Careers in Code Student Success Stories: La’Tonia Mertica

Careers in Code Student Success Stories is a series focused on our coding bootcamp graduates. We’re following their progress in the six months after graduation to learn about projects they’re working on, job placements, and other exciting updates.

La’Tonia Mertica

La’Tonia Mertica is a homebody who’s always preferred a good book. She says that she competently pauses her natural state of introvert with that of extrovert. This, for her, is the magic that creates opportunities to connect with others on various levels through various channels. La’Tonia Mertica says that she codes every day. In her own words, she says, “It often feels like I’m in chase of a mythical being — my future self wholly competent, confident, and comfortable in code.” She also stated that she is so conditioned to code that she just needs to keep coding until she achieves the level of mastery that she knows she can.

La’Tonia Mertica stated that since graduating from Careers in Code cohort 2, she’s actually coded more and completed more projects. She added that being in a Python bootcamp has been a great motivator for staying on course regarding code/web development in general. She mentioned that revisiting her projects from Careers in Code has been thrilling because she could look at them from fresh, graduated eyes and see potential. She then follows through to produce better results than she was able to produce as an active student. It helped too that Careers in Code provided post-graduation mentoring. Even though classes stopped, she says her effort, interest, and view for possible outcomes remain steady.

Background

La’Tonia Mertica revealed that her background involves an impressive amount of paper pushing and people work. Still, it is the art of communication that she has always tried to excel at. So much so that a few years ago she started a small business offering B2B communication services — exceptional communication services through graphic design, photography, videography, consultation, and storytelling for internal and external use. Her communication services are often confused with — or worse, oversimplified into marketing or public relations. But essentially they are more about authentic presence and leveraging it for ideal outcomes beyond bottom-line figures.

La’Tonia Mertica’s hobbies and interests include code/web dev, storytelling, photography, videography, consultation — formal and informal, graphic design, and basically anything creative. Voice, identity, and individuality are things she tries to champion — meaning advocate. She has a keen clarity regarding justice, equity, and civic responsibility.

Careers in Code

What interested her in Careers in Code was the opportunity to create opportunities rather than just take or seek opportunities. She says that she never really entertained the possibility she could be a software engineer. It became clear to her that with proper support and follow-through, she could actually realize a life for herself that only seemed like a dream not many years ago. Simple things ranging from safe housing to escaping inclusion in the statistic of those one paycheck away from homelessness — these are things she says the Careers in Code bootcamp has helped her materialize. Careers in Code also provided a career coach, a life coach, and a sense of heightened responsibility to herself and her future outcomes.

Post Graduation

After graduating from Careers in Code, La’Tonia Mertica was hired for a job to help build the technology ecosystem in the City of Syracuse — which is trying to achieve Smart City status. She says that it’s ambitious work grounded in an ambitious vision. Ultimately, she plans to re-invigorate her small business for sustainable viability while working as a full-stack javascript code/web developer who specializes in Python and design.

Advice for Students

La’Tonia Mertica says the advice that she would give future Careers in Code students is to show up — early, eager, and prepped for success. Seek help zealously. Waste no one’s time — including your own. Take nothing for granted. Enjoy the journey. Make it yours.

Advancing Upstate New York's tech community through events and education. http://hackupstate.com/ && https://careersincode.org/