In this series from Flatiron School, we’ll be talking to women in tech about their career journey, the essential lessons they’ve learned, and how more women can follow the path to join essential roles in computing.
This interview features Madeline Ryerson, Senior Software Engineer at Guild Education.
How would you explain your role to a 5th grader?
Tell me what you know about college...Exactly! It’s a special kind of school, for people older than you are. And do you think it’s important to go to college?... Yeah, I do too. It’s very important to help you get a job, but sometimes it’s really expensive, so it can be hard to do. So, the company I work for helps people go to college, without having to pay a lot! And I build the websites and computer programs to help people choose and apply to the program they want to do.
What inspired you to follow this particular career path?
Before I went to Flatiron School, I worked in market research for ~2 years. I really enjoyed the big picture of what I was doing -- equipping marketing teams with data to drive their strategy -- but I didn’t love doing the same thing every day. I had taken one computer science class in college, and when I started thinking about leaving my market research job, took a few online programming courses. I realized I loved programming, and decided to apply to Flatiron. The rest is history! I love actually building products, and not just helping other people decide what might be the right thing to do or build.
If you could go back 5 years ago and talk to yourself at that time, what would you share with her about her future in this career?
5 years ago, I had not, even for a second, considered a future in tech. I had recently discovered market research, and figured that when you set out on one career, you didn’t really make a switch for a while. So the first thing I would tell her is to not be afraid to take the plunge onto an unknown path, especially if it means you’ll be doing something you really love! The second thing I would tell her is, “You’re seriously never going to be done learning in this industry, so don’t get discouraged when you feel like you know nothing. You know so much more than you think, and you’re constantly learning more just by struggling through these new problems.”
What were the most important actions you took that helped you land the job role you have now?
Just putting myself out there! I am traditionally terrible at networking, it is not my comfort zone at all. But I had just moved to a new city, without a job, and had absolutely nothing to lose. So, I cold called/emailed friends of friends, got coffee with so many people, and applied to every job that looked interesting, even if I wasn’t fully qualified. Flex those networking and interviewing muscles, even if you really don’t want to!
After starting at Guild: I think it’s really important to make yourself accessible, and show that you are willing to help out with anything and everything, especially when you’re starting in a junior role. Before I was contributing at a more senior level, I made myself known as someone you could come to for help, or to simply get stuff done, which meant I was trusted to take on more individual responsibilities as I grew in my career.
Tell us about the most exciting (or inspiring, or creative) thing you've done so far in your career?
I was engineer #3 at Guild, and was very junior when I started! It was intimidating, but also incredibly exciting to just be thrown into the deep end. I learned so much just by being forced, for lack of a better term, to “make it work.” Starting that early on, I was also able to learn a lot about the company and our business model, which personally helps me do my job a lot better. I don’t think I’d like working for a company whose mission I was not aligned with, or where there was lack of transparency around how the organization worked.
What was it like attending Flatiron School?
In a nutshell, attending Flatiron was one of the best decisions I have ever made. From the technical skills I acquired, to the amazing people I met in my cohort, it was truly a life-changing experience. I especially appreciated Flatiron’s dedication to helping us learn how to learn, through projects, pair-programming and its rigorous curriculum. I certainly graduated well-equipped for my first job: not only technically, but also with the confidence that I could figure out the unknowns as I began to grow in my career.
Explore careers at Guild Education: https://www.guildeducation.com/careers
AWS 101 - Learn CI/CD with CodePipeline
July 24 from 6-8 p.m.
Amazon.com is the largest e-commerce marketplace and cloud computing platform in the world as measured by revenue and market capitalization. So, how does Amazon do it?! Amazon Web Services, or AWS!
AWS is a subsidiary of Amazon that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies, and governments, on a paid subscription basis. The technology allows subscribers to have at their disposal a virtual cluster of computers, available all the time, through the Internet.
Learn about Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment with AWS's CodePipeline. We will walk you through deploying a static site onto an S3 bucket and setting up a pipeline with CodePipeline to listen to changes to your Github Repo.