Bootcamp Corner with Mariza Pereira

Mariza Pereira is an incoming Codify Academy student. She’s been a self-taught developer looking to transition from a professional medical interpreter to a front-end developer. Mariza talks about her motivations to become a developer, tips on applying to Codify, and her experience with WeFinance.

Bootcamp Corner with WeFinance is a regular series that looks at coding bootcamp students, their experience, and the lessons they’ve learned.

Mariza crowdfunded a loan to cover her tuition for Codify. You can see her campaign here.

Are you considering a bootcamp but worried about the tuition or living expenses? WeFinance for Bootcampers is the fastest way to crowdfund a personal loan.

You have a campaign to raise funds for Codify Academy, can you tell us a bit more about what the program is?

The world is in a desperate need for programmers. There are these coding schools developing programmers and Codify is one of them. Codify is built to give normal, hardworking, and smart people an entry into the developer world. One of the things that drew me to Codify was that it is very “user-friendly” for people who are working full-time.

What were you doing before applying to Codify Academy?

Recently, I was working at the SF LGBT Community Center as a youth program coordinator. I loved working there but I needed a change of pace and was already considering coding bootcamps.

I already have a job as a medical interpretor which is basically over the phone where you translate what people say in medical scenarios. This job is flexible and works very well with the Codify model (which only requires 1 meeting a week, where you work independently for the other days).

What makes you a good investment?

I learn quickly and adapt quickly — coding has been this way already. It’s been challenging but I’ve gotten into it.

The other thing is that I have a strong moral and ethical compass. I’m looking at programming to learn a very valuable skill the world needs and I’m ultimately hoping to use that skill set to give back to the communities I care about like the LGBT. Eventually, I want to be able to volunteer time with girls and young women who want to learn coding.

What gave you the push to do a coding bootcamp?

I’m self-taught and have been learning a lot on my own already. I went through coding courses from sites like Coursera and started going to meetups like Women Who Code SF.

At these meetups, I realized there’s a lot I can do to improve on my skills and that I learn a lot more quickly when I’m supported by a community. I want to make the career change to software developer sooner rather than later so it seemed like the perfect timing to find a supportive community like Codify.

How are you preparing psychologically and technically for the intense 16-week program?

Self-care is very important and I think I’ve learned a lot from different jobs. As a youth coordinator, I was working with youth who were street involved, used substances, were sex workers, or had mental health issues. Stress is one of those things that easily transfer from person to person so you really need to manage your boundaries and learn how to take care of yourself.

Burnout is a very real problem with coding and I think I’ll survive by pacing myself and doing other things like exercising, eating right, and getting enough sleep. One of my goals is to make sure that I spend enough time in study groups because nothing really beats the experience of working alongside people who have the same questions you do.

How did you hear about Codify Academy? What made you pick it over the other bootcamps?

I actually found out about Codify through a Facebook Ad that mentioned part-time course for development for full-time workers. I went to their website, reviewed their curriculum, and read the reviews from students on Course Report.

What was the application process like?

The application process involved talking to the founder, Sam, over the phone. We talked about my relationship with code, why I wanted to do Codify, and what I was hoping to get out of the program. After that, I met them in person and saw the space; we discussed what I was looking for in a learning environment.

I really appreciated this application process since it wasn’t just a one-way street; they want to make sure it’s a good fit on both sides. Their goal is to make sure that you’re getting something out of the program, otherwise they won’t accept you.

Another reason I liked the process was that it was very human and involved a lot of interaction. Some bootcamps have a different approach which is closer to applying to a traditional job or to college — fill out this application, do a coding challenge, then we’ll talk later. I think that’s a bit dehumanizing whereas Codify tries to develop a different culture.

Any tips for other Codify applicants?

If you’re going to apply, really question whether this is something you want to do. It’s important to figure out whether you’re comfortable sacrificing a good amount of your free time, if not most of it. When talking with Codify, really make the connection between who you are and what coding will do for your life. Talk about how you plan to contribute back to the world and the Codify network.

I think a great thing about Codify is their alumni network; they really try to maintain connections between students, graduates, and recruiters/employers.

Why did you pick WeFinance over a bank?

One of the things I love about WeFinance is that you aren’t looking for a new way to do something, but getting back to the heart of how things have been done traditionally and making that process easier.

WeFinance goes back to the old way where you’re asking people you know for a loan. The great thing is that WeFinance formalizes the process. You start by asking people you know and then you go to people you don’t know, with recommendations. I also like that you’re not asking for a handout, but a loan. There’s more incentive for people to invest in something where they’ll get a return.

With banks, oftentimes the numbers and interest rates aren’t very fair for the borrower and are very predatory. WeFinance takes things back to the way they used to be but just makes it easier through technology.

How has your experience with creating a WeFinance campaign been? How did you pick your interest rate and deferral period?

The process of creating a campaign was easy and choosing a grace period and interest was easy due to WeFinance’s suggestions.

Creating the page was easy. The hard part is the crowdfunding itself, but the end reward is worth it!

Any tips or tricks for creating a campaign?

You have to throw yourself out there. You can’t wait for people to come to you.

My biggest tip is to talk to individual people in-person. If you have to write, do not write mass emails. Write individual emails to individual people.