Last summer, after committing to a new city and a mortgage, I decided that it was time to move from freelancing/contract work to full-time employment as a software engineer. But I discovered that despite many years of web site/app development experience, I was not prepared to do well at the kinds of questions asked in the multiple-round process of technical interviews. So I applied for a fellowship at Formation, a program specifically created to increase diversity in tech by helping folks like me skill up and practice for these specialized interviews, and be ready to negotiate for a market appropriate salary.

It was an intense several months, and I learned so much, and built confidence, skills and speed I needed to move into the next stage of my tech career. It’s worth noting that the deep learning was only possible because I opened my work up to critique, and was honest with myself and others about many things I didn’t know (the list can feel endless in tech, especially when trying to become proficient in additional languages). So here’s to self-examination to reveal the holes in our knowledge (however long we’ve been in a field), and being willing to fill them!

With the incredible support of the mentors (senior engineers from top tech companies) and staff at Formation, my months of studying and preparation paid off and I was able to know what to expect and perform well over multiple interviews and negotiations with various companies in November – January.

As a result, I have started a new position as a Fullstack Team Lead/Tech Advisor at a large multinational company with lots of career growth opportunity (Halliburton). I’ll be leading the UI team (developers and designers, interacting with QA) for data-intensive operations monitoring and automation applications, used by Field Engineers to optimize safety, efficiency and environmental impact. Excited to collaborate with brilliant and creative humans in person at HQ here in Houston, and remotely around the world!

I’m grateful to everyone at Formation, including the founders Sophie Z. Novati and Michael Novati, mentor instructors, advisors, and awesome study buddies.

I learned a lot about the recruiting process, as I made my way through various twists and turns, and am grateful to people who encouraged me to keep my longer-version resume to emphasize my leadership skills honed inside and outside the tech world. (Yes, Film Producing = transferrable skills!)

I feel huge gratitude to my personal cheerleaders who helped me through some tough moments including self-doubt and dealing with the death of my mother partway through the program.

For anyone out there trying to chart their own career path, especially women and other under-represented folks, I’m happy to talk anytime about the Formation program, tech interviewing in general, transitioning to tech, increasing your income (you deserve it!), etc.