Hey there, my name is Rachelle (ra-shell, not Rachel). I’m a software engineer at Atlassian and am based in Sydney. I was born and bred here but spent 6.5 years living in Seattle until I moved back with my family in 2020.
Prior to my stint in the Pacific Northwest, I was a primary school teacher (elementary teacher for my American friends) for almost 10 years. I taught all grades from K-6 and took on leadership roles during an 8-year period in Australia, then picked up teaching again in the US when I first moved there. I’d known for sometime that I didn’t want to be a teacher #forlife but had no idea what else I wanted to do. What else does one do with a Bachelor in Education then educate?
When I taught in Seattle, I worked with a class of highly capable students and was forever looking for additional resources for my students who would clearly be smarter than me by the time they hit middle school. I discovered Khan Academy and encouraged my students to pick up the math tasks I assigned them if they were looking for extra homework. Before long, I realized Khan Academy also had coding lessons so, because it was something that had intrigued me in the past, I started playing around with the lessons and was instantly hooked. Yes, something that is targeted at children is what made me decide to pursue a career in software engineering.
From Khan Academy I moved to Pluralsight, built the first version of my website, and found that all I could think about during the day is getting home so I could code. Within months I knew I’d found the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I started researching coding bootcamps, settled on Galvanize, applied, got in, and retired from teaching.
My 6 months at Galvanize was a grueling but rewarding time. I graduated in January 2017 and instantly ran back to Australia to see my family before beginning the job hunt. While I was there I got a call from the CTO of a startup called Migo telling me he had heard good things from my instructors (Galvanize runs classes and rents spaces to startups) and wanted to interview me when I got back. I interviewed a few days after returning to Seattle and got the job, officially making myself the first graduate from my class to obtain a full-time position.
After a couple of years at Migo I worked at Nordstrom, where I remained until we packed up to move back to Sydney. Once back here I landed a position at Atlassian, which is where I am currently working (and loooooooving).
My career change from teacher to software engineer was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve learned so much since joining this industry and love that there is always more to learn.
Feel free to reach out in the comments section below. :)...