria LeBel: Registered Nurse to Software Engineer

Victoria LeBel, a September 2022 Software Engineering graduate from Flatiron School, started her career in nursing until a desire for more creativity put her on a path to tech.

She shares her journey from nursing to tech below.

Unhappy In Healthcare

Victoria began her career as a registered nurse. She spent 4 years working on a high-risk labor and delivery unit but felt that she needed to make a change.

“I was missing an element of creativity in my work,” she explained. “[But] I wanted to continue to use my critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

Combining her acquired skills and her love of continuous learning, she determined that Software Engineering would be a great fit. To make the transition from healthcare to tech though, Victoria knew that she would need to pursue some additional schooling. It was then that she learned about Flatiron School.

“I was doing my research and learned about Flatiron’s reputation and was happy to find how transparent the school was with their jobs report,” she recalled. “I also met a Flatiron school alumni who highly recommended the program.”

Determined to change career paths, Victoria applied and was accepted to Flatiron School’s full-time Software Engineering program.

Flourishing At Flatiron School

Upon starting the Flatiron School program, Victoria Initially found herself daunted by the sheer amount of information covered each week.

“The most challenging part of the program for me was the first week of each phase,” she said. “With all the new content to learn being sent our way, it was often overwhelming.”

But in time, she built processes to make her way through the workload and developed a growth mindset.

“I learned to understand that many concepts take time and practice to grasp,” she recalled. “I learned to break down the content into smaller parts, set goals, and was able to find a way that worked for me to grasp the concepts.”

Committing to the full-time program meant that Victoria was studying on a full-time schedule: 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Despite, or perhaps because of, the grueling schedule she grew to lean on the cohort of students learning alongside her. 

“Beyond technical specifics, my real favorite part of the program was collaborating with my cohort mates,” she said. “Working together through problems, explaining concepts in different ways, and building collaborative projects with the use of GitHub was an invaluable experience.” 

Jumping Into The Job Search

Victoria graduated from Flatiron School in September 2022. Her job search, supported by her career coach, she said was an overall positive experience.

“Initially I felt overwhelmed and uncertain about how I would break into tech,” she recalled. “My career coach was very helpful with keeping me motivated and assured me that I was doing the right things.”

Her coach helped in reviewing Victoria’s LinkedIn profile and resume and performing mock interviews. 

“Practicing interviewing skills was helpful for me to understand ways to describe my background in a way that highlights valuable skills I would be bringing to a position,” she said. “That is key to successful applications and connections.”

Victoria ultimately accepted a Software Engineer position at Econify. While she had yet to begin working at the time of our interview, she was looking forward to stepping into the next phase of her career.

“I am very excited! I have enjoyed meeting my team and look forward to contributing to projects in the work setting. My position is hybrid and I look forward to the flexibility of working from home and in the office.”

Reflecting On Her Journey

Looking back on where she began, Victoria emphasizes the importance of hard work and self-determination.

“If you set your mind and efforts toward something you can accomplish anything. So long as you have the focus and determination, you can achieve anything, no matter where you started.”

Her advice to other students, however, tempers that full speed ahead work ethic to allow for the reality of entering an entirely new field.

“Allow some patience. Patience with yourself and with the process. Give yourself the time to learn and practice concepts,” she cautions. “And the job search takes time, [but] just keep on going! With a little patience, it will happen!”

Ready For A Change, Just Like Victoria LeBel?

Apply Now to join other career changers like Victoria LeBel in a program that sets you apart from the competition. 

Not ready to apply? Try out our Free Software Engineering Prep. Or, review the Software Engineering Course Syllabus that will set you up for success and can help launch you into a new and fulfilling career.

Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 13 March 2023. For updated information visit

Logan Miller: Technical Consulting to Software Engineer

Logan Miller, a July 2022 Software Engineering graduate from Flatiron School, spent 5 years working as a pre-sales engineer for a technical consulting firm and another year in Iceland earning a Master’s degree before deciding to switch career paths into tech.

He shares his journey from consulting to tech – with a stop in Iceland – below.

Early Exposure To Tech

Logan Miller grew up around tech. From his early childhood, it was almost always nearby, either through family or the gadgets themselves, and credits this early exposure with his interest in the field.

“Many of my closest friends are in tech, my mom was in tech, and just growing up around computers and technology had a huge influence on me,” he said. “I was like 11 and started messing around with HTML.”

It wasn’t until he was pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in European History at university that an accidental class enrollment led him to pick up formal programming for the first time. 

“When I was a freshman at Pace University I somehow found my way into a senior-level game design class (don’t ask – I barely even know how it happened),” he explained. “It was pretty daunting when I found out we were going to have to actually program things in C++ considering I didn’t even know what javascript was. I leaned on pretty much everyone I knew to get through it – friends, mom, girlfriend’s dad – anyone who knew anything about coding was sure to hear from me at random hours with random questions.”

Technical Consulting By Way Of Iceland

After graduating, Logan worked as a technical writer and pre-sales engineer for a technical consulting firm in New York. He recalls having the opportunity to work with “impressive people,” but ultimately felt that the work lacked meaning.

“I spent a lot of time working on documents that were ten, twenty, ninety pages in length just skimming for compliance reasons,” he said. “I never really enjoyed what I was doing in a way that would make me, for example, actually want to work all day on a Saturday or something.”

