An Interview with Melissa Ortiz

By pearl - September 19, 2018

Last week I had the opportunity of interviewing Melissa Ortiz. I have been following Melissa for a few months on social media, and though I did not know her personally, I decided to be super bold and reach out to her to ask for an opportunity to interview her. Fortunately for me, she said yes! Here is what made me truly inspired by Melissa and I am sure she will inspire you too.

Melissa is a mom of three, who went from pursuing a career in Social work to being a full stack developer. All this after being a stay at home mom for a few years. Read this interview to find out how to know if coding can be the right career path for you, where to get started and most importantly how to juggle a career change despite the "busy-ness" of life. 

Tell us about Your Journey to the Tech Industry.

I was originally on the path to becoming a social worker specifically to work with kids which I was really passionate about, but after having my own kids and staying at home for a while, I decided to make a change and see what other career options are out there. I knew my strength; I am analytical and I am a great problem solver. So I started to google career options that match my strengths and searching for keywords on the Web. Software developer kept coming up because my skills are some of the soft skills required to be a great coder. So I decided to look into it. I started out with free resources on the web and trying to learn how to code on my own, but I realize as a mom of three, I could use more structure. I enrolled in a FullStack boot camp that teaches basic computer science, frontend, and backend. This really helped me to develop great coding skills.

Have you faced Any Challenges?

Imposter Syndrome, which simply put is the feeling that you don't know what you are doing, or doubting your self. I had moments where I felt like I did not belong in tech. Or felt like the new career path I had chosen for myself wasn' real or possible, but I had to remind myself, I am just as good as anyone else. I belong here! And I am putting in the time. I had to remember to always acknowledge that I am actually pretty good at this.

What advise will you give to a young girl starting out today?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The journey is going to be hard, there will be challenges but stick to it! Embrace it! It will be worth it. I also highly recommend taking a boot camp. There is just so much information out there, so starting out could be overwhelming. Doing a boot camp gives you structure and direction. In my case, I used bloc, which is online and could fit my busy schedule. Bloc also has a big online community and technical Coaches that can help answer questions you might have while learning.

Any Tech Mom Survival tips?

One of the big things I struggled with is mom guilt because being a web developer means taking time away from my kids. The way to overcome this is to block out intentional time with your kids. At a minimum an hour a day where the focus is completely about them. The kids need to know when mom is with you she is 100% with you and when its time to work/study she needs to focus 100% on that as well. It is ok to immerse yourself into one thing at the time without having to always split yourself. I also think this is a great lesson for my kids to not only follow their dreams but also to know it is ok to spend time doing the things they love.

Organizations Melissa is a part of.

I am a part of Global Girl Gang, an upcoming organization whose mission is to broaden the word community by facilitating connections for women worldwide, sparking inspiration, support, and empowerment. Through events, scholarships, generosity, and conversation, we want to break local barriers and build a Global Girl Gang. We are in the process of launching it, please follow me on social media to hear more about it.

Melissa's Story is really inspiring. It shows that it is never too late to follow your dreams and you can be anything you want to be. Thanks, Melissa for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview with DMb. Please be sure to reach out and follow Melissa on Twitter and Instagram .

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