#103: Madelyn Tavarez – How a Part-time Bootcamp Helped her Become an Android Engineer

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Our guest on the podcast has a remarkable story.

Madelyn Tavarez did a part-time bootcamp, while holding a full-time job.

She taught herself how to code.

And became a software engineer at Pinterest now building products for hundreds of millions of people.

She is also a Dominican Republic-native who grew up in Washington Heights and due to her own drive and curiosity was able to change her circumstance.

Her senior year of college she went from being a bartender to an “eat, pray, love” moment which took her to Italy. Which eventually played a big role in Madelyn deciding to teach herself how to code.

Fast-forward to today, she works as an Android engineer at Pinterest. She also continues to get actively involved in different community projects, including the TECHNOLOchicas among others.If you are interested in trying out Lambda’s free 2-week web development course, you can check it out here!

Lives In: San Francisco, CA
Current Job Android Engineer at Pinterest
Date Recorded 8/28/2018

Show Notes:

[01:30] A brief overview of Pinterest and her role as Android engineer at Pinterest. Maddey paints a picture of how huge Pinterest is (talk about 1700 employees and 600 engineers!)

[05:00] Pinterest offers an apprenticeship program for people with nontraditional tech backgrounds where she was one of their pioneering group.

[07:10] Maddey describes Washington Heights as a “little Dominican Republic,” their neighborhood, her experience growing up, her role models, and education.

[13:00] Still in college and $5,000 in debt, Maddey believes in the power of thought. She got a bartending job in Manhattan and flew to Italy for her eat-pray-love moment.

[16:00] Maddey describes life in the Dominican Republic, her “eat, pray, love” moment in Italy, and her aha! moment in Istanbul that sparked her interest in coding.

[21:47] She learned to code for the first time, practicing her skills on Myspace, customizing things; then she went on taking other coding classes online.

[25:30] While working in Public Relations after graduating, she eventually got into a fellowship program called Coalition for Queens and began teaching to kids.

[34:02] The job search experience: Maddy touches on the power of asking for feedback. Quick tip: Find out what’s going to happen in the interview ahead of the time.

[40:50] She found another opportunity in Boston; but 6-8 weeks into Boston, Pinterest called her.

[46:45] Maddy describes getting support from her mom throughout this whole journey. Meanwhile, she describes their part-time to full-time (one-year apprenticeship) conversion at Pinterest.

[50:00] Maddie talks about her various community involvement and projects including TECHNOLOchicas

[56:40] Maddy’s advice to people interested in breaking into tech: Do it! And don’t compare yourself with anyone.

Contact Info:

Madelyn Tavarez

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/madelyntavarez/

Twitter: @Maddey_Tv

Articles & Mentioned Resources:

Learning Resources




Coalition for Queens Access Code



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