My Journey Into Software Development

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This post was written by Emily Melendez, a Software Consultant at Chariot Solutions. 

In 2016 my boyfriend sent an email to Chariot Solutions’ CEO, Mike Rappaport. He was a recent hire but already was exceeding expectations. He knew Mr. Rappaport was an approachable guy. In the email he recommended that Chariot hire me, a recent college graduate with a background in web and print design. He knew I’d be a good addition to the company.

I headed in for an interview and got hired as assistant to the CMO, Tracey Welson-Rossman. My main objective was to restyle the company website, and I also worked on other sites hosted by Chariot Solutions. In addition, I created marketing materials for the company, everything from 2D designs on banners, creating email campaigns, and filming/editing videos. Finally the day came where the company website launched its new look. My main objective, the reason they hired me, had been completed…. well, now what?

This is the point where I expected to be let go, to find something else, find some other company needing basic web design updates, but that’s not how the story goes. Instead they asked, “What do you want to do?”, which I was certainly not expecting. I did what they needed. They didn’t have any reason to ask this question. But they did. If that’s not investing in your employees then I don’t know what is.

 

Emily Melendez, Software Consultant at Chariot Solutions

 

So now I had to think. “What do I want to do?”. Well, I decided to try learning programming. I sat down with some of the members in management and together we chartered a course on getting me started. In the beginning I was placed under the mentorship of Ken Rimple. Ken is the Director of Training at Chariot so he was an excellent teacher. He set up seed projects where I learned about basic data structures and in general how to think more like a programmer. From there I took his Introduction to Angular workshop. After a few months of training, I was assigned to a team developing an Angular web application where I could use my CSS and HTML skills, and applied what I learned by tackling some of the easier Typescript tasks and shadowing the other engineers.

As the project rolled forward I did more with Typescript, writing components, services, and directives. From the front end I moved deeper into the stack and wrote methods in Java and simple SQL scripts. I was even placed on the critical path as a UI developer and QA tester in some of the sprints. The team gave me exposure to a lot of the process around software development. We used tools like git, Bitbucket, and JIRA, and employed practices like daily standup meetings.

Recently, the project came to an end. I learned so much, like how to keep up with technologies like Angular, CSS, Material Design and Cypress, and make meaningful contributions to a project. . I never thought I would be in this arena. Chariot has provided me with an excellent start to my career. Now I am armed with more skills and experience to tackle the next software project that comes my way.