Bloc Student Spotlight: From stay-at-home mom to Jr. Software Engineer at Orca Health


Emiko is a current Bloc student and Girl Develop It Scholarship winner. She recently landed a job as a Jr. Software Engineer at Orca Health. Previous to Bloc, Emiko was a stay-at-home mom. We asked her a few questions about her Bloc experience.

Bloc: What were you doing before Bloc?
Emiko: I was a stay-at-home mom, trying to learn coding on my own for a while.

Bloc: Why did you end up taking Bloc?
Emiko: As my son was nearing the age to enter school, I began thinking about going back to work. I wanted a career that I would be excited and passionate about, and becoming a programmer felt right since it was something that I was really interested in and had wanted to learn for a long time.

I started to take various online coding classes, and though they gave me a good introduction, I wanted to learn more. I looked into different bootcamps, but I felt that for me personally, I would need much longer than a few months to be ready for a job. When I came across Bloc’s Software Engineering Track*, I knew immediately that the program would help form a solid foundation to start a new career as a software engineer. Also seeing words like “Data Structures” or “Algorithms” in the curriculum excited me, so I took it as a sign that I had enough “nerdiness” in me to take on this challenge.

*currently Software Developer Track

Bloc: How did taking Bloc change your life?
Emiko: I can say with confidence that Bloc has changed my life in a very exciting way. I’m still going through Bloc’s program and very much a junior in my skills at this point, but I have been able to start a new career in the tech field. Now I’m a part of the Rails team at my company, and I have been learning so much from other developers. It feels like a dream everyday.

I really hope that I can grow as a software developer and would someday be able to help others who are learning to program, especially women in Japan where I’m originally from. Bloc has given me an ability to dream again!

Bloc:What advice would you give to other Bloc students that are currently looking for a job?
Emiko: I believe that there are many ways to be successful in job hunting, and I want to tell anyone who is looking for a job to try not to feel bad when you can’t do everything that is suggested. There was so much more that I wanted to do, but we only have 24 hour a day (and we all need our beauty sleep… or some sleep 😉 so I decided to focus on the things that I felt were more important and I could feel excited about.

The biggest thing for me was to get to know other developers in my area. I joined the local Ruby user group, and started going to their meet-ups since I enjoy hearing other developers’ stories. At the last meet-up that I went to, I met my boss and the opportunity for an interview came directly from that meeting. He was a presenter that night, and getting to know him before interviewing gave me confidence that he was someone that I wanted to work for, and I became genuinely excited about the opportunity.

I also joined the Ruby group’s Slack team, and participated in coding challenges in the beginner’s channel. My solutions weren’t always good, and I probably embarrassed myself more than a few times, but what I came to realize later on was that there were people who valued my participation. At my new job, I now work with one of the developers who have helped me with those challenges!

I really hope that every Bloc student who is looking for a job will be successful. When things don’t go well, we are never alone. There are many people who can understand our frustrations. Let’s share our journey, sometimes vent to one another, and keep moving forward!


Want to learn more about  becoming a web developer or designer? Register for a free online info session here.

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