Claudia Maciel grew up in a small farming community in California and had dreams of exploring the world. She went to college full of enthusiasm and curiosity - eager to discover what she was most passionate and interested in. In her first year, she enrolled in an intro to computer programming course but was the only girl and the only Mexican in the entire class. Her professors were encouraging though and she loved the class. In fact, she was so great at it she decided to major in Computer Science!
But when she graduated from college and started going out onto interviews, she suddenly was back to that same place of feeling alone and as though she didn’t belong in the industry. She just didn’t feel as though she belonged. So instead, she decided to help others and to teach students about computer science and aviation.
Oh yeah, in college she also discovered a passion and aptitude for aviation and flying!
So that is what she went on to do for a long time - she was teaching at an after-school program as well at the local aviation school. And that’s when NASA approached her! With NASA, Claudia helped to empower children to get into STEM and push beyond societal boundaries. It was an incredible program, but ultimately, the fact that she was encouraging students to pursue these sorts of careers despite pursuing them herself became too glaring and she felt ready to break into the industry herself.
That’s when Claudia became a pilot for SkyWest Airlines. She was finally then able to travel, to leave her town, and see the world!
She loved it, but the traveling became too much for her family, and so with the confidence gained after joining the male-dominated industry of aviation, Claudia discovered she felt ready and able to enter the tech industry.
She discovered the Lambda School’s iOS program and dedicated herself to their program to dive int0 the world of native application development. And since recording the interview, Claudia has landed her first tech job as a mobile app developer at Jack Henry & Associates!
This episode is packed with advice and tips for those looking to break into tech. Claudia overcame fears of being the only woman or Latina in both aviation and tech. Today, she is an example for all young Latinas to never stop pursuing their dreams!
Claudia on Twitter @coder_pilot
Claudia on LinkedIn
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