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Janice Alecha
Janice Alecha

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My Journey After Software Engineering Bootcamp: Finding My Dream Role in the Oil and Energy Industry

The Beginning: A Passion for Backend Development

When I first enrolled in the Software Engineering Bootcamp at Flatiron School, I was captivated by the intricacies of backend development. The thrill of designing robust databases, implementing secure authentication systems, and ensuring smooth authorization processes fascinated me. I relished every moment spent diving into these technical realms, honing skills that I hoped would define my future career.

Leveraging Past Experience: A Strategic Job Search
Before joining Flatiron School, I spent five years as a Data Administrator for the Catalog team within the Materials Management group. This role gave me a solid foundation in data handling, analysis, and management. As I neared the end of my bootcamp journey, I decided to capitalize on this experience. My goal was to find a position that merged my newfound backend skills with my data expertise.

The job market was tumultuous, with many tech professionals facing layoffs. However, I remained optimistic and strategic. I targeted roles that aligned with my strengths—database management, deployment, and data analysis. After six months of relentless searching, networking, and refining my applications, I finally landed a role that felt like a perfect fit.

The Opportunity: Product Specialist in one of the leading North American providers of midstream energy services to producers and consumers of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs), crude oil, refined products, and petrochemicals.

I was thrilled to accept a position as a Product Specialist within the Corrosion Prevention team of the Asset Integrity Engineering group. This role was everything I had envisioned for myself, combining technical challenges with meaningful impact. The job description resonated deeply with my skills and aspirations:

Developing and Deploying a Product Stream Quality Monitoring Program

My primary responsibility was to develop and deploy a comprehensive product stream quality monitoring (PSQM) program. This involved defining monitoring methods, establishing frequency, and managing data for gas transmission pipeline systems. The task allowed me to apply my backend development skills in a real-world setting, ensuring the integrity and safety of critical infrastructure.

Collaborating with Cross-Functional Teams

One of the most rewarding aspects of my role was collaborating with cross-functional teams. Together, we analyzed product stream conditions and identified potential threats to pipeline integrity. I provided technical support and recommendations, drawing on both my technical and interpersonal skills to facilitate effective communication and problem-solving.

Integrating New Assets and Maintaining Databases

As new assets are integrated into the PSQM Program, I will conduct thorough system reviews and maintain databases for tracking and analysis. This task is a perfect blend of my previous experience as a Data Administrator and the technical prowess I gained from Flatiron School. Additionally, I have used ArcGIS and Google Earth to identify pipelines and other critical infrastructure. I enjoy the meticulous nature of this work and find satisfaction in ensuring data accuracy and reliability. This role allows me to leverage my diverse skills and contribute meaningfully to the team's success.

Improving Industry-Standard Processes

Another key aspect of my job was improving industry-standard processes to identify and mitigate internal corrosion risks. I worked on establishing optimal flow conditions and tolerable contaminant levels, using data analysis to drive decisions that enhanced pipeline safety and efficiency.

Creating Intuitive Data Visualization Tools

As I continue to learn Python and data analytics with SQL, I am excited to delve deeper into data science and analytics. In my new role, I will have the opportunity to create intuitive Tibco Spotfire dashboards and analysis tools for the Corrosion Prevention teams. These tools will enable efficient data visualization and ensure compliance with gas transmission regulations. Designing these dashboards will be a fulfilling challenge, allowing me to apply my backend development skills while developing a keen eye for user-friendly interfaces. This opportunity has further fueled my passion for data science and analytics, and I am eager to expand my expertise in this dynamic field.

Reflecting on the Journey

Looking back, my journey from Flatiron School to my current role has been both challenging and rewarding. The skills I developed during the Software Engineering Bootcamp, coupled with my prior experience, positioned me well for this role. Despite the competitive job market, persistence and a clear strategy helped me find a job that I am passionate about and that leverages my full skill set.

This experience has taught me the value of perseverance and the importance of aligning your career with your passions and strengths. I am excited to continue growing in this field, contributing to vital projects that ensure the safety and integrity of our infrastructure.

For anyone embarking on a similar journey, my advice is simple: stay focused on your goals, leverage your unique skills, and never underestimate the power of strategic job searching. Your dream role might be just around the corner.

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