It was the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 that made Logan, like many others, rethink his career and path in life. Unsure of what to do next, he applied to the University of Iceland and was accepted. 

“I didn’t feel like my career was going the way I wanted it to and applied on a whim […] because it was essentially free,” he explained. “My intention with grad school in Iceland was to try a few different classes and see what stuck.”

Logan continued to work remotely for the US-based technical consulting firm while attending the University of Iceland. It was during his time in the land of ice and fire that his interest in computer science reignited. 

“Some of my friends [at the University of Iceland] were in computer science programs so I would see what kind of problems they were working on and languages they were learning. It was a lot of fun just messing around with logic and talking about the kinds of bugs and problems they ran into.”

Committing To Changing Careers

Logan left Iceland and returned to the states in July 2021 with his eye set on a career in software engineering. He highlights the field’s range of opportunities as one of the reasons he decided to pursue the field. 

“There aren’t a ton of career paths out there that allow you to land a job in almost any company or vertical, but you can find a Software Engineer who works for Whole Foods just as easily as one who works for the Department of Defense,” he said. “It allows for so much creativity and opportunity since you get people from all walks of life and interests working at places they enjoy.”

After testing the waters with a short online course in Python, Logan applied to Flatiron School’s Software Engineering program.

“I felt that I should take it seriously and make an investment into changing my career. I knew that I wanted to go all in and see how I compared to my peers in a high-paced environment.”

His Experience At Flatiron School

Logan enrolled in Flatiron School full-time and joined a cohort of other students. His classmates and the community they built together, he recalled, were his favorite part of the program.

“Hands down the best part of the Flatiron School program is the people that you spend each day with and watching them grow as programmers,” he said. “There is a real camaraderie with your cohort and you’ll be surprised at how often you’re spending late nights just talking, working, and hanging out with these people you never knew until a few weeks ago.” 

But, the accelerated course was not without challenges. The speed at which the program covered material was intimidating, Logan recalled, but manageable. 

“As long as you trust in yourself, study, and lean on your teammates and cohort instructor you will be totally fine.”

The Job Search

Logan graduated from Flatiron School’s Software Engineering course in July 2022 and jumped right into the job search. The next six months, he admitted, were difficult at times. 

“My job search [was] a rollercoaster. There will be a lot of ups, downs, hopeful moments, tragic defeats, and everything in between.”

Throughout his tumultuous job search, however, Logan had his Career Coach Tracie Mazzu to support and cheer him on.

“It’s nice to have a career coach on your side that can provide advice and a wealth of experience to help you get through everything,” he said. “I started off doubting how much I would get out of a career coach as it just seemed like an additional chore to do but once my coach helped me redo my resume it became abundantly clear that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.”

Working In Tech

Logan accepted a Lead Developer role with My.Suit in December of 2022. So far, he has only good things to say about his new field. 

“I’m loving it. It’s awesome to be working with something that you enjoy and solving problems that no one else can. There is a ton of freedom and opportunity for you to explore and learn new things each day. The pay doesn’t hurt either.”

His takeaway from his Flatiron School experience is one of self-determination.

“Nothing in life will ever be handed to you. You need to take it and put in the time and effort to make whatever goals you have a reality. Just keep pushing and have fun!”

Inspired By Logan Miller’s Story?

Ready to take charge of your future? Apply Now to join other career changers like Logan Miller in a program that sets you apart from the competition. 

Not ready to apply? Try out our Free Software Engineering Prep. Or, review the Software Engineering Course Syllabus that will set you up for success and can help launch you into a new and fulfilling career.

Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 24 February 2023. For updated information visit

Black History Month | POC in Tech: Five Graduate’s Stories

For people of color, a tech career can often feel out of reach. A lack of representation can make them feel like there is no place for them in the industry. 

The five POC graduates from Flation School featured in this blog prove that this is not the case. Their stories are those of determination and resilience, of overcoming naysayers and self-doubts to go after the life they wanted. 

Their stories prove that POC belong in tech. 

Micah and Colin: Oil Fields To Software Engineers

Twin brothers Colin Mosley and Micah Mosley began their careers as Petroleum Engineers. Citing long working hours and a bad cultural fit, they knew they needed to make a change.

When they were laid off like many others at the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Micah and Colin decided to transition into tech. After weighing their education options – self-taught, university, or bootcamp – they committed to Flatiron School to accelerate their path into the industry. 

“Flatiron School does a good job of giving you a cohort and resources that make it easy for you to learn as much as you are willing to learn, and there is plenty to learn if [you are] willing to put in the time.”

After graduating from Flatiron School’s Software Engineering program, Micah and Colin landed twin Software Engineering roles at CitiBank.

Read about their journey into tech here: Micah and Colin Mosley.

Chuck Pryor, Jr.: Acting To Data Scientist

Chuck Pryor, Jr. had a long and varied career before joining Flatiron School. He’d been an actor, teacher, writer, mid-level manager, outreach counselor, landlord, and a full-time caregiver for his ill parents. After all of his previous experiences and career paths, he felt a pull toward tech.

While evaluating his options to break into the tech industry, he ultimately selected Flatiron School’s Data Science program. He cites the program’s reputation, cost-effectiveness when compared to a traditional university, and Flatiron School’s career services that work with learners to get their first job post-graduation. 

