Vitoria Roas was among the Class of 2020 who graduated into a pandemic and a global financial crisis, both of which left her with little chance of landing a job. After a year of unemployment, Vitoria decided to try her hand in tech—one of the few industries to withstand the economic downturn.
So, she joined Boca Code and enrolled in the Software Engineering Career Course. Weeks later, she secured a job at the code school as a Staff Developer and Assistant Instructor at Boca Code, earning $70,000 to $80,000 annually—a 180-degree turn from her prior situation.
In her words, “My life completely changed after the program. I became someone people look up to in the community.”
Tell us about your background. What were you doing before attending Boca Code?
Before the program, I was lost in terms of career path. I did not know what to do. I graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2020 with a Neuroscience Degree, and couldn’t find a job in my field. So I felt devastated as I was unemployed for a year. Then, I knew that I needed to change my situation. I knew that I was smart enough to go into tech.
What motivated you to explore a new career in tech, and why did you decide to pick Boca Code?
I was motivated to start this career because I loved STEM. I wanted to continue in STEM. I was always interested in technology and wanted to immerse myself in this field. Boca Code seemed like it would give me the right structure to start my career. One of my biggest motivations was knowing that the tech field is male-dominated. I wanted to prove to myself and other women that this was possible for us.
How did you finance your education?
I was one of the scholarship winners of the Engineer the Change scholarship. The scholarship was offered to any minority in tech [women, BIPOC, Indigenous] who wanted to apply.
What did you like about the program? Are there any highlights that stood out to you?
How did you fit the program into your schedule?
The program was full time from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. I had to commit to the program entirely. I did not work for the 10 weeks I was attending the program. It was very intense mentally and physically.
Can you give us any examples of projects that you worked on during the program?
In the 10 weeks, we worked on creating small full stack apps. We built web apps, desktop apps, and mobile apps. One example of a project we did was an affirmations app. In this app, you can log in and then insert an affirmation.
Do you have any advice for someone considering this program?
My advice for anyone that wants to take the full-time course is that you need to know that you have to work hard. The instructors will push you to become a high-level engineer, but it takes hard work and a dedicated mindset.
How did the program support you in finding a job?
The program was beneficial in connecting me to future employers. I had interviews with companies before even finishing the program. They are very well connected to the tech community, so it was easy to place me in front of hiring companies.
Was the job search process different from what you expected?
The job search was different than what I expected. I did not know that they would help me find a job. We had two hiring fairs. One of them was online, and the other one was in person.
How many companies did you interview at? How did you choose which one to work with?
I was interviewed by 15 different companies. Finally, I got a job offer after one week of graduating. I loved the company that offered me the job. It matched my background well. They are an AI company that focuses on using AI to help you take notes. It was a perfect match for me because I have a Neuroscience Degree.
How are the skills you gained from the course useful in your current career?
What do you think is different about your life now versus before the program?
My life completely changed after the program. I became someone people look up to in the community. For example, I recently gave a talk to a group of women students at Miami Dade College on how to launch your tech career. I went from being unemployed to being someone who receives multiple job offers.
What do you find fulfilling about your current line of work?
I love that I get to learn new things every day. I also love that my job challenges me and that tech is a field that rewards you when you are doing a good job. I’ve received two promotions in the last eight months in my new job. It is a field where you wake up every day and want to go to work.
What do you enjoy about working at your current company, are there any specific perks you enjoy?
I love that I get to take mental health days in my current company. I also enjoy that we are agile. I do a lot of self-managing, which helps me. I have regular work hours from 9am to 5pm. It is super fun and not a stressful job.
Do you have any job search advice for someone considering a career in your field?
The biggest advice I could give is to network a lot. I got a lot of work opportunities from networking and being part of the tech community. I also recommend having a solid LinkedIn profile because this is essential for a software engineer.