Hazuki Miyake

AGE: 29 
INTERESTS: Hiking, photography, and movies

Tell us more about where you are from and what you were doing before 42:

I am from Japan. While in college I mostly studied photography and film and I earned a degree in art and science. After university, I was doing marketing at an internet company in Japan. Four years ago I decided to quit my job in Japan and move to the Bay Area. I met this professor at UC Berkeley, so I started to work in a mechanical engineering lab. I was studying precision manufacturing there. The field was interesting to me but people I met in the Bay Area were mostly software engineers. Even from my previous job in Japan I was always working with developers. That sparked my interest in transitioning into this field, so that is how I ended up at 42. 

Did you have any programming experience before 42?

No, not at all.

How did you hear about 42?

So at the time when I was looking at coding schools, three-month boot camps were trending. I wasn’t sure I could become a good developer in three months, so I was looking for other options. I googled free coding schools and 42 Silicon Valley came up.

What did your friends and family think about your decision to attend 42?

Many of my friends, especially engineering friends, don’t believe a school like this exists. But my parents are happy I am doing what I want to do. Friends who aren’t engineers are supportive and think that it is cool that I am studying programming.

What was the piscine like?

I joined the January 2018 Piscine. The first week was really horrible, I didn’t know what text editor was, so I had a lot of trouble getting started. But then as I met some people and I started to understand what I had to do the piscine got so much better. Also maybe the second week started to get more fun because I realized that 42 has people from so many different backgrounds. Before I joined the piscine, because the program is free, I wasn’t sure what the people would be like. But there are so many smart and interesting people from all over the world.

What was it like when you received your post-piscine decision email?

I really wanted to come here, so I was really really happy about it. I told the professor I was working for that I was quitting my job.

How does the cadet program differ from the piscine?

So when I first started as a cadet I realized that being a cadet is more difficult than being in the piscine. During the piscine, I had a lot of people around me doing exactly the same thing, so I could push myself to try harder. In the cadet program if I wasn’t self-driving I wasn’t doing anything, so it was kind of hard for me to start. But as I got used to it I started liking it because I wasn’t self-motivated and now I am studying more than ever and I can push myself. Even on weekends, I am here studying, I like how I have changed during my time here so far. I am also involved with the AV team which has been a great experience.

How do you find help with your projects?

I ask people, especially the people around me. I try to use Google but sometimes for me it is hard to get an answer so I will ask my peers. There are always people who know the information I am looking for.

What do you like best about 42?

The people, I like all the people with different backgrounds from all over the world. I don’t have to feel inferior because my background was not in programming. And even people who are really good at coding don’t discriminate against you and are willing to help you.  

What is the most challenging aspect?

To stay motivated. Sometimes it can be difficult when I have a new project, depending on the project it can be hard for me to understand and get started. At the moment I may feel like I want to quit and go back to the dorm but instead, I push through and try.

What do you like to do in the Bay Area?

Hiking, because where I am from in Japan, if I want to go hiking I need to take a train for 90 minutes. It is also so crowded because we don’t have a lot of places to go hiking. But here, no matter where I go, there aren’t a lot of people. Nature is beautiful, so I love to go hiking around here. I like Marin County, across the Golden Gate bridge, because they have a lot of places to hike. You can see San Francisco from across the bay when it isn’t too cloudy or foggy.

What is your dream job?

My long term goal is to start a nonprofit that helps women, especially women in Japan.

From my own experiences, there are still issues in Japan when it comes to gender equality and access to reproductive healthcare. I had an internship at a Japanese company where the woman I worked for was the first board member of the company. That really inspired me especially when it comes to leadership. I want to make a positive difference as well.

Do you have a quote or saying that inspires you?

“When they go low, we go high.” -Michelle Obama

When someone does something to you, you may feel like doing something back. But it makes you feel so much better if you are the bigger person. I think it makes you grow-up and maybe the other person will grow as well.

Connect with Hazuki on LinkedIn

Photos by 42’s in-house photographer, Priscilla Vongdara

Interview by: Stacey Faucett