From the Amazon rainforest to the Mission
By Daniela Meza-Gray on August 14, 2017
Marcela never thought her love for the Amazon rainforest would lead her to pursue a career in software engineering. But that’s exactly where it took her after she participated in a hackathon for a natural beauty products company that offered a trip to the rainforest as reward for winning the competition. Her team came up with the idea of an app that notifies you when your plants need watering and was selected as the winner. Prior to this experience, Marcela had a degree in economics and had never had exposure to coding or the possibility of pursuing a career in tech. A native of Brazil, Marcela packed her bags for San Francisco to enroll in an 18 week coding bootcamp, and quickly became immersed in the SF tech space.
“DM has taken the fast-driven mindset of tech and applied it to nonprofit, which has been really inspiring to see. It’s something that I hope to bring back with me to Brazil.
Despite spending every waking moment working on her coding skills throughout the bootcamp, Marcela still felt something lacking in her experience– a sense of community and a connection to a cause bigger than herself. So when she learned about dev/Mission and its commitment to training untapped young adults from underserved communities for jobs in tech, she knew this was the missing component to finding fulfillment. Soon, Marcela became a regular at OpenLab, an open style workshop facilitated by tech mentors for dev/Mission students and alumni. There, Marcela worked with students on their coding and GitTerminal. “It’s a big deal and important for when they’re looking for a job to know how to store the version of the code that you’re working on.”
Now that Marcela has completed dev/Bootcamp, she will be returning to her native Brazil to work at a fintech company and is excited about bringing back a part of dev/Mission with her. “DM has taken the fast-driven mindset of tech and applied it to nonprofit, which has been really inspiring to see. It’s something that I hope to bring back with me to Brazil.
Marcela has seen first hand the impact that DM is having on youth by sparking their interest in STEM. “I didn’t even think about it until I was 22. There was no program like DM. And the fact that DM wants to develop a program that is going to stick with you for 5 years is great.”
When asked why people should volunteer for dev/Mission, Marcela emphasized the open-ended nature and flexibility of the experience. “There’s a lot of space to create your own projects. If you have a proactive mindset, you can do anything in your capacity. If you give yourself to DM, DM will give back.” For Marcela, that meant gaining coding teaching experience, attending great events, and meeting people from the tech industry.
As she makes her way back home, Marcela will continue to share her expertise with her own community in hopes that she can inspire other young people to pursue careers in tech.