“Had I tried to do this program on my own time without the structure of an on-campus program, I would have failed miserably and not completed the program. Every project applied what I learned to real-world problems that ended up impressing my interviewers.”

Chuck credits his previous careers for building the networking skills that ultimately landed him his first job in tech as a Data Engineer. His advice for others considering a career in tech are simple and concise – Go For It! 

Read about his journey into tech here: Chuck Pryor, Jr

Deka Ambia: TSA Agent to Software Engineer

Over the summer of 5th grade, a young Deka Ambia fell in love with coding. But after being told not to pursue it, years later she was working as a TSA Agent. It was during a government shutdown that Deka used the limbo state to pick up coding again and pursue her original dream of working in tech.

Deka attended Flatiron School’s Software Engineering course and graduated in 15 weeks while working full-time. She distills her determination in building a new life for herself into a single word: freedom. 

“The freedom to be able to work wherever I want, whether that is at an office, at home, or on the beach somewhere. The freedom to look however I want. The freedom that a skillset can be used in almost any industry is filled with endless opportunity.”

After graduating from Flatiron School, Deka landed a Software Engineer position at PopMenu. As for her advice for others beginning the program, her advice is to “take it extremely seriously,” because “it has a real possibility of changing [your] life and mindset forever.”

Read about her journey into tech here: Deka Ambia

Fredrick Williams: Sales To UX / UI Product Design

Frederick Williams spent more than 20 years in sales and marketing before deciding that he needed to make a change. He’d worked with Product Designers over his career and was interested in the research aspect of the role, but worried that he’d “aged out” of tech at 40 years old.

Despite his doubts, he enrolled in a Flatiron School course for UX/UI design. While he entered the program with an open mind and a strong desire to learn, Williams found that his background and personality made UX design a surprisingly good fit.

“I fell in love with UX and I found that UX is for everyone, no matter their age, and the community is incredibly supportive.”

After graduating from Flatiron School, Frederick noted that his job search was a smooth process, with hiring managers immediately interested in him. He ultimately accepted a position as a Senior Analyst US Designer at Avanade. 

As for advice for those considering a career transition, Williams was quick to point to the power of perspective.

“It’s not an age thing, it’s a mindset thing,” he said. “If you can dream it, you can make it happen. You have to put it out there, you can’t operate out of fear. I’m black, I’m queer, and I got a job in tech at 43.”

Read about his journey into tech here: Frederick Williams.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 13 February 2023. For updated information visit

7 Jobs You Can Get Knowing Python

Learning Python can open the door to many career opportunities in tech. If you’re wondering which jobs you can get knowing Python, the list may surprise you.

Python is one of the most popular languages for those interested in pursuing a career in software development. With its versatility and ease in creating a variety of applications, it is a key skill to have in your developer toolkit. 

For those interested in a career in software development, Python is often a great choice for their first language. The language was designed to use plain English for ease of understanding and supported by an active community. In addition to the almost limitless number of available free resources, tutorials, and accelerated learning courses, Python is easy to learn and use.

Now that you know how easy it can be to learn, here are our top 7 jobs you can get knowing Python:

Python Developer

Python developers are responsible for the coding, designing, deploying, and debugging of development projects, typically on the server side (or back end).

They specialize in Python and its frameworks such as Flask or Django for web development, TensorFlow and NLTK, PySpark for machine learning, and Pandas, NumPy, and SciPy for data science.

How do they use Python?

From building websites and applications to running deep learning algorithms to analyzing data, Python Developers leverage the versatility of Python to solve problems and answer questions. They use Python to crunch data, develop web application back ends, and automate scripts. 

What is the salary?

The national average is $130,052 per year (as of Feb 2023).

Full Stack Developer

Full Stack Developers use their knowledge of both front end and back end programming languages to design, develop, and maintain full-fledged and functioning platforms with databases and servers.

How do they use Python?

For Full Stack Developers, Python is primarily used as a back end language to manage servers and databases. Full Stack Developers typically leverage frameworks like Flask or Django with Python to make it easier to build out fully functional applications by taking development in the front end and combining it with the back end.

What is the salary?

The national average is $104,564 per year (as of Feb 2023).

Data Scientist / Data Analyst

Data Scientists and Data Analysts are big data wranglers, gathering and analyzing large sets of structured and unstructured data. These roles combine computer science, statistics, and mathematics. They analyze, process, and model data and then interpret the results to create actionable, data-driven plans for companies and other organizations.

How do they use Python?

Data Scientists and Data Analysts mainly use Python and its frameworks to create predictive models, use machine learning techniques to improve data quality and find patterns and trends to uncover insights. They also create algorithms and data models to forecast outcomes.

What is the salary?

The national average is $123,821 per year (as of Feb 2023).

Data Engineer

A Data Engineer is an IT worker whose primary job is to prepare data for analytical or operational uses. These engineers are typically responsible for building data pipelines to bring together information from different source systems.

How do they use Python?

Data Engineers use Python to create Data Pipelines, set up Statistical Models, and perform thorough analyses.

Python packages used in Data Engineering often include:

  • Pandas – used in data aggregation and data cleaning
  • NumPy – used in data analysis 
  • (Py) Spark – used to handle big data and leverages Spark ML for machine learning 
  • TensorFlow – used in AI training and inference of deep neural networks
  • Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK) – used to make natural human language usable by computer programs

What is the salary?

