Engineering / July 19, 2017

Transitioning Careers and Roles within the Tech Industry

My career in tech started with a leap of faith.

After a decade in the hospitality industry, I stepped away from my comfy hotel industry job in one of the hospitality capitals of the world, Las Vegas. I didn’t have much cash saved and with no income to pay the bills, I ended up on a friend’s couch for a month while studying for my Cisco Certified Network Associate certification.

With a bit of luck and good friendships, I was able to land a contract job as a deployment engineer for a major hotel chain immediately after getting certified. Sure, I was back in a hotel, but this time I was doing something much different and technical–I was actually having a blast! It was around this time that I was exposed to the idea of software engineering.

I knew software engineering was where I wanted to be eventually. When I started doing research on how to get started, I discovered that coding bootcamps were an actual thing, where I could learn the basics of web development in a few months. However, there was one problem, no coding bootcamps existed in Las Vegas, so I had to start weighing my options in other cities.

I took many things into consideration, but one of the major contributing factors to my decision was that I am handicapped. I have a genetic eye condition and am legally blind, so since I can’t drive I had to look for a city with reliable public transportation, which is why I landed on New York City.

There are plenty of coding schools in New York, and the city is famous for its mass transit systems (even if they don’t always run on time). I packed my bags, left most of my belongings behind and made my way to the Big Apple. The next few months involved a bit of couchsurfing and a few odd jobs, but eventually, I made my way into a coding bootcamp called General Assembly, where I learned the basics of full stack development using Javascript and Ruby on Rails.

Once again, thanks to a bit of luck and a few good friendships, I landed an interview for an internship at Eyeview shortly after graduating from General Assembly. The interview was no walk in the park–even for an internship. I was interviewed by two engineering leads within the company, which made me very nervous at first, but they went out of their way to make me feel comfortable as the interview progressed. They assured me that Eyeview is a learning environment and that I did not always have to know everything. I went home, and later that day I received a phone call letting me know that I landed the internship.

As my internship progressed, I learned quite a bit about Eyeview’s technology culture. It was clear that they hire the best of the best engineers, and everyone was always willing to share their knowledge; I could easily tap anyone in the department to ask questions.

I started out as a front-end intern for the platform team. The majority of my time was spent learning the code base and Angular, which was very different from Backbone, the framework I had learned in General Assembly. I gave this internship my all, and as it drew to an end, I got an offer to become a full-time employee and come on board as an associate engineer on the platform team.

I’ve learned a lot by working on our platform, ranging from grunt builds to e2e tests and unit tests, and I’ve become more comfortable with Git. My team lead has been very cognisant and specific with my growth; she has given me difficult projects that she knew I may not be ready for but wanted to expose me to new opportunities and learn quickly. She has also been there to help me through those more challenging tasks every step of the way, which has allowed me to expand my skill-set.

Eyeview encourages personal growth, and they’re happy to provide the tools you need to increase your skill set and set a career path. If there if ever anything they can’t help you with, they encourage you to pursue education and happily cover its costs for you.

Eyeview’s platform team was once separated into front-end engineers and back-end engineers, but slowly, every team member has become a full-stack developer. Never knowing Java, this took me a while, but with the tools and guidance Eyeview provided, I am now able to work on the back-end writing Java.

I initially joined Eyeview as a front-end intern, and thanks to their guidance and support, I am now a junior software engineer doing full-stack and growing more every day.

Check out Eyeview’s engineering opportunities on our Careers page.

Chris Kim

Chris Kim Junior Software Developer

Date: 07.19.2017