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How a Guidance Counselor’s Scheduling Error Led Nicole to her Dream Job

Alyssa Greenfield
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Published on October 5, 2017

Nicole’s career path is proof that some things are just meant to be. She found her way to a software engineering role at Capital One through two experiences:

  1. A high school guidance counselor’s scheduling error
  2. An inspiring conversation at last year’s Grace Hopper Women in Computing conference

We talked to Nicole, who shared how it all unfolded and where she is today:

Q: Let’s start with the basics. What do you do at Capital One?

A: I’m in the second year of the two-year rotational Technical Development Program. I’ve had two roles focused on Capital One’s iOS enterprise mobile app. My first role was in DevOps, and I’ve already seen my contributions positively impact the flow of work for mobile app developers. Right now, I’m focusing on feature development and UI improvements. I’ve also been able to learn mobile development.

Q: What initially inspired you to pursue a career as a software engineer?

A: I grew up loving math and science, but I didn’t know how I wanted to apply it to my career. Then my high school guidance counselor accidentally placed me into an “Intro to Java” course. I was the only girl in that class, and my guidance counselor told me I couldn’t do it. I tried it anyway and I loved it. Then I tried all the similar classes my school offered and loved those, too. That feeling never changed.

Q: Why did you choose Capital One to start your career?

A: I went to the Grace Hopper conference with a friend who interned at Capital One the year before. She told me to stop by their booth, but at the time I just thought of them as a bank—not a technology company. Still, I introduced myself. I was blown away by how Capital One thinks about technology. After that, I went to their Virginia headquarters for an on-site interview and ended up landing the job.

Q: Do you have any advice for future Grace Hopper attendees?

A: A lot of software engineers tend to think only about the biggest technology companies at a conference like Grace Hopper. While those are great companies, you should also talk to ones that you might not have considered before. As long as you present who you are with confidence, you’ll discover opportunities you never knew existed.

Q: What do you wish more people knew about technology at Capital One?

A: A lot of my family members work on the finance side of banking, and that’s the only side they know. I wish everyone knew how tech-focused Capital One is—that we’re a technology company working to improve banking, instead of a bank trying to use technology.

Q: Fill in the blank: someone should consider Capital One for their first job out of college if ____.

A: They’re looking for a company where their opinions are heard and they want to be trusted to solve challenging problems.

Q: What advice do you have for future female software engineers?
A: It’s hard to have people doubt you, but when they do, you can take it one of two ways: “I shouldn’t do it” or “I can prove them wrong.”

Clearly, Nicole chose option two. If her story has inspired you to learn more about Capital One, then head over to their WayUp page to explore their open positions and apply.

Alyssa Greenfield WayUp Staff

Alyssa is the Senior Branded Content Editor at WayUp. A writer who loves sharing career advice, she helps the WayUp community learn about all the great companies that are eager to hire talented students and recent grads.

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