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Jun 3, 2019

In this episode of the freeCodeCamp podcast, Abbey chats with developer advocate Alejandra Olvera-Novack about how she broke free from her restrictive cult upbringing, moved to the United States, and taught herself how to code.

Alejandra was raised without technology, without formal schooling, and in an extremely conservative environment. When she was in her late teens, she left her village and moved to Florida. 

After a couple years of googling everything under the sun to catch up on the world's events, and trying to attend college, she ran out of money. Since she was alone - having cut all ties with her family - she took a leap of faith, moved to Seattle, WA, and started looking for work.

She worked odd jobs for a while, but quickly realized she'd need something more to survive and thrive. So she started to learn about HTML and CSS, something she never thought she could do. Fast-forward a couple years later, and she was working her way up to a job at Amazon Web Services.

Today, Alejandra works with robots, helps developers be as happy and productive as possible at AWS, and runs the non-profit she founded that teaches women, minorities, and disabled how to code for free. She manages her anxiety and PTSD with the help of a service dog and some really great mentors and friends, and she still can hardly believe she's living her dream.

Find Alejandra on Twitter here:

Visit her website here:

Check out SheCodesNow, Alejandra's non-profit here:

Find Abbey on Twitter here: