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By Sarah June FischerMay 24, 2017

Meet Kaylyn: Nurse Turned Software Developer

Meet Kaylyn Yuh! She graduated from Code Fellows as a full-stack JavaScript developer and now works as a software engineer at CBRE. She shares more about her time in class and what has surprised her most about her new role in tech.

Congrats on your job! Tell us about your new company and what you’ll be doing.

I am currently working for CBRE as a front-end software engineer on their Market Builder innovation team. CBRE is the largest global real estate service and investment management provider in the world. The Market Builder Team builds innovative technology platforms for internal and external consumption.

How did you find out about the opening at CBRE?

I was made aware of the open position at CBRE through a peer at Code Fellows.

What have you been surprised by the most in your new job?

What has been the most surprising about the new job has been how quickly my learning, and overall technical skills, have grown in such a short amount of time. The developer I am now is not the same developer that I was on day one of the job.

You switched careers from nursing to software development. What was that transition like?

With a background in healthcare and no experience with software development, the transition was an intellectual challenge with a steep learning curve. It never felt impossible though—I knew that it was simply a matter of hard work, dedication, and self-motivation. Those three things alone are what helped me to find success on this new journey.

Any parallels between the two career paths?

There a number of parallels (specifically, regarding soft skills) between a nursing assistant and a software developer. For instance, both require you to work collaboratively with others as a valuable and reliable team member. You must also know how to work cooperatively and effectively under high-stress scenarios, as well as demonstrate a solid work ethic on a day-to-day basis.

You got to experience Code Fellows as student and as a teaching assistant—can you share some highlights about your time on campus?

The transition from student to teaching assistant was an awesome and rewarding experience. Having been through the program myself, I felt an eagerness to support students and do my best to help them grow, not only as developers but as individuals as well. I also found my own learning grow significantly just from helping others and being exposed to new perspectives, questions, bugs, and ideas.

One of my favorite moments on campus was staying with students until around midnight the night before final 401 presentations. We ordered pizza and stuck together like one big team preparing for the big day. It was awesome.

What was your first reaction when you found out you’d received a Diversity Scholarship to attend Code Fellows?

When I had learned that I was a recipient of the Diversity Scholarship I was overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement. It felt like the doors to my new future and success were wide open. I was so ready to get started and kick ass, that’s all I wanted to do. I was super eager for class to start!

There’s a lot of conversation around the tech industry not being very diverse—did that have any impact on your decision to learn to code?

As a woman and a minority, I was excited to challenge diversity in tech. I saw it as an opportunity to make an impact, which definitely played a significant role in my decision to learn how to code.

What helped you the most throughout our job search?

Persistence, organization, and self-discipline are what helped me the most during the job search. After I graduated I laid out a structured plan for each day, what I was going to do, for how long, and how many things I could fit into one day.

Post-graduation kept me insanely busy. There were companies to research, applications to send, cover letters to write, resumes to edit, new frameworks to learn, behavioral and JavaScript questions to study, code to write, and—last but certainly not least—data structures and algorithms.

Can you share some advice from your own experience for others who are making a career switch?

For those that are making a career switch I would say that you shouldn’t be intimidated, afraid, or doubtful. It takes a lot of courage to take a new path but anyone who can make that decision has what it takes to find success somewhere new. Also, always remember that you don’t need to be a mathematician, a genius, or a male to become a software engineer. All you need to be is a motivated, hard-working individual, and that is it.


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