Every engineering career starts somewhere. For Desi Lerma, a frontend engineer for the data team at Fetch Rewards, that place was a salon.
It was one of her first jobs, followed by an office specialist role and a legal assistant. None of those careers felt like her calling, though, which drove her further into her side hobby: coding.
Lerma coded in her free time and enjoyed the challenge enough that in October 2020, she enrolled at the Flatiron School engineering bootcamp. She spent 15 intensive weeks learning about full stack development. And six months after she graduated, she landed her first engineering gig.
“It was an apprenticeship at Fetch Rewards,” Lerma said. “And three months later, I was ecstatic to take on a full-time role.”
Working at Fetch, a mobile app that connects and rewards everyday shoppers for buying the brands they love, has helped Lerma grow her technical skill set. It’s also boosted her professional and personal communication skills, and led to increased fulfillment.
“For years, I felt like I was searching for more in my work,” Lerma said. “I finally found what I was looking for at Fetch. There are always opportunities to take on something new and make it your own. Although my career is still in its infancy, I am loving the direction that it is heading.”
Built In sat down with Lerma to learn more about how exactly Fetch has supported her career growth.
How has working at Fetch Rewards helped you make progress toward your career goals?
Fetch encourages continued education. For example, the company provides employees a continuing education stipend and offers courses through Udemy business. Employee reviews are done more than once a year, which allow team members to receive feedback and gain insight into what could be improved upon or what they should continue doing. In meetings with my manager, we discussed my progress and what we can do to keep the momentum going. This is incredibly helpful because I don’t have to wait for a review to come up — I can just chat about these topics in my one-on-ones.
How have you grown professionally at Fetch? What skills have you learned?
Lots of technical skills! I’ve learned the Svelte.js framework, Docker and Vitest. I’m also more comfortable asking questions. Being surrounded by so many intelligent individuals can be a little intimidating. We all start somewhere, though. Being loud and proud with questions can lead to some pretty insightful conversations.
How are managers involved in the career development of direct reports?
My manager meets with me one-on-one to discuss how things are going, along with any roadblocks I’ve encountered and where I’d like to take my career. This allows us to have conversations about what I need to do, and how my manager can support these goals.
What professional development tools and resources, informal or formal, have you utilized?
At Fetch, I’ve participated in our Research Rally (the hackathon focused on research and learning) and plan on participating in our next hackathon, which is focused on building. Fetch also allows employees to participate in quarterly mentorship programs. If you have knowledge you’d like to share or there is a subject you’d like to know more about, employees have the opportunity to participate. I have not been involved in this program yet, but I would like to at some point in the future!
What are you excited to accomplish next?
I have a few goals I’d love to achieve. The first is to present my own technical design review (TDR) to my peers for feedback on my next project as well as add to our front-end architecture. I’d also love to be more vocal in meetings, and take on more responsibility. There is plenty of room to grow here!