We’re incredibly proud of all our students and the hard work and dedication they put into learning through Microverse. From making sacrifices to be able to support themselves throughout the program, to spending thousands of hours learning, they’re committed to improving their lives.
This week, we’re delighted to introduce one of our first ever students that joined Microverse! Alvaro Sanchez, from Mexico, became a Microverse student in 2018 and after graduating, ended up joining the Microverse team as a remote software developer. Alvaro and Ariel sat down for a virtual chat a few weeks ago to chat about Alvaro’s experience with Microverse as a student, and now as a team member.
Life Before Microverse
Alvaro’s career in tech started during university, with a part-time job giving in-person technical support. During that time he was studying computer engineering in Mexico City. After graduating in 2014, Alvaro worked for international companies like Hewlett-Packard and IBM. There, he helped the sales teams with technical issues and spent a brief period selling the Infrastructure as a Service product. While working in tech up until this point, he was mostly focused on the sales side.
Next, Alvaro moved into freelancing and by the end of 2018 was working as a freelance programmer building a Turn-Based Strategy RPG. After that project wrapped up, Alvaro learned about Microverse and was intrigued by the peer-programming and mastery learning approach. He was even more thrilled when he heard he could join while still living in Mexico City. So he decided to apply and joined Microverse as our third student ever.
Alvaro’s Microverse Experience
Over the 9 months it took Alvaro to finish the Microverse program he learned a lot. Being student number three, things looked very different at Microverse when he was going through it. He noted how much the experience has grown and evolved, with new tools, the code reviews and many more great processes now in place.
Alvaro shared that one of the main reasons he joined Microverse was intrigue of the international and remote opportunities that would become more readily available with his new skills. He said, “I really wanted to see how the technology landscape was in other countries. I wanted to know how things were outside of my country and be able to collaborate with people from all around the world. And Microverse made that happen, I'm super happy about it.”
Throughout the program Alvaro really enjoyed working with his coding partner and other students. That collaboration and time to learn and share helped make the experience transformational. “I think one of the things that Microverse has done really well is building a network to support the students,” said Alvaro.
The Job Application Process
Just weeks after graduating from Microverse, he received an invitation to interview with Microsoft in Mexico City via LinkedIn. For Alvaro, LinkedIn has always worked really well when applying for jobs. He also noted that he had received interest from Amazon in 2018 via LinkedIn, so stressed the importance of having a good LinkedIn profile.
With both Amazon and Microsot, Alvaro did an online technical interview and a 4 hour in-person interview. When asked about the interview process, Alvaro summed it up as ‘intensive’. Beyond technical questions, there are behavioural questions and it’s important to prepare for these both - something we help students do at Microverse. He also had a few take home projects to complete for part of his interviews and said how he had done similar projects in his studies which really helped.
How He Ended Up Working For Microverse
After graduating at the end of 2018, we hired Alvaro for a part-time contract performing code reviews for other students. Although he was interviewing, Alvaro leapt at the opportunity to give back to Microverse and the community and knew he could still continue his job search.
During this time, Alvaro really took initiative and started building processes and guidelines for code-reviews and shared them with the other reviewers. Without being told to, Alvaro began forming the foundation for our current TSEs and after just a few months we were blown away by the work he was doing.
After four months of hard work as a code-reviewer, we decided to bring Alvaro on full time as a remote full stack developer. Just one month later, Alvaro moved to California with the whole Microverse team to spend the next three months living together while going through Y Combinator. Afterward, he headed to Europe to work and spend time with some team members based in Poland.
Since then, Alvaro has met up with team members around the world and really used the opportunity of joining a global team to experience living in different cities and building connections.
A Day in the Life of a Remote Software Developer
Throughout their conversation, Alvaro talked how having flexibility and working remotely has fit so wonderfully into his life. Currently, Alvaro says wakes up around 6am (he’s a morning person!) and dives right into work. He feels most productive in the mornings, and starts his day with coding and technical work. This enables him to have part of the afternoon to do activities outside of work that he enjoys. When he thinks back on his years spent commuting an hour and a half each way to work, he noted that it seems insane to him.
Alvaro talked about how he initially felt what we commonly refer to as, imposter syndrome when he first started working as a software developer. Daily stand ups and persistence helped him grow his skills and that coupled with positive feedback from the team enabled him to overcome the imposter syndrome.
“I've been with Microverse since 2019 and have never before collaborated with a team so diverse. Not only that, but the team cares so much about our fellow colleagues, our students, and our mission. This experience is one of the most impactful things that has ever happened to me,” said Alvaro.
Alvaro's Recommendations for Tools and Books
When talking about tools or podcasts and books that he recommends, Alvaro seemed to center around the concept of intentionality. For him, and most of us at Microverse, intentionality with our time is of the utmost importance as we have much to do. Alvaro recommends time tracking to have insight into what you’re spending your time on, what is taking up a lot of it, and where you can perhaps cut down. Alvaro also highlighted the use of the Pomodoro timer - something we’ve talked about before - as being a helpful tool for him. Finally, one of the most helpful books for Alvaro is Practical Object Oriented Design by Sandi Metz.
Advice for Microverse Students or Aspiring Developers
When asked to share advice for aspiring developers, Alvaro said, “It’s important to ask questions. As a junior developer it can be intimidating when you've just joined a company, but don't be afraid to ask questions.” He noted how even a year into working at Microverse, he still has moments where he needs to ask for help or ideas from others and encourages people to do the same.
He also stressed the importance of showing initiative and being proactive. When you ask questions, give the person you're asking for help as much information as you can on what you have tried and what you are missing, said Alvaro.
Alvaro also talked about self-discipline, “Microverse really gave me a basis of self-discipline. In a way, Microverse was like a very long interview process that not only taught me the technology but also how to be a remote developer.” Self-discipline and working autonomously are key to succeeding in any remote work environment, and are some of the skills you learn and develop through Microverse.
To date, Microverse has enrolled full-time students from 95+ countries, received applications from more than 200 countries, grown to a team from 12 countries, and helped our graduates from around the world land life-changing jobs.
Microverse is an online school for remote software developers, where you pay nothing until you get hired. If you’re ready to change your life by becoming a global software developer with Microverse, get started below.
** Please note, Alvaro's answers have been edited for clarity. To learn more about Alvaro and his experience with Microverse, view the full Webinar here.