The national average is $122,672 per year (as of Feb 2023).

Machine Learning Engineer

Machine Learning Engineers build AI systems that use large sets of data to automate predictive models and ensure they work according to requirements.

Projects that Machine Learning Engineers work on include recommended searches, virtual assistants, translation apps, chatbots, and self-driving cars.

How do they use Python?

Machine Learning Engineers use Python and its libraries such as TensorFlow and PySpark to develop predictive modeling.

What is the salary?

The national average is $142,306 per year (as of Feb 2023).

Product Manager

Product Managers are responsible for identifying customer needs and maintaining the business objectives that a product or feature should fulfill.

How do they use Python?

Data plays a crucial role in the work that Product Managers do. They use Python to research new features and products and make the case as to why certain features or products should be built and implemented into an existing product.

Being able to automate reports and analysis makes Product Managers less dependent on the Data Science team and refine processes to leverage data-driven insights to solve problems.

What is the salary?

The national average is $99,120 per year (as of Feb 2023).

Performance Marketer

Performance Marketers are responsible for managing digital accounts such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads to get the right channel mixes and drive key performance indicators for marketing.

How do they use Python?

Performance Marketers use Python for data reporting automation and analysis. These are leveraged to obtain the latest information about trends and markets when making decisions within accounts.

What is the salary?

The national average is $77,353 per year (as of Feb 2023).

Get Started Learning Python

Interested in one of these career paths, but lacking the Python skill to land a job? Get industry-ready in as little as 15 weeks with an accelerated Flatiron School Software Engineering program

Apply Today to jumpstart your career in tech.

Or, test out the curriculum with our Free Software Engineering Prep – no strings attached. 

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 07 February 2023. For updated information visit

Python Popularity: The Rise of A Global Programming Language

Python is one of the most popular programming languages in software development. A general-purpose programming language, Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, and high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. 

Since its creation in the early 1990s, it’s been used to build websites and software, automate tasks, and conduct data analysis by an estimated 8.2 million users

Despite its current global popularity, Python came from humble beginnings and grew over time into the must-have language in developers’ toolkits. 

Python’s Origin Story

Python was created by Guido Van Rossum, a dutch programmer, and released on February 20, 1991. Van Rossum created Python to be a general-purpose tool that could be applied to anything, and to reduce the complexity of coding syntax.

Did You Know: Python was named after an old BBC television comedy sketch series called Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

After releasing the program, Van Rossum further outlined his vision for Python:

  • To be an easy and intuitive language that is just as powerful as those of the major competitors
  • The ability for anyone to contribute to its development by being open source
  • For the language to be easily understandable as plain English
  • That the language be suitable for everyday tasks and allow for short development times

Python’s rise in popularity ever since is a testament to the fact that Van Rossum succeeded in creating an intuitive, accessible, and versatile language.

Python Popularity Over The Years

When Python was released in 1991, the premier languages at the time were FORTRAN, COBOL, C, and C++. Since the mid-90s, it has steadily been increasing in popularity and overtaking its old competitors.

Stack Overflow’s developer survey results from 2021 had Python as the 4th most popular language according to professional developers. According to TIOBE Index, as of October 2022, Python overtook Java and C as the most popular language. 

Learner rates have also skyrocketed, with Python tutorials being the most popular language searched for on Google, according to the PYPL index (Popularity of Programming Language Index), overtaking Java in 2018.

Why Is Python So Popular?

So, why is Python so popular? What does it have that has made it such a runaway success when there are other programming languages available?


Python was designed to be easy to understand and intuitive. It was created with the intention of people reading code as they do plain English, so it is excellent for beginners and there is a smaller learning curve.

For example, Python learners encounter one of the first exercises: “Hello World.”

Learners simply input the plain English code of print(‘Hello World’), telling the computer to write out (a.k.a. print) ‘Hello World’ on the screen.

Using plain English as the code’s vocabulary helps users better understand what direction they are giving to the computer, and from there increases complexity.

Versatility of Use

Python was designed as a general-purpose language and can be used to create a variety of different programs. It is frequently used to build websites and software, automate tasks, and conduct data analysis.

Active and Supportive Community

Python is an open-source language, meaning that anyone can contribute to the code. Over time this lack of barriers to entry has resulted in an active and supportive community that wants to see Python thrive as a programming language. 

Python is maintained by the Python Software Foundation.

Libraries and Frameworks

There are several frameworks and libraries for different specializations that make using Python a lot easier.

The two main frameworks for web development are:


Flask is a web framework used to develop webpages. It is considered more Pythonic than the Django web framework – another commonly used option – because in common situations the equivalent Flask web application is more explicit.

This gives control to the developer to create more explicit code to build applications.


Django is a web framework that is easy to use, with a plug-and-play approach to developing applications.

Automation Made Easy

Python can automate tedious tasks such as updating and formatting data in Excel spreadsheets of any size, delivering reminder emails, and sending text notifications.

It is also the backbone of chatbots, which are found on just about every website these days. Chatbots use Natural Language Processing libraries like NLTK and spaCy based on Python that take in hundreds of thousands of sentences and then create new sentences as a response to questions.

