From Hospitality to Tech
Let me start off by telling you why I got into the hospitality field. I have always loved interacting with people and being able to help them in some way. When I was younger, I participated in countless community service events, from feeding the hungry and mentoring children at the YMCA to helping raise awareness at events like Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure. It just feels great to help other people and make an impact on their lives. It is the reason why I joined a community service fraternity in college and why I joined Food Bank For New York City (https://www.foodbanknyc.org/)when I moved here last year. Therefore, I’m not surprised I fell into the hospitality field. That and the fact that I love hotels. Also, my friends would always tell me that I am a people-person and that this field would be perfect for me.
After college, I started my career as a Management Associate at MGM Resorts. It was an amazing opportunity working at some of the largest hotels in the world. I was able to train in every single department (~30) and learn how to manage a casino hotel (here’s a short video of my experience https://youtu.be/P47BpqskJ1A). Afterwards, I became an Assistant Front Desk Manager at NYNY, working on the overnight shift for 3 months before luckily getting the day shift. Everyone would say, after working in Vegas, you can work anywhere, and they are right. The experiences you gain there are beyond any that you will experience at a regular hotel. The volume of people you deal with on a daily basis can’t compare to those elsewhere, as you get casino guests, food and beverage guests, and pretty much all guests coming to the front desk to complain. I commend all the hard working front desk agents and managers in Vegas as it is not an easy job to keep your composure with the demanding clientele in Vegas. I have to say that this experience made me question whether hospitality was right for me.
So two and a half years after moving to Vegas, I embarked on a new journey to teach English in Prague, which I did for about half a year (that is a whole other challenge I will write about later, as well as moving to England, Hong Kong, and New Zealand). I knew teaching English wasn’t right for me, and I didn’t completely write off hospitality, so I almost got a job as a Front Desk Supervisor in Macau. Although it would have been a great opportunity for me to work on my Mandarin, I quickly realized that I did not want to work at another casino hotel. I moved to New Zealand instead on a working holiday visa. While I was there, I did take on other jobs that were hospitality related, such as working for accommodation at hostels and B&Bs. I also met people along my travels that were software engineers. It sparked my interest that they were working from their laptops and traveling around the world. Then, when I took on a temp job as a branch coordinator at Crown Relocations in Dunedin, NZ for a couple months, I came to realize that I am capable of being a software engineer. Crown uses multiple systems to manage their daily workflow and I was able to pick those up quickly (of course, this is not the same as building your own systems, but I know that when I set my mind on something, I will make it happen). I started wondering how these systems worked on the back end, and whenever the system was glitchy, how it would be like to fix those issues and not have to get someone’s help to do so. When my year in New Zealand was up and I decided to move back to the states, I started looking into how I can start a career in tech. I talked to one of my software engineer friends and he told me about bootcamps. After reaching out to other friends and doing research, I came across Grace Hopper Academy, a bootcamp for women with deferred tuition. I knew it was perfect for me. There was just one little problem. I needed money as I had carefully depleted my savings due to my years of traveling. Since I still had a passion for helping others, I decided to get a job in hospitality until I saved up enough to support myself through the bootcamp. In the meantime, I started teaching myself how to code on codecademy. It was silly how amused I was when I learned how to display an alert box in the browser. Once I saved up enough, I applied to the program…and here I am….ready to graduate! I have learned so much and am ready to find a job that will continue to challenge me.