Looking for a tech job? Don’t give up | Vinitha’s story

Vinitha Natarajan has looked for ways to succeed and improve herself her whole life. Her quest for meaningful, exciting work has been a long and tough one — but she never gave up.

She’s exactly the kind of person we’re proud to have as an Enspiral Dev Academy graduate. If you’re thinking about a career in web development or programming, level up now with one of the 18-week courses starting each month in Auckland and Wellington. The preparatory phase is part-time from home and can be fitted in remotely around work and study, while the final nine weeks take place full-time on campus.

Here’s Vinitha’s story of making it as a junior web developer for Rabid.

It took me a year to get a job after I graduated from Dev Academy, but my confidence kept me going. I kept coding and I knew I’d get there one day. I was working in Burger King doing 10, 11 hour shifts. I have two kids and I was looking for jobs. I have a family to support, so it’s not a simple thing.

But I kept thinking: I didn’t come to New Zealand to work in Burger King. I came here to achieve something and be someone I wasn’t before.

I don’t have to explain to my kids how important it is that you pursue your dreams. They can look at me and know how I struggled.

I grew up in Madurai, Temple City, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. My dad is a customs officer, mum is a school principal and I have a good family background, so my parents expected me to become something. After high school, I got married and had two kids. I suppose sometimes your fate changes. And after that, I was waiting to find a perfect time to go back and study. I waited for eight years. Sometimes there isn’t a perfect time! But eventually I went to university and did it — a Bachelors of Computer Application.

I took a multimedia paper as part of that, and loved it. Animation and design were really popular in India at the time. And so was Lord of the Rings. My city went crazy for it! And I’ve always loved movies. So I wanted to become an animator and work for Peter Jackson. I came to New Zealand to do a Graduate Diploma in animation since that’s where Peter Jackson lives. I did a one-year course and started working as a web administrator afterwards. I wasn’t very satisfied — it wasn’t the animation job I wanted. But animation was a very tough market to get into at the time. As well, I had many responsibilities. I came to New Zealand alone; my husband was able to join me after six months, and my children joined us after a year.

It was a very stressful time, because I wanted to find myself a good career in which I could proceed and succeed, but it was a struggle. I did a lot of research about how to improve myself, and did a lot of online courses. By that time I was doing some freelance work, making WordPress websites for clients. And then I came across Dev Academy, which was teaching code. I decided it was a good time to jump over and start coding.

I joined Dev Academy’s fourth cohort and graduated on March 21, 2015. It was a very intense course for someone very fresh to coding. Every day I was learning new stuff, rather than practising what I’d learned the previous day. For some people that would be easy to grasp, but for me as someone new to coding, it was hard.

I’m from a small city, and it has a very traditional feel. So I’m a very traditional woman. Lots of things were very new to me, but I had to adapt. When I first started at Dev Academy, there were drinks on and they asked me if I was comfortable. I said, “It’s your culture, I’ll try to fit in.” It’s not my nature to complain about things.

I went for many interviews for a year after I graduated. Rohan, one of the founders of Dev Academy, sent a few emails on my behalf. I worked very hard for three months after I graduated — vigorously looking for jobs. And after that it slowed down. I thought, is it hard for juniors to get into the industry? Will anyone hire a junior? It’s a tough ask for employers. They want two years of experience, but how do you get that if you can’t get a job? But I kept working on my coding skills.

One week, Rohan got me to go to a Meetup, and I met someone who used to work for Rabid. We had a good chat and I asked her if I could forward my CV. They called me in for a coffee and told me they had space for a junior. Finally! Rabid is an awesome place to work. And I don’t know if it’s a magical thing, but I got the job exactly one year after I graduated! It’s an awesome place and people here are very supportive. Whenever I’m stuck, people are good at explaining things. Every Friday, we have 20% of our time to work on our own projects or up-skill. I love working here.

I think anyone who is out there looking for a job at the moment shouldn’t lose hope or confidence. If they have belief in themselves, they can achieve anything. I definitely want to be a perfect coder. But I’ve come so far already and I’m really enjoying it.

Ready to level up? Apply now for a Dev Academy programming boot camp.