Python Works with the IoT

IoT, or the Internet of Things, is a network of physical things embedded with software, sensors, and technologies that connect to other devices – think smart appliances and wearable devices.

Developing IoT devices is often data-intensive, making Python the natural programming language of choice.

Python can be used for programming IoT devices and developing the corresponding backend. What’s more, IoT paired with Python is an effective tool for prototyping, development, and the operation of various IoT devices and systems.

Efficient and Reliable

Because Python is so user-friendly and versatile, developers of almost any level can create powerful applications with minimal effort. With a little bit of skill and creativity, Python can be used to solve a myriad of problems.

Big Companies Use Python and Flask

There are several large and well-known companies that use Python and Flask as their web development language and framework.

These include Samsung worth over $343.35 billion as of January 2023, Netflix, and Uber, just to name the top three. For young developers dreaming of working at tech giants like these, Python is a great place to start.

Which Companies Use Python and Flask

According to Stack Share, there are 1,144 reported companies that use Flask in their tech stacks. This includes big-name brands like Netflix, Lyft, Patreon, and Reddit.

So Why Does Python Popularity Matter?

The rise of Python proves that popularity matters in terms of the amount of documentation, communities, and support for the language. With such a strong community with almost endless tutorials and “how-to’s” made readily available to anyone with an interest and an internet connection, getting started with Python and couldn’t be easier.

Learning Python will set you on a journey into programming, with active communities to support you and employment opportunities at the biggest tech companies.

If you dream of joining the ranks of other software developers working at places like Samsung, Reddit, and Lyft, why not get started learning Python today?

Apply Today to Flatiron School’s Software Engineering program to learn the skills you need to break into the industry in as little as 15 weeks.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 30 January 2023. For updated information visit



Carla Stickler: From Broadway Star To Software Engineer

Carla Stickler, a Fall 2019 Software Engineering graduate from Flatiron School, describes herself as a professional multi-hyphenate. After spending more than 10 years performing in Broadway musicals such as Wicked, Mamma Mia!, and The Sound of Music, her desire for stability, a better work-life balance, and a chance encounter with an old friend led her to tech.

She shares her journey from Broadway Star to Software Engineer below.

A Burned Out Broadway Star

By the end of 2018, Carla Stickler had already had what many would consider to be a dream career. She’d found success in the arts – a difficult feat no matter the medium – and performed on Broadway stages in world-famous musicals such as Wicked, Mamma Mia!, and The Sound of Music. 

But, Carla said, the continuous grind needed to reach that level of success had begun wearing on her.

“From the outside, it looked like I was living it up. However, after performing eight shows a week almost non-stop for about a decade, I was burned out,” she said. “I was spending more time managing injuries than having any sort of a life, missing weddings, birthdays, holidays with my family, and weekend BBQs. I struggled to maintain friendships outside of work as I basically lived at the theater.”

 To take a break from the stage (and dancing and four-inch heels), Carla earned a Master’s Degree in Education and worked as a voice teacher while moonlighting at the Wicked Broadway company to fill in for vacancies. The grind, however, didn’t slow down.

“I was hustling to get enough actor weeks to qualify for health insurance through the union and to find enough voice students to pay my bills,” Carla said. “All I wanted was a steady paycheck, a social life, and my body to stop hurting all the time. I couldn’t figure out why that was so hard to achieve in the arts.”

The Inciting Incident

Carla recalls knowing that she needed to make a change for a while, but a chance encounter at her 35th birthday party finally spurred her to act. 

“A friend showed up to my party and announced, ‘I’m a software engineer now and I just got a great job making more money than I’ve ever made with health insurance and a 401k!’ I was confused, since last I checked, he was a composer writing musicals,” she mused. “I held him captive for the next 30 minutes asking him how he did it and what exactly software engineering was. He told me he went to the Flatiron School and learned to code.”

Several weeks and a few google searches later, Carla enrolled in a twice-weekly front-end development course* at Flatiron School.

“I wanted to see if I really enjoyed [Software Engineering],” Carla explained. “I got hooked and decided to attend Flatiron’s Immersive Software Engineering Bootcamp at their [New York City campus] the next summer and to change my life with code!”

Scene Change: Flatiron School

For Carla, Flatiron School’s community was a critical part of the experience.

“Flatiron was reminiscent of my time at performing arts summer camp. It was intense and overwhelming, but we were all in it together, with a common goal to learn a new skill set so we could change our lives,” she explained. “The folks in my cohort quickly became life-long friends. We supported each other by celebrating our wins and providing encouragement for those struggling to keep up.”

Her cohort supported one another throughout their time in the program and participated in a weekly tradition known as “Feelings Friday” to recognize and cheer one another on. 

“We would sit in a circle and everyone would get a chance to talk about what we had struggled through that week, or talk about a win we’d had. We would all snap our fingers when someone was finished as if to say, ‘You are not alone. I am right there with you, feeling the same imposter syndrome, terrified about whether or not I’ve made the right decision. But we can do this crazy thing’”, Carla explained. “Flatiron had a way of building a community that made our struggles seem manageable. We were all going through this journey together and knew that for this thing to succeed, we all needed to succeed.”

Pulled Back By Broadway

When the Wicked production company reached out for an emergency backfill for a sick actor halfway through the JavaScript portion of the course, Carla managed to fulfill both obligations. 

