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Images of four Women in Tech Alumni Panel panelists with text that reads Women in Tech Alumni Panel, The Path to Working in Tech

Women in Tech Alumni Panel: The Path to Working in Tech Recap

In last month’s Women in Tech Alumni Panel, Codesmith West Coast Immersive Lead Engineering Instructor Laura Botel sat down with four Codesmith alums to discuss their journeys into tech.

Read about our panelists’ journeys from Codesmith’s JavaScript for Beginners (JSB) program to the Software Engineering Immersive. Watch the full panel recording for more insights on the panelists' career transitions, job searches, and more!

Meet the Panelists

Anna Larouche (she/her) is a Fullstack Engineer at Integral. Before attending Codesmith, Anna was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Anna earned her MSSW degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Candace Martin (they/them) is an Engineering Mentor at Codesmith. Before attending Codesmith, Candace was a lawyer in the tech space. Candace earned their law degree from New York University School of Law.

Caryn Moy (she/her) is a Software Engineer at Continuum. Before attending Codesmith, Caryn was a Speech Language Pathologist. Caryn earned her Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Northern Illinois University.

Kristine Aguda (she/her) is a Software Engineer at Capital One. Before attending Codesmith, Kristine worked in the social work and mental health space. Kristine earned her BA in Psychology from UC Irvine.

How did Codesmith Prep Programs set you up for success in the Software Engineering Immersive program?

Caryn: For me, transitioning from JavaScript for Beginners to CS Prep and then into the Immersive, I felt like it gave me more time to learn how to be more of an independent thinker when it comes to programming. Because that is most of what your job is going to be, right? You are not relying on other people to be able to tell you more knowledge. It is up to you to be independent in searching for information and sussing out what is accurate information. And, it seems like it is really difficult to distinguish who is right, because there are so many different ways you can get a task done. If you ask three engineers to do one task, they might all build it completely differently but they all work. So, it just gave me more time to feel comfortable in my knowledge and be able to apply it more.

Kristine: For me, I felt like transitioning to each prep program was like taking a step closer to what the real Immersive would feel like. So, JSB was like a quick 2-3 day program, a little less stressful compared to CS Prep - and I say that very loosely. CS Prep was like a mini Immersive of its own because I was working full-time and went straight from work into it, so the day just felt extra long in general. And, I was taking time to learn and work in a pair programming environment, so it is kind of a similar set-up in the sense that my time blocking was all the same as the Immersive was. Then, transferring into the Immersive, I felt I already knew what I was walking into in terms of workload, in terms of preparation. So, I’m glad I did the prep programs. If you are considering it, I felt like I got the training wheels to go right into what I was bringing myself into.

Candace: I’m really glad I did JSB for the reasons I mentioned before, and I do definitely think it gave me that confidence, that additional context, and sort of certainty that this was the right thing for me to do. I didn’t end up doing CS Prep just because I was trying to get into the Immersive as quickly as possible, but my partner actually did do CS Prep while I was in the Immersive. 

I guess in retrospect seeing her go through that and then just having been through the Immersive, I feel like it definitely would have helped me especially in the first couple weeks I think to have a little bit more solid foundation in addition to my own self study getting into the program. Although that sort of evens out – all of the preparation you do up until the Immersive sort of flattens out in the later weeks of the Immersive. Everybody hits a wall eventually at which we are all learning everything together. So, I’m not sure it was that big a detriment in that respect, and I certainly believe that you can get through the technical interviews and do the Immersive without doing either of these prep programs. That is totally possible.

For me, in retrospect, I think it would have helped me the most in the technical interview process. For me, I took all three technical interviews and it was a real white-knuckle experience and I felt very much like I barely got in. In retrospect, I feel like that probably would have been a lot smoother. CS Prep definitely prepares you for the technical interview process and to be able to get into the Immersive.

Anna: When I decided to do CS Prep, I was pretty sure I wanted to do this, but I needed to be one million percent sure. At the time, I was about to move across the country as well. So, I was like I need to be a million percent sure that I want to do this before I quit my job, sell all my stuff, move across the country, and start an entirely new career. It did work out for me, but it was a very scary thing to do I think. So, doing CS Prep, it was solidifying for me that I definitely do want to pursue this as a career, I’m actually not stupid, I’m actually pretty good at this. I’m not bad, I can actually do it. That helped me a lot. 

I think also just making the connections that I made within CS Prep. Three or four of the folks I met in CS Prep were in my Immersive, and we were all like, ‘oh hell yeah, here we are, we made it.’ I think that helps a lot too - the community building is a huge part of what makes this such a good experience.

Watch the Full Panel


Watch the full panel to learn more about our panelists’ journeys to tech! If you are interested in starting your coding journey, check out our JavaScript Learning Resources.