Sepideh Homami

AGE: 28
INTERESTS: I am passionate about making games. I am into sports, swimming, kayaking, outdoor activities and anything that is adventurous.

Tell us more about where you are from and what shaped you:

I am originally from Iran and I immigrated to the U.S. 7 years ago. When I was growing up, not only was I into gaming but I was also the one who always broke stuff on my computer so I could fix it again. I didn’t know about programming, but I always was interested in computers and how they work. For 5 years I was on the national swimming team for Iran, and after that, I switched to the national kayaking team so I could participate in the world championships. Now I am an international official, I judge Canoe and Kayak competitions in the U.S. and internationally. Recently I got selected to judge the 2019 Pan-American Games, I am so happy to attend. This event is one of the biggest games after the Olympic Games and it happens the year before the Olympic Games. 

When I immigrated to the U.S. I had to go back to school because I was three years into a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Azad University of Tehran and we had to leave before I completed the program. Then I discovered I had to retake a lot of classes and start over from college because I was not able to transfer all the credits I had before. I completed all of those courses while working 2-3 part-time jobs along with being a full-time student. Eventually I got my bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from California State University at Long Beach.

What did you do before 42?

While I was in school and after graduating I was doing IT jobs. After graduation, I got a job at my dream childhood company, PlayStation, but I realized during my six-month internship I didn’t want to do IT. I realized I wanted to go into coding and was trying to learn by myself but it wasn’t easy. So I started doing research on schools and boot camps, and that is how I found 42. I knew my education wasn’t enough, I had done some programming classes but it was very basic. I decided to try 42 and do the piscine.

Did you have any programming experience before 42?

While I was trying to teach myself how to code, I was mostly getting to learn HTML and CSS but that is about it.

What did you like best about your 42 experience?

First of all, I would say this experience was so unique. I’m really into sports and my personality needed that type of competitive challenge. I would go into the lab to compete with myself and with the deadline that I had to finish. I really liked the challenge and the self-improvement aspect. Also learning from each other, I made a lot of great friends at 42.

Is there anything that you do now at work that you don’t think would come as easily if you hadn’t attended 42?

Honestly yes, what I am doing now is web related but attending 42 helped me realize I want to stay in programming and be in this type of environment. The programming knowledge I gained from 42 helps me do my job and will help me in the future because I want to get into gaming.

How did you get your foot in the door where you work?

I had been applying online to many different jobs and it wasn’t easy. With Ultra Mobile I had to pass seven interviews to get here, and the process took 3.5 months. I had to go through three phone interviews, one online interview, and I went to three in-person interviews. I am in the middle of two teams, engineering, and econ/engineering, so that may be why the process was so lengthy.

Describe what you do at Ultra Mobile:

We have a ticketing system where every week we go through and assign tickets to each person. There is an option to say what type of projects interest you, but other than that you have to complete a certain amount of tickets each week. I mostly code all day long but the best part is that I have freedom with the designs I get to do. That gives me time to research and read about it and learn about something else so I can offer it to my team.

What does your typical workday look like?

I have the freedom if I want to go into work later, but every morning we have a standup meeting at 9:30 am so I try to get there by 9 am. If I stay late the night before I do the standup from home. I usually finish working by 6 pm or 7 pm but it depends on what is going on that day.

Would you recommend the 42 program and if so, why?

Of course, there are a couple of reasons. The main reason isn’t just the knowledge you get but also the experience you get at 42. The way the curriculum is designed so you have to learn how to learn is a skill that I think everyone should have. At 42, there is no instructor to give you the answer so you have to look for it yourself. It is great to learn how to ask your peers when you get stuck, but it is also a good skill to know what to look for by yourself to solve an issue.  

Do you have any advice for 42 students when it comes to securing an internship or job?

Yes, my advice would be to not give up on job hunting. All the hard work will pay off one day just keep going.  I was so close to giving up, the process is not easy. There are a lot of companies and opportunities but there are also a lot of applicants who are applying. Don’t give up and keep on learning while you are applying because the interviews can be long and tricky. Get ready, keep coding, stay sharp, and you got this.

Connect with Sepideh on LinkedIn

First photo by 42’s in-house photographer. Second and third photos provided by Sepideh Homami.

Interview by: Stacey Faucett