Hack Reactor graduate Doruk Gurleyen spent years studying and working in hospitality before he decided to switch careers in order to follow his passion for computers and problem solving. After graduating from our 12-week online coding bootcamp, he’s now a Software Engineer at Divvy, where he works on a range of projects to innovate and improve upon the company’s core offering: expense management software for small to mid-sized companies.
We recently caught up with Doruk to ask how his new career and new job are going, how the bootcamp prepared him for the industry (and provided him with a useful superpower), and more.
How did you become interested in software engineering? And what keeps you interested?
I grew up with computers, and I was always astonished by them and all the possibilities they brought to our lives. I love so many things about software engineering. I like taking on a challenge, identifying what needs to be done, finding solutions to get things done, and then being proud of the results. It’s the whole process of building an application that solves somebody's problem. That feeling is great.
What led you to Hack Reactor?
I always had my interest in computers and building websites, but for my professional career, I at first went into the tourism and hospitality area. I'm really grateful for it, and I had a lot of fun learning about hospitality, but at some point, I just decided that I wasn't really passionate about it. I needed to change my direction.
I did a lot of research and I decided that Hack Reactor would be my next step. I'm really happy that I was able to make the right decision at the right time. I needed something official, like this program, because not having a tech degree meant that doors weren’t always going to open for me otherwise.
How was the bootcamp experience for you? What did you get out of your time in the program?
First of all, I gained so much confidence when I was at Hack Reactor, because you don't really know what you need to know until you get deeper into it. In my cohort, I became one of the people who others could go to to ask questions about certain stuff, and it really made me feel great.
Before the program, some of the advanced software concepts seemed like magic to me. Once I got down to the root of the material, I felt like I gained the superpower to build whatever I want. And I now have the ability to look at the challenge, learn about something, and just make it happen. The most important thing I got out of the program is being able to find my way and figuring out how to get the job done.
I felt like I gained the superpower to build whatever I want. The most important thing I got out of the program is being able to find my way and figuring out how to get the job done.
You're now at Divvy. Can you share a bit about the company and what you do there?
At Divvy, we provide credit lines and expense management software to small and medium-sized businesses. We're part of Bill.com now, and we're an all-in-one platform for financial operations.
It's an amazing place to be for a software engineer. We work with recent tech, and we work with great systems. So far, I’ve done about 90% backend work and about 10% frontend and other areas. We're all encouraged to work on any part of the stack without any limitation.
I’ve worked on a lot of different projects. I’ve worked on an encryption and decryption app, which later became its own library used by the whole organization. I built an app that automates things like driver's license verification, which was previously done manually. I’ve contributed to some open source software, where we solved some problems for our tech stack community. In the first three months, I contributed to more than 10 repositories within the organization. It’s been great to see how much I’ve been able to do so far.
What are the things you enjoy most about the job? And what are some challenges you’ve faced so far?
I really love how my company supports our growth. We have access to so many resources, from self-learning to mental health support. My manager checks on me regularly. He does everything in his power to ensure I am feeling one hundred percent.
I really enjoy working with my team. They’re very supportive, great people. I got promoted within six months at the company, and it wouldn't have been possible if I didn't have such a great team around me.
I also like that we’re now part of Bill.com and that we're building something we're proud of. We’re helping small and medium-sized businesses, and I think it's important.
I feel challenged because I get to work on something new every day. It helps me not get bored and helps me to grow at a good rate. At this job, there's a lot to be challenged by, and I think it's a great thing.
Is there anything from your time studying and working in hospitality that you can use in your new career as a software engineer?
Yes, in hospitality, you learn a lot about managing relationships. One of the most important skills that I learned was how to find what motivates each individual and how to make that a part of my daily interactions with them as a leader.
I also learned how to teach by asking the right questions. You get better at these skills over time, and I think they’re transferable. Wherever you go, they help a lot, and that goes for software engineering as well.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking about enrolling in a bootcamp? And if they go for it, do you have advice for how they can make the most of their experience?
If you’re passionate about software engineering, and if you can make sure of that, I would definitely recommend them to take the program. Before I applied, I tried to think about my interests. It’s good to think, have you ever programmed a hobby project? Ever automated part of your job by creating some clever Excel sheets? Do your friends come to you with computer-related questions? These are all positive signs to determine your passion for the field. And if you have a passion for it, then I would say go for it.
As far as during the program, I recommend everybody to get prepared to work with others. I saw that a lot of students maybe didn’t expect it as much, but you’re working with other people a lot. As humans, we need to work together to tell computers to work in a certain way. If we don't communicate well and work together, then we can't expect software to be great. Companies, including my company, value this type of collaboration a lot
Also, remember that you’re preparing for a real-life job. Trust how significant the expectations are and do your best to go beyond them. Basically, trust the system. Hack Reactor wants you to get good jobs. It works for them, it works for you. It works for everyone.
Interested in changing careers and becoming a software engineer, too? Learn about our bootcamp offerings here, including their similarities and differences.