After 10 years of service in the U.S. Navy, Meka James began preparing for a career change. She spoke with her Navy career counselor about her desire to learn software engineering, and the conversation led her to our Operation Level Up coding program for transitioning service members. Meka is now a Software Engineer Intern at Intrusion, a company working to eradicate cybercrime.
Below, read a Q&A with Meka about her Operation Level Up experience, and what she’s doing now at Intrusion. Plus, be sure to check out her four-part advice for others considering a coding program.
After many years in the Navy, what drew you to software engineering?
What drew me to software engineering is the ability to create complex systems that can automate tasks, process data, and solve problems. Software engineering can significantly impact society, from improving healthcare to advancing scientific research.
What led you to enroll in Operation Level Up?
I spoke with my Navy career counselor about my interest in becoming a software engineer after leaving the Navy, and they recommended I contact Transition Overwatch. Transition Overwatch enrolled me in the Galvanize program.
And what did you get out of your time in the program?
Congrats on your role at Intrusion! What do you do there?
I am a Software Engineer Intern. I am learning new programming languages and completing projects with various libraries, programming languages, and databases with a team of mentors.
What do you like about your role? And what challenges have you faced so far?
What I like is that it promotes a safe environment to grow, learn, and try new ideas. As for challenges, programming with a variety of programming languages can get confusing.
Do you work on-site, remotely, etc? And how’s that going for you?
I work remotely. Everything is going great. My schedule allows me to be there for my family when needed.
Are there elements of your experience in the Navy that you can use in software engineering?
Problem-solving and cross-functional teamwork are two skills I developed in the Navy and can be used as a software engineer.
Do you have any advice for incoming students about to start Operation Level Up?
Set goals: Setting specific, measurable, and achievable goals can help you stay focused and motivated throughout the program. Take the time to identify what you want to achieve academically, professionally, and personally during your time in the program, and create a plan to make it happen.
Seek support: Operation Level Up can be challenging, and it’s essential to seek help when needed. Use the resources available, such as your peers, the Software Engineering Immersive Residents (similar to teaching assistants), and the instructors.
Network: Networking is an essential part of building a successful career. Take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Operation Level Up program to meet professionals in this field and start building relationships with them.
Have fun: Finally, remember to have fun! This can be a challenging program but also an exciting time in your life. Take the time to enjoy the experience and make the most of it.