Maigen attended Epicodus in 2014, went on to be a developer, and then changed careers again into a career coach for women in tech. Below, she shares her story and advice.

What were you doing before Epicodus?

Before Epicodus, I was a flight attendant for six years and a nanny in Canada for three years before that. I had never programmed anything more complicated than a microwave before I applied to Epicodus!

Why did you want to get into coding?

I was going through a massive life shift in the months before Epicodus even showed up on my radar. I didn’t want to be a flight attendant anymore, but I had no idea what I wanted to do - or could do. Going back to school didn’t feel like an option - I had already failed out twice and the staggering amount of debt I would accumulate seemed insurmountable. My partner at the time was a network engineer, and he suggested that I consider a coding bootcamp. I did some research and felt like Epicodus's values aligned with mine. But even then, I didn’t really have the confidence that I was smart enough to be a developer.

What did you find valuable from your Epicodus education?

The time I spent on my education at Epicodus was powerfully transformative for me! At the top-most level, I learned how to learn. My cohort was formed around learning JavaScript and Ruby on Rails. But it wasn’t just a superficial understanding of one particular programming language - it was so much more, and it set me up for success in future work. In the Epicodus curriculum, I learned how to effectively break down problems and create solutions for them. Outside the curriculum, I learned to have more confidence in the years I had spent using "soft skills" and why those would make me successful in my future jobs.

What are you doing for work now, and what was the transition from Epicodus like?

Coming out of Epicodus, I (like everyone else, I suppose) was nervous about how I could translate what I learned into working a real job as a developer. As a direct result of my Epicodus education, I absolutely crushed my first interview and got hired as an intern, and then a front-end developer for an awesome startup here in Portland, OR, which has since been acquired and moved to New York. The whole time I was a developer, I was also acting as a mentor for other women in tech. I recognized that the fears and insecurities I had as a student and a junior developer were shared by every woman I met in tech. It became my passion to support them and to help them find their next level of success. When my company got bought and the Portland office was closed, I took it as a sign from the universe that it was time to focus on helping women in tech full time. I started Empowered Women in Tech and I now help women new to tech find greater success in their first year and beyond.

What advice do you have for future students?

1. Show up. Be there every day, and be willing to keep trying. This is true for Epicodus students and future employees alike. Not showing up deprives you of the opportunity for learning, and deprives your fellow students in the cohort of the magic that only you can bring!

2. Don’t take it personally when you hit a block. It might feel like a major problem, but when you get past it, you’ll laugh (later) about how easy that was in comparison to the project you’re working on next. Focus your attention on how great it feels to find a solution, and don't get distracted, derailed or dragged down by how hard it feels.

3. Ask for what you need, especially if you need help. So many people get caught up in trying to do it all themselves, or feeling like success is a competition. Be okay with needing someone else’s guidance at times and be willing to give yours, as well.