Meet Evan: From the U.S. Army to Porch's Dev Team

When a family member stumbled upon Code Fellows from a Google search, it seemed like a great opportunity for Evan Paige to fast track his learning. He shares how his background in the military aided his learning, how he got the job at Porch, and more.

Hi Evan! Thanks for talking with us today. We’re excited to hear about your journey and new role at Porch. How did you hear about Code Fellows and make the decision to enroll?

My dad was the one who first found Code Fellows, by a Google search. He was the one who first thought that I would enjoy working in tech, and he thought Code Fellows would be a great way for me to hit the ground running.

What were you doing before you enrolled at Code Fellows?

Directly before Code Fellows, I was installing carpet with my girlfriend’s dad to support myself while I studied to better prepare myself for school. Before that I was in the Army.

What was the most challenging part of the program? The most rewarding?

I would say the pace is definitely the most challenging aspect of the whole process. That and self-doubt when you feel a bit behind. Everyone who’s attended a Code Fellows class knows that you get started at a breakneck pace and it doesn’t let up until you graduate. That speed makes the process challenging, but also is the part that makes it so rewarding. When you finally finish up a class and can look back and see where you came from and how much you’ve accomplished along the way, it’s a very rewarding feeling.

How did your time in the military affect how you approached your time at Code Fellows?

My time in the military didn’t quite relate to tech, but there are definitely lessons I learned that I was able to carry over. First off all, the military teaches you that you’re much stronger than you think you are. If you do what is expected of you and give your all to something, you set yourself up for success. Code Fellows is no different in that sense. If you work hard, pay attention, ask questions, and keep your focus, you will become a developer.

How did you find out about the opening at Porch?

I woke up one morning, browsed my email, and there it was: an email from my (now) manager asking me if I was looking for opportunities. I was super excited when I heard from him and jumped at the chance to join their team.

Was this someone you knew before, or was it a cold-email?

This was just a cold email from my now current manager. He was asking how my job search was going and if I had any interest in checking out Porch. He let me know that he had another Code Fellows graduate on his team who is now a senior engineer, and that Porch was a great place to gain experience and grow professionally.

What was the job interview process like?

The interview process was actually much less stressful than I had anticipated. Before any interviewing actually took place, I was given some questions to answer about myself and my experience with programming. The next step was a quick pair-programming exercise where we went over some basic JavaScript fundamentals. It was a super relaxed process and seemed more like a check to see if I actually knew Javascript. After the phone screen, I think within about four days or so, I got an email saying that I had advanced to the next step, which would be an onsite interview with multiple people. I was super nervous, but excited. The whole process was really great. Everyone was warm and friendly, and I immediately got the feeling that people who worked there truly loved their jobs. I did a round of four interviews that day.

I first spoke with the Engineering Manager (basically the CTO). She gave me behavioral interview, which really just felt like a nice chat to get to know each other a bit. I told her about myself. We laughed a bit, talked about our mutual love of Washington, and just chatted. The following interviews were whiteboarding, pair-programming, and then the HR interview. The whiteboarding interview (the one that I think scares everyone) wasn’t bad at all. We worked through a few basic problems, talked about binary search trees a bit, and that was it. Like Code Fellows teaches us, it seemed much more important to explain the thought process and work together to arrive at an answer, than the answer actually being correct. The pairing exercise was a backend exercise with the objective to fix some failing tests, something that Code Fellows prepared me very well for. The HR interview was another conversation, and really relaxed. After all of this, a week and a half later, I got a call offering me the position.

How has the new job been so far?

The new job has been everything and more than I could have hoped for. I’m working with brilliant developers who are teaching me tons and I’m in a super tech-forward company where I get to work with a really awesome stack. I can’t imagine a better place to be to help me grow and progress my career.

If you could go back and do the whole process over, what would you change (if anything)?

I would have gone to Code Fellows earlier—that’s it. It’s been the best choice I’ve made.

Any advice for others who are considering Code Fellows?

Understand that it’s not a golden ticket. Successfully completing a course at Code Fellows requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Code Fellows does a great job at providing you with the proper direction to go in, but no one can learn something for you. You must put in the work and stay focused, but if you truly want to work in the software industry, or just want to pick up a new skill, I can’t think of a better path to do that.

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