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Interview with Featured Junior Developer, Mariza 'Maru' Pereira 500 500 Jr.DevJobs Hunter Meyer Co-Founder & CEO Twitter LinkedIn CrunchBase Facebook Jr.DevJobs 2024 09/2016 en-US true Mariza 'Maru' Pereira, Junior, Featured, Developers, Interview
Mariza 'Maru' Pereira Picture

Mariza 'Maru' Pereira

Featured Interview
Hi Maru, give us your elevator pitch

I’m a keen observer & lover of people who wants to translate my understanding of human connection into code.

What got you interested in learning to code?

I came to code from the opposite direction of the “traditional” path to code: I’ve spent a lot of time working with youth, non-profit and social service agencies from ranging from settings like summer camps in Boston to a psychiatric hospital in Atlanta, an Indigenous Reservation in the Costa Rican rain forrest to community centers in the Bay Area.

In the Bay, it became particularly obvious that one, I really enjoy coding and two, that coding is an extremely powerful tool set, capable of bringing joy and enhanced quality of life in yet unimagined ways. Its potential is limitless and I am enjoying this process of endless learning in code and capitalizing on its potential.

But what really did it for me? That pivotal moment? I saw a Codecademy ad on youtube with Will.I.Am calling programmers the ‘rockstars’ of today, haha. I immediately got on Codecademy.

Which languages or technologies do you feel most comfortable with and which do you intend to learn?

Right now, I feel most comfortable with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Bootstrap. I also really enjoy Python and a bit of Ruby that I learned. Currently, working on developing my AngularJS. Things I want to learn? EVERYTHING! Really, though I want to round out my skills toward full stack development by picking up C language (still widely used a foundational language) Node.JS, an RDBMS or two like MySQL, Sass (if you’ve tried converting a psd from scratch you and had a love-hate relationship with CSS, you understand the miracle that is Sass), PHP, Apache. There are so, so many more though. And that’s one of the main reasons programming is a good fit for me: I’ll never stop learning new skills.

You went to the Codify Academy bootcamp, what was that like?

Codify Academy was tough but worth it. Like with anything in life (especially physical training bootcamps!) a coding bootcamp is a lot of hard work. No shortcuts, no magic tricks, just putting in the hours of work. Like with a physical bootcamp where you work out and atrophy your muscles in order to make them stronger, in a bootcamp setting like Codify, you work your “frustration muscles” as Codify mentors like to say.

Ultimately though, you work through frustration and what seems like a “dead end” by taking a break and coming back to the work. You realize there is always an answer somewhere in the code and so, you learn to have confidence in your dev tools, debugging skills and you develop a strong sense of patience and persistence. An ability to reframe problems, look at things from a new angle and solve problems that were impossible an hour ago. It can a very zen-like process, actually once you get used to it. And it can really inform how you start approaching obstacles that appear in your life, in general.

Do you have any projects or code samples you're particularly proud of?

I actually really like how my portfolio website turned out. I used a bootstrap theme and changed it considerably - the layout, the design, the CSS, some JS and added a JQuery plugin. Like with writers, programmers are never “done” with a project. We just learn to put it down, haha. I’ll probably pick this one back up and add a couple more things over the next few months.

I see you're a web developer, what changes do you think this field will undergo in the next year or two?

Before learning front end, I had no idea just how vast is the amount of open source projects on the web, and therefore how a lot of front end is building on top of what is already out there.

In the 80’s/90’s kids replicated code in magazines to build their own games in order to be able to play them on the classic Macintosh. Later, all it took was popping in a cd and clicking on some buttons to get started. Today, it’s on cloud and accessible on mobile devices. I think code is going in a similar direction - maybe not a change that will form in the next two years, but I think there is a tendency to write less or a minimum of CSS, for instance and more and more SaSS or some form of JavaScript like JQuery, given how powerful and dynamic it is.

I think the tendency is to keep building atop more “rudimentary” languages like CSS (sorry, CSS lovers. I respect you. You are precious unicorns, after all.) and focus more on dynamic languages, especially ones with asynchronous capability like AngularJS as well optimizing the connections between back end, front end, server-side code and cyber security. Optimizing these connections improves loading time and user experience, over all. In short, the tendency is toward valuing what Cisco calls the “Internet of Everything”.

Outside of coding, what are some of your hobbies and interests?

Reading, photography, music (drumming, guitar playing, singing), anything outdoors including hiking, kayaking. Cooking is definitely a fun, therapeutic activity for me an traveling, too.

What advice do you have for folks considering becoming a developer?

Try it out! Try some free courses, first on Coursera or Codecademy, Khan Academy or the tutorials on W3Schools are pretty great. There are a ton more, if you are willing to do some Googling. At first (like the first 6 months), focus less on whether ‘you’re good at it’ and focus more on how excited you are to finally get a program to work and do what you intend it to. If it feels right, then just keep at it. Patience and persistence together are magical and will turn you into a real-life Yoda-like Jedi master.