Ali worked as an Apprentice for over six months, gaining valuable on-the-job tech experience before he exited MAXX Potential to work at General Electric Corporation.
What were you doing before MAXX Potential? What drew you to pursue a career in technology?
Before MAXX, I was an event manager and the owner/operator of a catering solutions company I started as an undergraduate student while studying experimental psychology with a focus on behavior research and stats analysis.
What drew me into technology was an opportunity to revisit some passions I had since grade school, specifically building computers, understanding technology, and developing my casual programming hobbies into a full-time career.
I completed a software engineering bootcamp in April 2021, and in October 2021, I was hired by MAXX Potential.
Can you talk about what you’re currently working on? What are some of your job responsibilities?
When MAXX placed me at General Electric Corporation (GE) in December 2021, my team was in the beginning of the SDLC, planning a stack change of 14 APIs from their Java code to NodeJS.
Our goal was to rewrite the APIs, using best practices where possible and trying to replicate existing end user behavior. I was responsible for rewriting some of the smaller APIs by separating functionality into modular parts (controllers, services, servers, routers, etc), creating a Docker image of the projects for deployment, setting up our CI/CD pipelines, and testing.
My recent responsibilities have included setting up mutual TLS between our applications and external sources using Envoy service proxy.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your current role?
I am fortunate to work with experienced software developers, and I find it very rewarding to work together towards a common goal. That’s how I like to bring value to my team.
It feels good to assist my teammates with tasks, and on some occasions, teach them about technology and concepts I worked on while rewriting an API or setting up the security infrastructure of our pipelines.
How do you keep your skills up to date? What’s the best way to learn new concepts, technologies, programming languages, etc.?
GE sets bi-annual performance goals that help me keep my skills up to date. I set goals with realistic markers to keep me motivated to stay up to speed. For me, the best way to learn new technology and languages is to start building something with it.
In some respect, you have to dive right in because it’s only when you approach it hands-on that you get a sense of how these things work, and tutorials and classes can only take you so far. They’re certainly helpful, but the best thing to do is to make something with the technology you’re interested in.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to someone early in their IT career or looking to get their start?
Consistency and endurance pays off in the end. Stick with it. From the early days of the pandemic till I got hired at MAXX, there were plenty of moments where I felt like throwing in the towel because the material seemed too complicated to learn, or job hunting was incredibly demoralizing.
Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and even now at my job, there are still days where trying to figure out how things work at GE makes me feel like a “puny hu-mon.”
If you’re looking to get your start, remember to be kind to yourself and get comfortable with being in an “unknown space” a lot of the time. Building that muscle will help you endure.