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We’re incredibly proud of all our students and the hard work and dedication they put in to 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 students that landed a great remote job, before even finishing Microverse. Juan Manuel Escobar, is an 18-year-old from Colombia who’s working remotely for a startup in Colombia. Juan had a chance to connect with our team in person a month ago in Medellin, Colombia. Our founder, Ariel, sat down for a chat with Juan to learn more about his experience dropping out of university to pursue Microverse and landing a great remote software job within months.

Juan, tell us about yourself you and your experience with Microverse.

“I'm from Colombia, Medellin. I did school but didn't know what I was going to study so I decided to study computer science and joined university for two semesters. That's when I heard about Microverse from a Facebook ad. I then joined Microverse, had an amazing experience and two weeks into Javascript (18 weeks into Microverse), got a job offer via LinkedIn. I applied, followed the next steps and got the job. Now, I'm here.”

Amazing, let’s back up a bit. How did you start learning to code?

“I started to code in my last year of high school. We had a class on programming, but it wasn’t too sophisticated. I then started doing tutorials on FreeCodeCamp and Cloud Academy on my own. When I started university, I began to understand a bit more about programming logic. I did the basics and knew a bit about HTML and CSS but overall I knew very little coding before joining Microverse.”

Why did you decide to drop out of university after two semesters there and what did you do after?

“The main reason I dropped out is that it was the end of the semester and I saw the great opportunity in Microverse. My career path before Microverse would be to finish college, which is five years, then apply to a local job, get some hands-on experience and then apply to a remote job. That's what my big goal was. I saw Microverse as an opportunity to make that whole process shorter.”

We always talk about how college is not just about learning. It's also about the social side of things - getting to meet people who are going through the same experiences. Did you have any of the social side of things at Microverse, even though it was a completely online experience?

“Yes, definitely. There’s the stand up in the morning. Being able to share your day with other students that are going through the same things you are is great. I miss that because now I'm working remotely, I have a stand-up but it's just a message through Slack. You definitely miss that - it's amazing. The experience of sharing what you're learning with your fellow students is great. We also had the opportunity to have personal conversations and make connections.”

What did your family and friends have to say when you told them you were dropping out of college to join an online school you found on Facebook?

“It was weird for everybody, but my family really supports me and knew it was a good opportunity. Also, I was pretty young to be in college and thought, "Okay, I’ll try this out. If it works, great. If not you can always go back to college." They were really supportive. Microverse is a challenge for many of us, but having that support is key.”

How was your day-to-day experience at Microverse? 

“I was expecting that my skills and capabilities were going to be way too low and that I didn’t know enough Javascript or HTML. What I encountered is that many of the students knew more coding than me. They were so supportive and encouraged me to keep learning. It's also great that when I know a bit about this topic and you know a bit about that topic, we collaborate and you learn much more than what you expected by just doing the curriculum yourself.”

What was the most helpful thing you got through Microverse or the community?

“What Microverse does really, really well is make you feel more confident in your coding skills. The fact that you're solving a hard challenge every morning helps build your confidence. Without having that confidence, I wouldn't have replied to the message about the job opportunity.”

Definitely, soft skills like confidence are a crucial thing you learn through Microverse. That said, what was your English level before you started Microverse, and how is it now?

“I took some English classes in high school, but just what school taught so it wasn't great. I mostly learned English by myself through watching videos and reading in English. I think that Microverse was the turning point where I felt confident talking in English, and that I was fluent. The fact that you speak in English the whole day and try to understand another person's point of view of a problem, it consolidates all the English knowledge you have. I noticed a big change in my fluency in English from joining Microverse. Once you start talking in English every day, it becomes so much easier.”

What was the most difficult situation you faced at Microverse, and how did you tackle it?

“I think one of the most difficult, stressful and tiring situations I experienced in Microverse was the final Ruby on Rails project. We had to create a Facebook clone, and we received many, many code reviews and most were declined. There were linter errors, there were errors in the logic everywhere. That was one of the most stressful projects I have ever worked on, but it was also the project where I learned the most.”

You were in the middle of Microverse when you got your job. How exactly did you get it?

“For a bit of context, I was in the week off of Microverse, after Ruby on Rails, and I was starting to set up my LinkedIn and Twitter profile. I created a really basic LinkedIn profile and just started working on Javascript when I got a message on LinkedIn asking if I was interested in joining the company. It was super fast, I did the application process, then phone interview and a technical test, then got the job. I think the thing that really helped me stand out was that the whole stack they're using is the same as the one you learn in Microverse. It's exactly the same. You have Ruby on Rails on the backend, and React on the front end.” 

Fantastic, can you tell us a bit about your job and what you’re working on?

“The company is a Colombian-based startup called Picap. The main thing we do is commuting solutions. It's like Uber, but with motorcycles and cars. That's the main business line. But it's a really fast-growing startup, so there are many other business lines that I haven't touched. I'm currently working on an internal application, working with invoices and automation regarding the tax status of the company.”

What does a typical day look like for you now?

“I don't have fixed hours I have to work. I just have to write a daily report on Slack, which is my standup. I do it before 9:00 AM then I go have breakfast. Next, I make a to-do list then get to work. I work about one hour intervals, then I take a 10 minute break so I can clear my head, do something else, get some food, then keep working. I usually finish about 5-6pm. There are days when I finish earlier, other days I work until 7-7:30pm.”

Landing a remote job at 18 is super exciting. How has learning to code through Microverse helped you financially in comparison to your peers?

“I’m making more than the average salary of a recent college graduate from computer science in Colombia. Through committing to Microverse, I accomplished securing a job that is better paid than a job I would have landed if I had stayed in college for five years.”

Finally, what would you recommend Microverse students or people who are considering becoming developers do to help themselves land their first job in tech?

“I think the main thing would be to always have a challenge you want to work on in your mind. Choose a difficult coding challenge that you find interesting and think about it before writing any code. Think about how are you going to work through it, which steps you will follow. Try to have a structure, that really helps develop logical thinking. It’s important to prioritize learning the logic and understanding how programming works. Once you have the logic down, you can switch through languages easily. People should focus on problem-solving and learn how to approach mistakes and debug a piece of code. That's a really, really important skill you want to have when you're actually working.”

Juan was a student of the June class at Microverse and completed 18 weeks before he landed his job. Microverse is a global school for remote software developers, where you don’t pay anything until you get hired. If you’re ready to change your life by becoming a global software developer with Microverse, get started here.

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** Please note, Juan's answers have been edited for clarity. To learn more about Juan and his experience with my Microverse, view the full Webinar here.

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