Hack Reactor graduate Bryanna Valdivia was enrolled in a Computer Science master’s program before she quit, deciding instead to look into software engineering bootcamps. She graduated from Hack Reactor in 2021 and has since started a new job as a Support Engineer for Deliverr. In this Q&A, read about her bootcamp experience, what she’s doing in her current role, and what advice she has for others who are thinking about taking the bootcamp.
What initially drew you to software engineering? And what keeps you interested?
I originally studied Linguistics and loved its abstract puzzle solving. I heard about NLP and thought it was really cool, but I was also very intimidated by the tech field. Machine learning eventually lured me in (check out this OpenAI video), but the ability to command a virtual realm to impact the physical world keeps me invested.
You started a master’s degree in computer science but then decided to take the bootcamp instead. Why was that?
I basically finished the undergrad prerequisites and quit to do Hack Reactor! I felt like I wasn’t actually learning enough in the program (granted, I was also working a full-time job to pay for it). I felt stuck and slow and still didn’t have an idea of what being a software engineer really looked or felt like. The bootcamp allowed me to build applicable skills quickly and gain confidence backed by a powerful network!
What led you to enroll in the Hack Reactor program specifically, and what did you get out of your time in the bootcamp?
I heard about Hack Reactor years ago from a friend, and my fiancé, who is a Silicon Valley tech founder, heard about Hack Reactor from his top engineers. I chose Hack Reactor because I saw how strong its reputation was. I gained confidence, new friends (some who are now also coworkers), and I got accustomed to what it’s like to be a software engineer day in and day out.
You’ve been at Deliverr for 4 months now. What is your role there? What do you work on on a daily basis?
I’m a support engineer on the warehouse and inventory engineering team (backend). I investigate and fix operationally detrimental issues in our services and improve processes. I also now have development work each sprint, where I actually impact how other teams use our service!
What do you like about your role? What challenges have you faced so far?
The pay is AMAZING, my team is supportive, and I’ve never been this challenged in a role before (which I like!). My biggest challenge has been calibrating when to get help - how deep in the problem do I need to go until I ask for help? Taking too much time on one investigation isn’t actually always helpful.
What’s your work environment like? Do you work on-site? Remotely?
I work fully remote with the option to go into the office, which I love! The office is very startup-like and in San Francisco (there are other offices in Chicago and Toronto, too). I have team members all over the place, but we still schedule social time and hold meetings at reasonable times for all. People at Deliverr who aren’t on my team regularly connect with me virtually and even in person.
Do you have any advice for someone who’s about to start their first day of the bootcamp? How can they get the most out of their experience?
I would tell them to buckle up! :) This opportunity is truly special, but like everything, it’s also what you make of it. Be open, receptive, and importantly, kind to yourself! If you can learn to maintain / find balance during Hack Reactor, you’ll be well prepared for the job hunt and your new career!
Want to check out another alumni story? Read about Joyce Ma's role as a Software Engineer at Twilio, a company specializing in programmable communication tools using its web service APIs.