From working with software engineers to becoming a software engineer

A few years ago, Adjoa Reeves was working in finance for She started to take note of what the software engineers were up to, and how their work seemed to steer so much of what the company was able to accomplish. Over time, her curiosity turned into a desire to become a software engineer herself.

To do so, Adjoa applied to our Intermediate Coding Bootcamp and enrolled after receiving a full-tuition Galvanize Scholarship. Now, she’s working at Blend, a financial services software company, where she started as an apprentice and worked her way into her current role as Software Engineer. In this Q&A, read about Adjoa’s career journey at Blend, her time in the bootcamp, and the advice she has for incoming students.

What drew you to software engineering?

Before I became an engineer, I was working at on the retail side, and not specifically with the software engineering product managers. The interfaced with them if I had to file tickets for things on our site that were causing issues, or sometimes, the product managers for internal tools would reach out to us to ask us for feedback on a certain product.

So I saw the engineering side of things through that lens, and I really liked learning more about the tools that I was working with on a daily basis. I was interested in looking at how they were getting built and then how the engineers were working through solving some of the issues that could arise as a result of people using tools or interfaces in ways that maybe they didn’t expect.

I was interested in that whole process of problem-solving, debugging, and understanding more about how things were being built. That got me interested in enrolling in a coding bootcamp, because I was just trying to figure out what was the best way to learn what I needed to know in the time frame I was looking to learn it. There was somebody at who went to Hack Reactor and became a software engineer, so I was really interested in his journey.

Did receiving a scholarship to the bootcamp impact your overall learning experience?

Financially, because I had the scholarship, I felt a positive impact, especially coming from the world of higher education and student loans. I didn’t have to worry about adding more debt. I didn’t have to worry, coming out of the bootcamp, about how I was going to pay back loans. All I really had to do was graduate and then find a job.

You utilized resources provided through our Telegraph Track. How was that experience for you?

I learned about Telegraph Track once I’d started the bootcamp. At the time, I utilized it to find a mentor within the track, as well as took advantage of an opportunity to shadow a company. I also attended some of their talks and events.

It was a really good opportunity for me to learn from other engineers who were already in the space, trying to figure out where I fit in, based on what interested me. For me, the main benefit of Telegraph Track was that it was a way to get connected to engineers that I wouldn’t normally run into as a bootcamp student or new graduate.

What’s your role at Blend? And what kinds of projects do you work on?

I’m a Software Engineer at Blend. The team I work on is primarily focused on the backend. Currently, I’m working on features within the service to enhance our customer experience, because traditionally, the service that I work on was very regulated.

So there were only certain things customers could do, but now we want to make it more flexible for them to pick and choose what they want to do, but we still have to have some regulations in mind.

You come from a business and finance background. Is there anything from that previous experience that you’ve been able to carry over into software engineering?

I think mainly communication skills. From that experience, I know how to communicate ideas and get people on the same page about something, especially since, within business, numbers are important, but it’s also about how you tell the story and how you can connect the data.

It helps a lot in software engineering because, if I’m building something, I can communicate what I’m building as concisely as possible. And I can help people make important connections about what I’m building and how it’ll impact the project or business.

How was the job search process for you? Were you able to use any strategies that you learned from Career Services?

Career Services definitely helped me in terms of resume review and figuring out how to find opportunities. Once I finished the program, I stayed on for three months as a Galvanize Software Engineering Immersive Resident (SEIR). Then immediately after that, I ended up getting a job as an apprentice at Blend.

After the bootcamp, I was mainly looking for apprenticeship roles, and Blend was one of the first ones I applied to. I think for me, the strategy I used was targeting roles that I felt very comfortable jumping into. I wanted an environment in which the company knew I was there to learn, as opposed to coming in as an engineer. Regardless, if you’re new, they expect you to learn on the job, of course, but I wanted to come in as an apprentice. That was my preference.

Since being at Blend, I’ve gone from apprentice to Software Engineer II to now, Software Engineer III. I’m going on a journey within the company, which is what I wanted. I’ve been given added responsibilities with added knowledge and skills as I go, and I’m always learning.

Do you have any advice for incoming students who are about to start the bootcamp? How can they get the most out of their time?

Be ready to jump in a hundred percent to what you’re doing. Keep your goals in mind, and continue to do the work, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re getting to where you need to be.

And definitely take time, especially during the bootcamp, to recharge, and carry that through your career, too. Figure out how to build recharging into your life, because that will definitely help you to avoid burning out.


Adjoa graduated from our Intermediate Coding Bootcamp. To read about a graduate of our Beginner Coding Bootcamp, check out Cise Babatasi’s story to learn how she transitioned from the art world to software engineering.