Mindi Weik’s path from real estate to software engineering

After more than a decade in real estate, Mindi Weik was ready for a change. After taking a job in customer support at real estate software company, Sierra Interactive, she became increasingly interested in the software side of the business.

In 2022, she decided to enroll in our Intermediate Coding Bootcamp to become a software engineer. She accomplished her goal and is now a Software Engineer for the same company, where she fuses her real estate knowledge with her passion for problem-solving and software development.

Learn about Mindi’s journey to software engineering and what she’s enjoying most about her new career path (including an exciting side project she’s still working on with other Hack Reactor grads!).

How did you become interested in software engineering?

Just before COVID hit, I was reevaluating my career. I had been in real estate for a long time and it wasn’t really working out for me. So, I started looking around and I actually tried to self-teach [in coding] for a couple of years, but I just wasn’t grasping the content the way I wanted to.

Then in 2022, I did some more research and I was like, you know what? I need to do a bootcamp. I looked at some local places, I looked at some remote places, and ultimately I chose Hack Reactor because I knew several people who went through the program.

What did you get out of your time in the program?

One big thing I learned from the program was how to think about a project holistically and not just as a ticket that I have to solve. In the program, we were doing real-world work, and we’d have to consider the holistic view. I also learned how to break down a project into smaller pieces so that I could refocus and complete the little tasks that needed to be done to move things forward.

Plus, it’s hard to find a project you want to work on by yourself, so it was really nice to have a little bit of guidance in the program. That also models the real world, where on the job, you’ll be given projects that you need to work on.

What’s your current role?

I am a Software Engineer at Sierra Interactive. I’ve worked for them for about four years now, and they actually helped me transition into a technical role [after the bootcamp]. In my day-to-day, I’m building web APIs – specifically building a proxy, API service. It’s sort of an in-between layer to decouple our platform from a third-party vendor, which adds a layer of safety.

On the side, I work on Audition Cat, which was actually started by one of my Hack Reactor cohortmates who asked if I would come along for the ride. There are three of us from my cohort working together on this, plus a couple of outside folks, and I’ve learned a ton. Audition Cat is a CRM for acting and performing professionals, and I mostly work on the web API there, as well, but I also work a little more full stack and get my hands dirty since it’s such a small team. It’s been really fun, and we hope to deploy this summer.

What are you enjoying most about your role at Sierra Interactive? And what challenges have you faced?

What I’ve enjoyed most is learning TypeScript, which is a superset of JavaScript. It’s been fun and I really like the guardrails it provides; I always know what I’m going to get. My development speed has increased significantly, so picking up TypeScript and getting really good at it has probably been the most fun thing.

As far as challenges, I think as a career changer, it’s been especially hard starting from the bottom again. Because I’ve worked for this company for a long time, I actually have a lot of leeway and they bring me in on decisions and things like that, but at the same time, I just don’t have all of the technical knowledge yet. I’m still building it. So I’m kind of in a state where it can be hard to be patient with growing.

Speaking of being a career changer…are there any aspects of your former real estate career that have helped you with software engineering so far?
Yes, I’ve drawn from my real estate experience to be able to work with our customers directly. Because Sierra is a real estate software company, I’m able to bring a good sense of empathy for the customers and for how they use our software.

Prior to real estate, I worked as a program project manager for nonprofits, and I ran some small branches. A lot of those organizational skills, including putting programs together and thinking about all of the different aspects of a project or program, have also really helped me as a software engineer.

So although I’m relatively new to engineering, I’m really good at project management. I have to ask for advice on technical decisions, of course, but I actually do get to use a lot of my prior skills to lead different aspects of projects that I probably wouldn’t if I didn’t have that experience.

Do you have any advice for incoming bootcamp students?

I think pacing yourself and leaving space for fun is kind of big because the bootcamp is a lot of work. It’s a lot of time. So finding moments to enjoy yourself, whether it’s in the program or outside of the program was really big for me.

It’s also important to make sure that your support system is aware of just how hard this is going to be. I’m really grateful that my partner dug in and gave me so much space to be able to do this. It’s really nice to have someone there to back you up and help you celebrate at the end. So, my advice would be to have fun and make sure your support system is ready to go.

Anything else you’d want to share with readers?

I have gotten really involved in a local group, Women&TECH Colorado, and I would say that finding a local community post-bootcamp has been huge. I’ve enjoyed being able to connect with people, especially as a woman who’s underrepresented in tech.

I think finding connections not only helps your network for job hunting, but also, it’s just really nice to have people that I know I can talk to, especially because I work fully remotely, so It’s very important to have those in-person touchpoints. I’d encourage people to look into this sort of thing.


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