[The fourth in a series written by members of our engineering team.]

By David Agustin, Software Engineer

I came to San Francisco with nothing but a dream. The dream to work in the heart of the tech industry.

I left everything behind — everyone I knew, my hometown of San Diego which I love, and I started everything on a clean slate. Of course, I was scared to move to a city where I didn’t know anyone, but I came to find that the people are very accepting and friendly around here.

Here I am with the office bocce team, the MyVest Ballers. (That’s me holding the ball. The guy with the sunglasses is my roommate Devin, who referred me to MyVest.)

While I was on the job search, I filled around 600+ applications on LinkedIn, went to meetups and networked, bought a Udemy course on data structures & algorithms, and I read “Cracking the Coding Interview” and worked really hard polishing up my coding skills. They say that you need experience to get the job, but you need a job for the experience. I was rejected many times because I didn’t have work experience, but I kept going.

Eventually I landed a job interview at MyVest for a UI/Software Engineer position. I was referred by my roommate Devin, who had recently started at MyVest and said great things about it. I honestly didn’t know what I did to make it to the technical portion of the interview, but I felt the recruiter liked my passion and spirit.

They say that you need experience to get the job, but you need a job for the experience.

I was more of a React guy than Angular, I used Express instead of Spring, and MYSQL rather than Oracle. However, MyVest still considered me and I progressed to the onsite interview. Of course I was scared going in, but I felt welcomed immediately. Pallavi (the Technical Recruiter) and Jazmine (the Office Manager) made the process a lot easier. They gave me a tour around the office, and I was introduced to the different teams. My favorite parts of the office were the Quiet Room where you can meditate or relax, the game room with a ping pong table, and the unlimited snacks in the kitchen.

My onsite interviews were with some big names including the Director of Platform Engineering, the VP of Engineering, the Principal Architect, and Senior Software Engineers. I progressed through the interview process, whiteboarding coding problems and communicating well when I got stuck.

I was so excited about the job I posted about it on LinkedIn on my very first day. (Editor’s note: This post went viral and as of press time it had over 80,000 views!)

One of the questions that Joanne, the VP of Engineering, asked was, “What was the last book you read?” I laughed and replied, “JavaScript Design Patterns.” Then I said “Well as a real book, I’ve been reading Game of Thrones” because the new season of the show was coming out. (Now that I know how many GOT fans there are in the office, this was definitely the right answer.)

After the interview, I took my friends out to dinner and I thought to myself, “Whatever happens, happens…”

I was surprised because the next day I was offered the job. I was so excited, I felt like days of grueling hard work paid off. I was also actively interviewing at Amazon and I had an interview at Facebook at the time, but I chose to accept the job at MyVest on the spot. Not for the money, but the people.

I met with the People & Culture team to go over all the perks and benefits, like the 401k match, health insurance (mostly paid by the company), life insurance (150% of your salary, paid by the company) and wellness spending (additional dollars added to your paycheck for your personal wellness (gym/yoga/etc.). I also met with leaders from our Technology and Architecture teams to understand basically everything that goes on in the company including the whole application, and the specifics such as the frameworks and stacks used.

I was also actively interviewing at Amazon and I had an interview at Facebook at the time, but I chose to accept the MyVest job on the spot. Not for the money, but the people.

Within the first week I was greeted personally by the CEO Anton Honikman, my team had a team lunch at a nice restaurant, I was invited to play Magic the Gathering, and we had an office-wide Game of Thrones happy hour. Then the second week we had an All Hands meeting where we popped champagne to celebrate some big wins and company milestones! (I’m told that not every week is like this, but I’m not sure I believe them – we’ve got a Release Party at a ping pong bar this week.)

The Iron Throne and flags of Westeros lining the game room for the GOT happy hour we had my first week.

The moral of the story: I came here with nothing and it took me around a month on the job search before I found a great company, a great work culture, and great people. I told my friends back home about everything that has happened, and now some of them are moving here because of the success I had!

(P.S. MyVest has a BUNCH of open positions right now!)

About David

David moved here from San Diego after getting his Computer Science degree to surround himself with the “vanguard of tech.” He has a passion for helping people (his background is in physical therapy) and he believes he can make a bigger impact in the world through tech.

His hobbies include competitive programming and helping people learn how to code. One of his life goals is to finish an Ironman Triathlon! Bonus fun fact: He has an identical twin brother… who’s also a Software Engineer!

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of MyVest, its affiliates, or its employees.