“I spent three weeks coding from 9-5 while also performing on Broadway evenings and weekends. I was so excited about learning to code that I’d spend intermission and the time between scenes, in the dressing room, coding. It was an intense few weeks,” she said. “But if I could pass my javascript tests while also doing Wicked, I could do anything.”

Through the course, Carla learned something about coding that she hadn’t expected – it was creative. 

“No one ever tells you, or at least no one ever told me, that software engineering is creative. It’s complex and requires the ability to imagine something that doesn’t yet exist and create it using code. The similarities between coding and art amazed and inspired me.”

In addition to her enjoyment of the material, the successes of others in the school assured her that she had made the right choice in attending Flatiron School.

“Our teachers were an inspiration, as many of them had gone through the program and already seemed light years ahead of us. When we heard about friends finishing the program and quickly landing a new job, we knew we had chosen the right path.”

Job Searching During The Pandemic

Carla graduated from Flatiron School at the end of 2019, just a few short months before the beginning of the COVID pandemic. She credits Career Services with keeping her moving forward in her job search, even in the face of an unprecedented year like 2020.

“While everyone was on a hiring freeze, I worked with my career coach and continued learning on my own and taking classes online to keep my skills fresh,” she said. “Having a structure for how to proceed helped remove some of the unknowns about getting a job. The weekly blog posts, continued self-learning, and spreadsheet that tracked all the people I was reaching out to could be overwhelming at times, but I look back on all the hard work I did and I see how it paid off.”

Despite all of the hard work Carla put in with her career coach after graduating, the pandemic raged on, severely limiting her prospects as the world shut down and companies did damage control. 

“I had a few interviews that ended with being told how much they wished they could hire me, but unfortunately, they couldn’t take on junior devs at that moment.”

Pursuing A Tech-Adjacent Role

Determined to break into tech one way or another, Carla pivoted into searching for tech-adjacent roles.

“Learning to code proved that I could pick up skills fast and that having a job in tech was better than not having a job in tech,” she said. “I started looking at customer success and solutions engineering roles where I could flex my soft skills and build up my experience in the field.” 

This time, she found success and in mid-2020 took a job as a Customer Success Associate at a startup in NYC. Looking back, she does not lament the fact that her first post-Flatiron job was tech-adjacent and instead highlights that it actually checked most of the boxes that were empty in her previous career field. 

“It’s important for folks getting into a new field to really think about what’s most valuable to them when they finish a bootcamp,” she said. “Spending a year as a Success Associate allowed me the comfort of having a stable income, health insurance, and remote work so my husband and I could leave New York and buy a house in Chicago. This job, while not what I had intended, gave me a lot of what I was looking for.”

Carla also stresses the importance of stepping stones, and not putting too much pressure on finding the perfect first job.

“Your first job does not have to be your forever job. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to love it,” she said. “The first job is to get your foot in the door, start building your resume, have experience working in an agile environment, learn how to communicate over Slack, and just exist in this new industry.”

Landing Her First Engineering Gig

After moving to Chicago, Carla resumed her search for a software engineering position and accepted a position as a Junior Software Engineer at G2. The difference the past years have made, she said, is almost indescribable. 

“I cannot begin to tell you the number of things I’ve learned in the past year and the amount of confidence I’ve gained as a developer. The imposter syndrome never really goes away, but I’m better suited now to quiet the voices that tell me I can’t or I shouldn’t, because I’ve proved that I can and I did.”

Despite the grind it took to get her to her current position and the hurdles along the way, Carla is thriving. 

“It might’ve taken me longer than expected, but I love my job and couldn’t be more grateful for the life that attending Flatiron and learning to code has provided for me.”

Ready For A Change, Just Like Carla Stickler?

Ready to take charge of your future? Apply Now to join other career changers like Carla Stickler in a program that sets you apart from the competition. 

Not ready to apply? Try out our Free Software Engineering Prep. Or, review the Software Engineering Course Syllabus that will set you up for success and can help launch you into a new and fulfilling career.

Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 06 January 2023. For updated information visit

*Course no longer offered

How To Prepare for a Software Engineering Technical Interview

This article on preparing for the technical interview is part of the Coaching Collective series, featuring tips and expertise from Flatiron School Career Coaches. Every Flatiron School graduate is eligible to receive up to 180 days of 1:1 career coaching with one of our professional coaches. This series is a glimpse of the expertise you can access during career coaching at Flatiron School. 

When you are invited for a technical interview, it’s essential to prepare for both the technical challenge and cultural questions you may be asked.

Too many of my coaching clients prepare for the technical challenge and get caught off guard when they are asked cultural and behavioral questions.

Be Ready For Non-Technical Questions

You need to be prepared for both types of interview questions, regardless of what you are told about the specific type of interview you are to prepare for. Here are some of the typical cultural/behavioral items you should come to your technical interview prepared with:

Elevator Pitch

A 30-second to a 1-minute elevator pitch for the “tell me about yourself” question and examples/stories for other interview questions

Resume Summary

Review your resume and be able to talk about everything that is on there. 

Avoid going through a chronological recitation of your resume. Rather than summarizing what’s on your resume, consider your response an opportunity to highlight the aspects of your resume that show that you’re a great match for the role. Specifically, highlight your skills and experience and how these align with the primary specifications in the job description. Review the projects on your resume and be prepared to speak about these in technical and qualitative detail. 

