Maria Reyes had fulfilled her childhood dream.
Ever since she was a young child, Maria wanted to be an archaeologist — and she did just that. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology, Maria felt a need to get another degree due to the nature of her field. When she came across a scholarship opportunity to further her studies, she grabbed it with open arms.
Maria went three years into her Master's degree, published two theses, and was finding joy in her work. “It was a beautiful career. I enjoyed it a lot.”
But after a while, she desired a change.
Maria started to feel a sense of discontent. She had achieved her goal of becoming an archaeologist, but a little voice in her head told her she had not quite reached her final career destination.
At the time, Maria was a high school history teacher. A friend with a startup asked if she would join his team. “He wanted to build an app for schools, and since I was in a school and knew how schools worked, he wanted me to participate.”
Maria resigned from her high school job and joined the startup. Working there introduced Maria to a new world she was unaware of. She knew nothing about programming, but being in proximity to the developers stirred up her interest in software development.
“It was a small startup, so we were all in the same place all the time. I would see the developers working with what I now know to be VS Code, typing away on their computers all the time.”
At the startup, Maria’s duty was to speak with the clients and bring their needs to the team. ‘’So, for instance, a client wants a feature that can call the parents or maybe send a message to all of them. And after a day or two, the dev team creates something for that. For me, it was like creating something out of nowhere.”
After a year, Maria decided she was going to learn to program. This decision was the turning point that helped her find her way to Microverse.
However, making this decision was not an easy one for Maria. She had quit her job, which meant there was no income to fall back on. “I was in a pretty difficult situation, both professionally and personally. I had to go back to live at my parents’ house. But it helped me a lot because I wasn’t getting paid while studying. So I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Apart from learning how to code, Maria was excited to join Microverse because it meant she could practice her English as well. While she felt nervous at first, she didn’t find it difficult. “It took a while for me to get used to hearing and speaking English all the time.”
From the start, Maria fell in love with Microverse— but that doesn’t mean there weren’t challenges. The first part of the program was easy for her, and she enjoyed working with her coding partner from Guatemala. But once Maria got into the second part of the curriculum, she struggled to keep up. “It was a nightmare for me. I consider myself good at math, but this was very different.”
Like many others who switched to coding from non-technical careers, she began to wonder if she had made the right decision. “I was really upset because I felt I wasn’t good enough for this. I took like a month and a half on Ruby on Rails.” Thankfully, her coding partner was more than supportive and helped Maria find her way through that part of the program. As Maria kept showing up - even on the tough days - it started to get better and make more sense.
“Going through a full-time program is a lot different than a part-time program. I know people that have done bootcamps part-time, and it's nowhere near the same experience because, in a full-time program like Microverse, you are programming all day. It prepares you a lot more for the real world.”
Through daily standup sessions with her team, Maria realized they were struggling with the same things she was. “If they could do it, I could too.”
After Maria completed the program, she came together with a group of friends from Microverse to start a small company and offer their services to clients. But they struggled for a while, and it didn’t work out as they had hoped. Shortly after, another friend from Microverse reached out. He asked if she was interested in being a Shopify developer and offered to refer her to the company he was working with. Maria interviewed and was accepted.
She now has over three years of web developer experience and joined Storetasker where she helps clients who post jobs on the platform.
“I love that it helps me save time by not having to look for my own clients, which is one of the most difficult parts of being a freelancer. I work four to six hours a day, yet I earn more than I would make getting paid full-time in my country. I freelance for American companies, so I get paid in dollars.”
If there is one thing Maria has learned in her journey over the years, it is to never stop working towards what you want. If she had been too scared to try, she would never have changed industries or jobs and would have been stuck in the same place.
“When I think of my life, I always see that I didn’t know where I was going, but I kept walking. And that took me to a place where I could decide to walk down different paths. If you keep trying, you’re going to get the opportunities you want.”
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Learn more about the program that helped Maria land her dream job. Learn about the Microverse journey!
You can see Maria share more about her career and Microverse experience in Maria’s recent Microverse webinar.