Valeriia Muradian

AGE: 24
INTERESTS: I like video games, but I don’t have time to play right now. I am mostly coding right now because it takes a lot of time.

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

I’m from Ukraine and moved to the U.S. five years ago. Because a war started in my country I got refugee status. I have lived in New York, North Carolina, and Ohio. At the time I was working as a bartender, I started to learn how to code just for fun. So I picked up a few books and took a few courses, I was interested in learning Swift.  

In Ukraine, my mom was a big educator in music, art,  and books. I studied violin, but I just wanted to be a kid and play outside. I finished art school, I can see the results of it now because I really like designing stuff. Whenever I design anything, even C projects, I just like to make it look better.

What did you do before 42?

I was living in Cleveland, Ohio at the time, working as a bartender and babysitting. Also, I was traveling a lot.

Did you have any programming experience before 42?

A little bit, it was a year of self-education, it wasn’t really structural. I struggled during my piscine a lot, but it definitely helped. I thought I knew something before I came to 42 but I really didn’t, I didn’t have the basis of understanding.

How did you hear about 42?

One of my friends. I was talking with her and she told me about this free coding school in Silicon Valley. At first, I thought it was a joke. So I googled free schools in Silicon Valley and found 42. I didn’t know anyone who attended and wasn’t sure about it but it was a big surprise.

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

My parents were really happy because when I moved to the U.S. I left my university. They were disappointed that I didn’t finish my education and didn’t go to work in a 9 to 5 office job. They both worked in airports and wanted me to work with them but I didn’t want to. When I got to the U.S. I wasn’t eager to go back to a traditional university. But when I told my parents about 42 they were excited, they are my biggest supporters. I show them my work and they don’t understand it but they are supportive.

What was the piscine like?

It was really challenging. For the first few days, I was ready to give up, but I met some really cool people here and they were like, “it was hard for me too but it will get better.” But it didn’t get better, so I just mostly studied for the exams and tried to pass the exams. When I went back to Ohio for a month after the piscine I reviewed the piscine all over again and it became more clear.

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

I was really excited. I was at work, and they wanted to make me a manager. So I got the email and I was like finally, I can quit. And another manager said, “Come on, you can become a manager” and I said, “No, it’s fine, I’m moving to California.”

How does the cadet program differ from the piscine?

You have a lot of free time, and it is pretty hard to push yourself, you need to get used to it. During the piscine, you have a lot of deadlines, but as a cadet, you don’t have the deadlines. I saw some people lose motivation if they don’t push themselves. I try to take all of the piscines they offer because during those weeks you learn more and I like the teamwork and working with people on the same projects.

How do you find help with your projects?

I do have a lot of friends who have finished a lot of projects already, they have been here longer than me. I have been working on Camagru, it is like baby Instagram. So I just posted on Slack that I really needed help, and maybe 5 or more people sent me a DM or replied in a thread and asked, “Where are you sitting?” and said they would come and help me. I spent 2 days on the problem, and in 2 minutes a guy helped me.

What are some cool tech events you have been able to participate in?

I have been an ambassador, but don’t have time now as the head RA. But we went to Startup Grind and there were a lot of cool speakers. When I was an ambassador I was trying to participate in a lot of events.  I also participated in the Filemaker program last month, and now I have job interviews with Filemaker Businesses.

What do you like best about 42?

The community, definitely because we are all in it together. We live together, we study together. I honestly never lived in a dorm before, I didn’t know it would be that much fun being with these people all the time. We code together and you can ask people questions.

What is the most challenging aspect?

Coding, coding is really challenging. I still feel like I don’t have a lot of confidence, and it bothers me sometimes. You know how the tech industry is, it is always evolving and new things are always coming up. I am a perfectionist and want to learn everything now, so it is always about learning.

What do you like to do in the Bay Area?

Hiking, I really like Coyote Hills. It is really close, you don’t need a car, I go there often and there is a lot of nature. In Ohio there are a lot of cornfields, here I was surprised that after a 20-minute walk there are deers and animals. It is a nice area.

What is your dream job?

Software developer for sure, in a big company. I would like to work at Apple because they are always trying to make beautiful things. I like their design decisions and how they make things pretty and user-friendly.

Is there someone who has inspired you?

There are a lot of people who have inspired me at this school, there was someone from 42 who got a job at Google. We have a lot of cool people here and I like being part of this community.

Connect with Valeriia on LinkedIn

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

Interview by: Stacey Faucett