My Hop from College to Career

How a business major ended up as a web dev at ExtraHop

I had first heard of ExtraHop when my good friend from college told me that he'd accepted an offer to work here. The months passed; we graduated college, and while I continued looking for my first full-time job, Richard began as a software engineer here. He had graduated from Informatics, and so had been on the hunt for a dev job throughout his senior year.

I, on the other hand, was a business major who'd taken a handful of computer science courses on the side. I had no idea where I'd end up post college, but after a couple months of research, networking, and interviews, I made a decision. I was going to double down on coding and brush up on my skills, in an attempt to land a job I would enjoy far more than the position typically offered to an Information Systems and Entrepreneurship grad. The rest of that fall hiring season ended without a single offer, but I refused to give up on my aspiration to code for a living. I had determined that the fields I'd enjoyed studying most in school were writing, marketing, and coding.

In the new year, I was desperate to land something. I applied to all sorts of mundane jobs (not to knock those that would be interested in these lines of work—they just didn't muster any enthusiasm from me). The usual line I'd get from companies after interviewing was either:

  1. You sound like you're looking for something more technical than we can offer.
  2. Your technical background just isn't strong enough for us.

At the end of January, Richard suggested that I attend the UW Information School career fair, where he'd first been introduced to ExtraHop. Their booth was the largest at the fair, despite many bigger companies being present. I talked around, handing out resumes left and right, but my confidence was faltering to say the least. I actually felt waves of anxiety hit me when I looked around at these booths, swarming with eminently more qualified applicants.

Then, at ExtraHop's booth, I noticed something different. They seemed to actually listen to my background and interests. They wanted to find the best match for me, rather than just funneling me down the same application as everyone else, or telling me to check their website for upcoming job postings. A conversation with my now-supervisor, the lead web developer for the marketing department, led to a phone interview and then an in-person loop.

This was the most excited I'd been about any opportunity post-college but I knew I had to be candid as to where my experience was limited. I'd been similarly candid, expressive, and low-BS on all of my other interviews, too, but here, that meshed with the culture in a way that it hadn't before. I proved myself to them, and at last, I found what I'd been looking for nearly a full year: A full-time, steady, honest-to-goodness job!

Being the ball of anxiety that I am, though, the stress didn't end there. Imposter syndrome struck me hard, and I feared that once Zach and the others saw my limitations, they'd balk at me and that would be the end of this dream. Or, alternatively, I feared that I wouldn't fit in, or enjoy the work at all.

The biggest credit I can give my coworkers, then, is how at ease they managed to put me over the course of my first month here. The pervasive culture at ExtraHop is a calm intensity. I can explain it best like this, and my supervisor Zach is a perfect example. He takes the role seriously, and commits his all to every task we are assigned. However, he is understanding of my mistakes, and any miscommunication is an opportunity on his part to do better next time. Everyone here is very self-critical, just as I've always been, judging themselves while not judging others. We are called to perpetually improve and do our best work, but there is a certain amount of trust placed in each employee, and it's up to us to reward that trust with results.

Aside from work, ExtraHoppers know how to enjoy themselves, too. I think the three beers and one cider on tap at all times in the café speak for themselves. I've now been at ExtraHop for several months, and everything feels so natural, I couldn't imagine work life any other way. I'm thankful, though, because I know from my own past jobs and the jobs of friends I know that not every company treats their employees this kindly, this respectfully.

I didn't plan on being a web developer after college, or necessarily working in marketing, either. But I kept an open mind and pursued the work that matched my interests. My passion and persistence were and are valued by ExtraHop, and that's a great feeling. I'm excited to grow further in this role, improving both my marketing and coding skills. Moreover, it might sound cheesy, but I'm looking forward to contributing more to this company that put its trust in me. I can't wait for all the hard work I've put in to shape the future of ExtraHop, and bolster the growth of a company that truly deserves it.

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