“I didn’t want to play it safe and stay where I was just because I had already spent 10 years in accounting,” said Hanna Jiang, a 10-year tax consultant veteran and mother of two. Hanna, who had spent a decade reviewing tax returns and interfacing with clients, knew it was time to push her career in a new direction.
But even when you know you’re ready for something — and especially when you have a pair of little ones depending on you — taking a leap into something new and uncertain can be scary. It is for everyone. Will you succeed? Can you afford it? How much time will it take? Is this even worth the money?
What helped push Hanna forward was Flatiron School’s Women Take Tech initiative. Created in 2017 to improve gender parity in coding, the WTT initiative has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship funding to aspiring female developers. This year, Flatiron School has partnered with Lyft to keep the movement going. Together, the two companies will award 25 women half-scholarships for Flatiron’s Online Web Developer program.
After completing her journey through the class, Hanna became a software engineer at Blackrock, the global investment management company based in New York.
You should “truly love what you do,” says Hanna to other women.
We talked with Jiang about how her life has changed since studying at Flatiron School.
Do you feel you faced any barriers as a woman breaking into tech?
Absolutely. The biggest barrier was to overcome my fears and doubts — from myself and family and friends — that a mom in her mid-30s can still study hard and work hard to change her career.
The second biggest barrier for me: taking care of family while studying and potentially being unemployed for a long period of time while searching for a job in tech. The only way to overcome those mental barriers was to take a leap of faith and be firm in my choice. I had to constantly remind doubters that it’s important to do the things that matter to me for the rest of my life. As for the financial and time barriers, luckily I had the full support of my husband and parents.
What was the hardest part of the experience and how did you tackle it?
For me, the most difficult part was finding time to study. I studied everywhere and any time that I had a break – most of the time from midnight to 4 a.m. while my kids were sleeping. After finishing the course, the most difficult part was landing a job. But through many failed interviews, I kept on learning and honing my interview skills to do better on the next one.
And you must have gotten your skills to a great place because you’re now a software engineer at BlackRock.
What’s an average day for you? What’s your favorite part of the job?
What advice do you have for future students?
My advice is to truly love what you do. If you are truly passionate about tech, you will find the courage and motivation to move forward.
Apply for a scholarship to the Women Take Tech initiative here.