From Bootcamp Grad to Software Engineer at Microsoft.By: Sara Ines Calderon, Sabio
Gema Ramila is a Sabio fellow who's a few months into her first job at Microsoft. Specifically, Gema is a Software Engineer I working on the Bing Experience within Cortana in the Windows codebase.
Gema was inspired to become a software developer because she has always liked logic. She had been encouraged to go into computer science or math as a college student, but her initial goal was to become a lawyer. After studying for the LSAT and realizing that the legal job market isn't all that it's cracked up to be, especially for recent law school graduates, she decided to attend a coding bootcamp so she could apply her love for logic in a setting that would allow her to create and build things.
We've written about Gema's first gig at LA Fitness, and also her entrance into the Microsoft LEAP program, which helped her segue into her current role there.
The day-to-day at Microsoft is pretty standard, Gema said, there's a lot of emphasis on work-life balance at Microsoft and she said although she has stayed late when she had tight deadlines, she's following the lead of her supervisor who does the same.
"I love my team, I love the project I'm working on. I love the benefits, I love everything, I love my team particularly," she said. "As long as there are opportunities to learn and grow I'm excited to stay."
She's currently working in C++ and has really enjoyed working with a principal architect on her team, who mentored her during LEAP, and who has taught her a great deal. Gema's team has daily standup, weekly meetings and monthly presentations. While she's the only person on the team who does not have a computer science degree, she has found that being around "super smart" people all the time has helped her learn a great deal.
"I'm constantly learning," she said.
In order to prepare for the interview process for LEAP Gema decided to go deep into algorithms and data structures. So deep that she quit her job to study for two months before her interview — and it paid off. That knowledge came in handy for the interview for the program, and again when she interviewed for her current role.
"It wasn't easy; I did work a lot of extra hours, I did a lot of extras to prove to them that I am what they need and that I can do it."
Once she got to the actual interview, at the conclusion of LEAP, she said it was pretty standard with what she'd already experienced. There were a total of four interviews, covering algorithms and data structures, and said that this expertise essential made her interview a success.
"Sabio definitely gave me the confidence to get started in tech, the ability to get my first job and have some experience to be able to land this position, so it was definitely the first stone."
Gema said the day she found out she got the job was the happiest day of her life.
"My mom couldn't believe it; two years ago when I decided not to be a lawyer and switch careers she thought I was crazy. Being an immigrant and coming from Cuba I never thought I would make this much."
We love Gema's story. Want to learn more about how Sabio can help you succeed? Check out courses, read alumni reviews on SwitchUp, and sign up for Wednesday-night Meet & Greet (either online or in-person!) on Sabio's website.