Grace Hopper Academy Graduation

I’m officially graduated from Grace Hopper Academy! It’s incredibly bittersweet. I’m super proud of myself, and of every amazing woman in our cohort. But I’m also really sad to be leaving NYC! And then, of course, excited to be going home to the Bay Area, and to start the hunt for my next exciting job opportunity.

I’m approaching job hunting very differently this time around. I’m really just trying to network and meet with as many people as possible. I’m not just looking for a job — I’m looking for a company I really care about, whose mission I feel aligned with. But it’s also really excited to know that the skills I have at this point are valuable, and that I can make a huge difference anywhere I end up.

My list of dream companies is daunting but exciting. For now, I’m keeping the list pretty short, and I’m only looking into companies that I feel very passionate about. That may change with time (and rejections… don’t remind me) but for now, I’ve realized the best use of my energy is to only throw myself into the application process for companies that I feel really motivated to join.

But in the meantime, I’m also really open to discovering new companies I may have never heard of, especially if they’re small startups.

In reflecting back on my time at Grace Hopper, I’ve had so many discoveries along the way, and I thought I’d share some of my “revelations” here, in no particular order. Also these are all opinions, and subject to change with time.

1. I love backend programming! I’m still as crazy about APIs as I ever was, and I also have really enjoyed learning a lot about working with NoSQL databases, ORMs/ODMs. This shouldn’t strike me as a surprise, given my background in network technology, but I just thought that I would be more psyched about front-end when I entered the program. I was just way wrong about this.

2. I love Angular. It makes creating a web application so easy! It’s really nice to work with a tool that takes care of the architecture problem for you. Being so opinionated, it’s really clear whether you’re doing something the “right” way in this framework.

3. I also sometimes hate Angular. It can make web application maintenance so hard… and it’s very opinionated, so whenever I find myself not wanting to do something the “Angular way” I sometimes feel constrained.

4. I’m actually kind of good at front-end at this point… didn’t expect this, but I’ve been discovering that I know a lot more HTML/CSS than I thought I did. I guess this makes sense, since I’ve been learning HTML/CSS the longest of any language I’ve been working with. But it’s such a slow process to get good, particularly with CSS, that it sort of snuck up on me that I don’t find it completely insane to position things on the page anymore.

5. Bootstrap can be super useful — especially when time is very constrained. I was very hesitant to use Bootstrap, mostly because I think it creates less semantic markup, what with all the class names everywhere and oh so many divs. But actually, when you’re really strapped for time (ha, no pun intended) being able to rapidly prototype the HTML using Bootstrap is kind of invaluable. It also takes care of some of the nastier responsive design issues for you, which can be a godsend in moments of chaos.

6. Flexbox is awesome. I’m seriously a huge fan.

7. I’m a full stack engineer! As much as I’ve discovered how much I enjoy back-end code, and also that I feel pretty solid with front-end and this point — the fact is, I really enjoy a diverse set of tasks when I’m working on a project. I’m really excited that I have the ability to work across the entire stack. It makes me feel empowered — and I feel like working as a full stack developer will allow me the kind of variety I crave in my work.

8. I am a perpetual student. I am seriously having to fight the urge to just take more classes instead of job hunting! I was worried that after this program, I might feel done learning new programming concepts — but mostly, I feel like I’ve been using JavaScript only for 4 months and I want to get back to the Python & Ruby, and maybe learn some new languages and frameworks — Django? React? There’s just so much out there!

Anyway, in conclusion, I had a blast at Grace Hopper Academy — and I can’t wait to see where my journey takes me next. Looking forward to updating you all as I continue to learn new technologies. Feel free to shoot me an email and say hello, or ask me questions if you have any!


Originally published at paloobi.tumblr.com.

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