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#InterviewSeries | Alejandra Muñoz Villalobos

I was introduced to the wonderful Alejandra on the @candles slack channel, which btw if you are interested in UX in any way AT ALL you need to be on. Alejandra is currently working as a front end dev and is also interested in UX design. Her journey is super motivating and she offers up some incredibly refreshing advice, reminding us that nobody was born with the skills needed to succeed, it’s all about the drive to learn! One to follow for sure!

“My name is Alejandra Muñoz, I’m from a small but cool town in Mexico, I’m currently working as a Front End Developer and starting as an UX designer. Born on the 95’ so I’m 22 and currently about to graduate as IT Engineer. My New Year's resolution is to share a little of my story and my path into becoming a woman in tech so I started my personal blog as @girlcodemx. I would love to inspire other girls with my experience and my daily routine, they need to know they are not alone and coding is about being creative and sharing new ideas on the tech world.”

Tell us a little bit about your journey into a technology-based role It all started since my first day of college, I got into an IT career and but I wasn’t sure enough, my first months were hard, my code wouldn’t work and I would always be on a love/hate relationship with computers. In few words, I sucked! :(

Then one day, after crying and being stressed out, I started thinking that I needed to make a decision, just give up or give it a last try. So I decided to start searching for TED talks, reading books, reading articles of programming, looking at other girls experiences about their journeys in tech and finally, after six months of preparation and hard work, I found my passion in web development and design. And the main issue since the beginning was that I never gave myself the chance to be a tech person, I was not giving my 100% and I thought that being part of the tech world was completely different. After 4 years and a half, I’ve travelled the world, I’ve been part of tech conferences in Canada and worked in tech roles in Europe for 1 year and a half, I think it’s all about effort and the passion you have for doing what you love. Now after all this experiences, I believe that nothing is impossible, it can be hard at the beginning but at the end it’s life changing and full with rewards. How do you personally use technology in your day to day? Technology is part of my life now, my laptop became my best friend, need to carry it wherever I go, I’m a web developer, mostly front end, so I’m constantly working with Javascript, HTML, CSS and cool frameworks that help me get my job done. How do you use technology in your job role?

Right now, I’m a freelancer, so I normally get asked to do websites for companies and also, I got into the design of mockups. Technology is essential for me to develop any website, my main source is Javascript and React. What have been the best learning resources for you?

Books!, totally, my favorite ones are ‘Eloquent Javascript’ and there is a guide for front end developers, it’s gold!, its called ‘Front End Developer Handbook’ by FrontEnd Masters it tells you eveeeerything you need to know about how to become a pro front end developer. Also, I suggest FreeCode Camp is a nice way to start! and Treehouse/Udemy. As a woman, do you think you have faced any challenges that a man would not face in your position?

For sure, I think as a woman sometimes is harder to be part of any engineering field, guys sometimes made me feel that I wasn’t good enough and would always ask for my opinion but not take it or just ignore me. So I decided to do it my way and after a while, they started taking me more seriously when they saw I took part of important roles in Europe and my projects were good enough. What HAS been your biggest challenge so far?

I think the biggest challenge at the beginning was proving myself that I could do it, that if I really dream it, I can achieve it with hard work and being optimistic. When I started my career, I felt that I was too bad of a programmer and nothing could help me out but I pushed myself and got out of my comfort zone, NOBODY WAS BORN TO BE A PROGRAMMER, it's all about practice, passion and consistency. With regards to technology, what do you think will be our biggest barrier to success in the future?

Nowadays, a lot of technologies for web development are coming out and it can be overwhelming trying to know everything so it can happen that we know a little of everything but not something 100% which can lead us to become bad developers. Who makes up your support squad?

My friends and my family are my support squad. Sometimes life can get hard, but I can count on them. They make me feel motivated and keep going. What’s your favorite piece of advice to offer entrepreneurial/techy women?

Don’t let yourself down even on the hardest times. It can get tough but you need to always remember what is the goal and keep going. Women are creative, spontaneous, intelligent and inside the tech world they can do big changes, don’t let any man or anyone treat you less, if I could do it, you can do it! Been there, done that in soooo many things, but I’m here and never gave up. Thank you for taking part Alejandra & thank you so much for the recommendation Tom and Tabrez!

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