General Culture Questions

Make sure that you have prepared responses for these typical cultural interview questions.

  • Tell me about yourself. 
  • Why do you want to be a software developer/engineer?
  • What interests you about this role or company?  
  • How can your previous background add value to [this company/role]?
  • What did you learn in your Flatiron School’s program?
  • Walk me through one of the projects that you are most proud of. (***Use the respective rubric to help you prepare this answer and explain your process: [SE Project Rubric]
  • Tell me about a time when you successfully solved a problem/resolved a difficult situation and how you did that.
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What questions do you have for me?

Study Up On Computer Science Fundamentals

No matter how advanced your software engineering studies have become, it is always helpful to review the basics before a technical interview. 

Some of the foundational concepts to brush up on include:

Be An Expert In One Programming Language

You need to know one programming language. Typically an interviewer will allow you the choice of a language that you want to use for the technical interview, so this is why it is important that you go deep into one particular language.  

If you have the flexibility, choose one of the following languages:  C++, Java, Ruby, Python, Go, or C. Higher-level languages such as these provide standard library functions and data structures that allow you to translate solutions to code more easily. 

Go for the language you have the most practice with and can showcase your skills in best. Even if the company uses a different tech stack, choosing the language you know inside and out will often be the better option.

Complete Coding Challenges

Aim to solve 2-3 coding interview practice questions per day.  

If you keep this pace then you should be ready to tackle a typical technical challenge in about 4 weeks. Work up to the moderate difficulty level with these challenges. 

Chances are you will not receive a challenge at the most difficult level so don’t waste your time with these.  By the same token don’t just study challenges at the least level of complexity.   Check out HackeRank, leetcode, or Interview cake as resources for technical challenge interview questions.

Do Pre Interview Research

Ideally, you should know the tech stack, the interview format, and also get an idea of the types of technical challenge questions you may encounter.  Some recommendations on how to go about this:

  • Identify the company’s tech stack by going to Slintel. Focus your technical challenge around the tech stack that the company uses.
  • Use Glassdoor to review prior interview information that others have posted for the company in which you are going to interview.  
  • Go on LinkedIn and identify a current software engineer that is working at your target company. Reach out to them, letting them know that you have an upcoming technical interview, and ask if they have any tips on how to prepare.

Have A Project To Showcase

Just like you should tailor your cover letter to the company you apply to, you should think about a highly relevant project to feature during your technical interview preparation.  

Build a project that matches the complexity of the work for which you are applying.  Perspective employers will then be able to see that you have done the work that they require.  

Study the requirements of the role and the type of projects the role is expected to work on. With this information develop projects of equal or greater complexity.  Check out this LTCWM podcast episode with Parker (Interview Cake) for more tips on how to come up with coding projects to build and talk about in interviews.

About Bill Souders

Bill Souders is a career coach with Flatiron School. Bill spent 30 years working for the Coca-Cola Company in various sales leadership roles before transitioning into coaching. His expertise is in the career coaching, transition, and placement of college grads, high-potential entry-level and emerging leaders, and c-suite executives.

Seth Blanchard: From Social Worker To Software Engineer

Seth Blanchard, an August 2021 Software Engineering Flatiron School graduate, spent almost two decades as a self-employed social worker before the pandemic put a hold on the industry. 

He shares his journey from social worker to software engineer below.

What is your background and why did you choose to attend Flatiron?

I have a background in Social Work and spent the bulk of the last 15 years working for myself.  

I contracted with various local social services agencies within central VA and the focus of my efforts was working with families to locate employment, housing, benefits, transportation, daycare, etc.  

Being self-employed in this industry while COVID was happening caused many of my large contracts to vanish.  

I have always had an affinity for building things and had gravitated toward software development. When work slowed, it was a great time to make a change.  

I chose Flatiron because it seemed to have a good reputation. I hoped to get the development skills and [the certificate] which I felt would increase my chance of success in a total career switch. 

How do you like working as an engineer?

I am working with mainframes, particularly the IBMz and process automation, which is not something I had anticipated. The work is quite different from current trends in software development, but I have enjoyed the challenges.

How does the reality of working as a software engineer contrast to what you thought it would be like?

I enjoy working at Rocket and value their emphasis on work/life balance as well as advancement. There are so many opportunities.

Walk me through a “day in the life” of your job.

I spend most of my day using customer-side requirements to build process automation “robots” which navigate through the mainframe and accomplish tasks.  

When not directly coding, I am working with the analysts to better understand, and properly implement the requirement logic.

Any advice for current Flatiron School students?

Start the informal job search earlier than you think you should. That part can take a while and having a certification isn’t necessarily an automatic door-opener. You will have to do a great deal of work to differentiate yourself.

Inspired by Seth Blanchard’s career change?

Ready to take charge of your future? Apply Now to join other career changers like Seth Blanchard in a program that sets you apart from the competition. 

Not ready to apply? Try out our Free Software Engineering Prep. Or, review the Software Engineering Course Syllabus that will set you up for success in a new and fulfilling career.

Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 16 December 2022. For updated information visit

Oscar Oré: From Sales Rep To Solutions Engineer

Oscar Oré, a Software Engineering Flatiron School graduate, started his career as a sales rep. After working in several different industries, a job at an IT firm sent him on a new path in life.

