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How I Went From Intern to Microsoft Software Engineer in 3 Years

07/13/2023
6 minutes

Learning to code so that you can land a job in tech can feel daunting. That’s why we’re sharing inspiring stories from Codecademy’s community — to show how people like you (yes, you!) can embark on a learning journey and end up with a totally new career. We hope these stories serve as a reminder that there’s no single path to a more fulfilling work life.

Today’s story is from Jordan Guada, a 24-year-old Software Engineer I at Microsoft, living in Orlando, Florida. Read more stories from Codecademy learners here — and be sure to share your story here.

Why I chose to learn to code

“When I was younger I loved going online, playing games, and using the computer. However, I didn’t really choose to code until college. I’m a first-generation college student. My mom, my dad, my grandma — no one in my family went to college, just me. I was doing business administration at University of Central Florida during Covid, living in Miami with my parents. I had one of those ‘look in the mirror’ moments, where I realized this is not really for me. I thought maybe I should try to pivot and take this somewhere else. 

I decided to try Codecademy because there was an offer to get free Codecademy Pro. I had heard about it, and actually signed up before, but I had never tried it. So I was like, why not?”

How I made time to learn

“From 2020 to 2022, I did a lot. I kind of was like a robot for two years. I started just working on stuff and trying things out on Codecademy every single day. I was doing like three or four hours at a time. I would come back from grocery shopping, do a little bit at night. I formally switched my major to IT in June 2020.

I wanted to make sure I tried coding out before I pursued it in college, because once you’re locked into a major, you’ve got to do it. When I told my advisor I wanted to switch my major, she was like, ‘Hey, this is going to be a really big thing for you. You’re going to get set back a couple years.’ I was like, ‘I’m gonna do it.’ 

When I was learning Java and SQL in school, I went back to Codecademy to freshen up, because my professor moved a little too fast. I’d go back and learn it on Codecademy, and it gave me a really comfortable space to work on the basics. Taking Codecademy courses honestly made me feel more optimistic about what I was spending my time learning. I knew that I could get behind this topic. When I started learning concepts at school, I was more comfortable messing up, because Codecademy gave me the idea that you can keep trying over and over.”

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How long it took me to land a job

“After changing majors, I ended up working at a med tech startup as a Quality Assurance Tester. So I was writing little test scripts, which was fine, but I wanted to push myself more and become a software developer. Then in the summer of 2021, I got a remote software engineering internship at QVC/HSN. Software engineering gave me a platform: It was refreshing to be in a space where I’d be able to have my ideas actually be able to be implemented. They gave me a return offer, but I decided to keep looking.

I ended up joining a startup company with my friends, called Hayha. It’s a retail arbitrage bot that helps you buy high-commodity sneakers, like Jordans and Balenciagas. I was able to put that experience on my resume*. 

In July 2021, I applied to Microsoft and I thought, we’ll see. At the end of October on Halloween, that’s when I got the offer. I started in that summer 2022 as an intern on the Azure team.” 

* Looking for projects you can do to put on your resume? Check out our library of practice and portfolio coding projects.

How I got in the door

“I applied to 124 different places, and I got no callbacks. I was drained. I felt down and defeated. You always have to keep your head up, because sometimes the world is going to put you somewhere else. You have to manifest this type of thing. 

As an intern at Microsoft, I ended up working on a very big project with over 300 different teams at Azure. It was something that I never did before with HTML and CSS, but I was super comfortable working on it. I’m an extrovert and really am a team player. They said, Hey, we’re going to bring you back when you graduate. We want to offer you a full-time position here at Microsoft.” 

How I nailed the interview

“The interview process was unforgettable. The first interview call basically revolved around behavioral questions, like, How would you work on this? If this happened to you, can you explain the process you’d follow? The second interview they sit you down and do a coding interview. I went back to Codecademy so I could brush up on learning C#, which is Microsoft’s language. I thought: If I don’t know C# and they ask me a question about it,* I might not get the job. After that, hopefully you get the callback. 

I made it to the final round. There was a miscommunication about the meeting time, so they thought I missed the interview, which I didn’t! I was kind of panicking. But I ended up meeting with the Vice President of Azure, who interviewed me. It was crazy. We went through a technical interview. The thing I really like about interviewing at big companies is that they’re not really here to undermine you. If you’re stuck during the technical interview, but you know where you want to go with it, they’ll help you. They want to work with you.”

* Practicing answering technical interview questions is an excellent way to prepare for the real deal. Here are common C# questions that you might come across in a technical interview.

How I evaluated the offer

“They offered me the job and I honestly was like, I want to get more money. I leveraged my work ethic and diligence during the internship at Microsoft. I was able to then negotiate a sign-on bonus, which was pretty awesome. And then from there, I was able to ask for a remote position anywhere. My internship was fully remote, so I was like, Hey, I did the whole job remote. I think I could do any other job remotely. I had my foot down, and I was not going to sign the offer until my terms were met.”

What I wish I knew before I started learning

Building projects is the fastest way to wrap your mind around stuff. At some point, the coursework isn’t enough to teach you what you’ll do in the real field. Once you know how to make something, it’s easier to maintain code.  

Also, documentation is your friend, not your foe. I would be so scared of documentation, because it looked like this whole encyclopedia of information. But documentation really is a whole how-to guide on how to use it.”

Learn like Jordan

6 courses

Not sure where to start? Check out our personality quiz! We’ll help you find the best programming language to learn based on your strengths and interests.

Want to share your Codecademy learner story? Drop us a line here. And don’t forget to join the discussions in our community.

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