He shares his journey from sales rep to solutions engineer below. 

What is your background and why did you choose to attend Flatiron?

Before I attended Flatiron, I was a Sales rep. I was involved in many industries from manufacturing to tech, but I always had an interest in tech.

When I was working for an IT reseller it really sparked my curiosity to learn how to code. 

I did a ton of research before I joined Flatiron. After a ton of positive reviews and outcomes, I decided to enroll in the program and try to land a programming role in Tech!

How does the reality of working as a software engineer contrast to what you thought it would be like?

It has been a dream come true! 

One thing that has really stood out to me is how the soft skills that I have learned in my previous career have helped me in my current role. Communication is key when you are working on a team.

Have you worked on any cool projects?

Since my time at Rocket Software, I have been assigned to two ongoing projects for one of our clients involving their mainframes and process automation. 

The experience has been great and I have gained a ton of knowledge from these projects! 

Walk me through a “day in the life” of your job.

I typically start my day by completing customer requirements to build process automation requests. These process automation requests or “robots” navigate through the mainframe and complete a task based on the customer’s needs. 

Besides coding, I am also in meetings with analysts to discuss the upcoming processes, deadlines that need to happen, and what projects will be deployed for the week.

What do you wish you’d known before getting started in your field post-Flatiron School?

Remain curious about your new role! You can always learn new technical skills. Embrace the challenge! 

Any advice for current students?

Network as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Believe in yourself and remember to keep learning. Reach out to Flatiron Alumni to see how they are liking their role, and how they approached their job hunt.

Inspired by Oscar Oré’s story?

Ready to take charge of your future? Apply Now to join other career changers like Oscar Oré in a program that sets you apart from the competition. 

Not ready to apply? Try out our Free Software Engineering Prep. Or, review the Software Engineering Course Syllabus that will set you up for success in a new and fulfilling career.

Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 07 December 2022. For updated information visit

Jillian Short: From The Arts To Tech

Jillian Short, a May 2021 Software Engineering Flatiron School graduate and an Associate Customer Solutions Engineer at Rocket Software, had a career in the arts until the COVID-19 pandemic short-circuited the industry and forced her to pivot.

She shares her journey from the arts to tech by way of Flatiron School below.

What is your background and why did you choose to attend Flatiron?

My background is in the arts. I started in theatre as a stage manager and worked as a production assistant for small film projects and music venues. I was a barista at a high-end coffee house (we’re talking real coffee pros here), and a bartender for a couple of years. Then I moved into an executive assistant role. I’ve done lots of different things in life. 

When the pandemic hit, live events weren’t happening, and my executive assistant job was wearing on me pretty intensely. I took a trip with my partner to visit his family, and his sibling recommended giving coding a try. 

A cheap Udemy course turned into looking at Bootcamps, and then I started at Flatiron. 

The hope was to find a remote job that was more fulfilling, paid what I knew I was worth making and had more security (30 is right around the corner and I’d love to buy a house and be able to retire someday!)

How do you like working as an engineer?

I love it! I was honestly really nervous when I started. I struggled with imposter syndrome endlessly while I was attending Flatiron, especially when I started my job search. I never felt like I could be good enough to do this professionally, but here I am! 

I love the team I’m on, being able to work remotely, and the learning opportunities. It’s been a great transition and I couldn’t be more grateful that I found some courage and just went for it.

Walk me through a “day in the life” of your job.

Every morning we have a meeting with the entire team to go over what we’re working on/any questions folks have about something they’re working on. Then I jump into my edits with the flow being something like this:

New or updated requirements are sent in and assigned. 

When something is assigned to me, I read through those requirements and estimate how long coding will take me (and ask for a meeting if I need clarification on anything). 

Then I get coding! And usually, somewhere in here, I’ll ask someone else on my team for help if I bump into problems or questions.

Once I feel like my code is running well in the tool we build in, I’ll take it to our testing platform and run a test. Then I read the report, and if I see issues I fix them and test again. Once I don’t see any problems in the report, I send the information to the lead and wait for feedback. 

I’ll update and repeat the above testing steps if more changes are needed. Otherwise, we test for about a week, and then the code is added to production. 

How does the reality of working as a software engineer contrast to what you thought it would be like?

It’s way more fun than I thought it would be, honestly. I have a handful of friends who work as engineers in varying capacities, and they also love their jobs, but I wasn’t sure if I would feel the same way. I’m happy to report that it’s been two months and I’m still having a great time. 

What do you wish you’d known before getting started in your field post-Flatiron School?

I wish I’d had more practice with Github. We used it, but I would have loved to practice with it more, and have scenarios where we can practice using Github as if we were contributing on a team.

Any advice for current students?

Pair program all the time. I wish I had done that a lot more. 

Talk through your code always. I’m terrible at talking through code and it’s because I didn’t say what I was doing out loud enough. 

Network more than you think you need to. In the end, that’s probably what will give you the job.

Inspired by Jillian Short’s story?

Ready to take charge of your future? Apply Now to join other career changers like Jillian Short in a program that sets you apart from the competition. 

Not ready to apply? Try out our Free Software Engineering Prep. Or, review the Software Engineering Course Syllabus that will set you up for success and launch you into a new and fulfilling career.

Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 05 December 2022. For updated information visit