Catalina Laverde

Catalina Laverde

Backend Software Engineer


Spotify

Los Angeles, CA USA


Fake it until you make it...Believing in yourself, being your own advocate, won’t be easy. But you’ve got to stretch. Embrace those challenges because they are going to make you who you are.

Videos

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Catalina Laverde

Highlight
Now Playing
01:15
Catalina Laverde HighlightInterview Highlight
Now Playing
08:42
InterviewThe Interview
Now Playing
01:36
Advice For Those Interested In Computer ScienceWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
02:46
Day In The Life Of A Backend Software EngineerWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
00:54
Dealing With Personal DoubtWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
01:48
Success Is Different For EveryoneWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
02:29
My Career PathInterview Excerpt
Now Playing
01:35
Making The Best Out Of Your CircumstancesInterview Excerpt
Now Playing
00:52
Nothing In Life Comes EasyInterview Excerpt
Now Playing
01:22
You Can't Fail If You Don't Give UpInterview Excerpt
Now Playing
02:22
Dealing With Doubt As A Woman In A Computer Science FieldInterview Excerpt
See More
Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Born and raised in a small town outside of Bogota, Colombia.
Spent the majority of her younger years indoors studying, reading, and writing because it wasn’t safe to play outside.
Early on, she developed an interest in journalism and worked for a local radio station throughout her teen years—she always assumed she would eventually become a journalist.
After graduating high school, she had a change of heart and decided that she wanted to pursue something new and challenging, which led her to software engineering.
Admits her first exposure to computers and programming came during her first semester of college, before that she had never taken a computer class.
When she was 18, she decided to move to the U.S. to finish her college degree and give herself more opportunities—arrived with 1 suitcase, $200, and didn’t speak a word of English.
Got accepted to Rutgers University, where she majored in computer science—her mother sold their family home in Columbia in order to help her pay for her tuition.
She is now a Senior Software Engineer at Spotify and is the Co-Founder of Civic Action Network, an organization bridging the gap between Congress and Constituents.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
associates
Associate's Degree
Computer Science
Bergen Community College
undergrad
Bachelor
Computer Science
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Career

Career

Backend Software Engineer

I write code that tells computers what to do and how to do it.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Technology
Technology
Engineering
Engineering
Learning / Being Challenged
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

My day starts with "Standup", where the team and everyone else gives an update of what we did the day before and what we’re doing next. There are some meetings scheduled to discuss current projects, blockers, and make design plans. I allocate part of my day to coding, answering emails, and reading documentation from other projects I can learn from.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Communication skills! Learning how to effectively communicate your ideas, provide feedback, receive feedback, and acting like a team player goes a long way.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Learn how to code and explore different coding languages. There are tons of tutorials online and for free, be curious about it and give it a try.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

certification
Associate's Degree
Computer Science
undergrad
Bachelor
Computer Science
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Family:

"Whatever major you pick, you have to finish."

My family was not rich, so I didn't have the luxury or freedom to spend a lot of time taking classes trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I had to pick one major and stick with it. Even though I had a passion for journalism, I knew I wanted to do something new and different. I set my sights on engineering and figuring out what type I wanted to study within that discipline.

Challenges I Overcame

Financial
Financial

As an international student, I was expected to pay out of state tuition, which was about 3 times as expensive. I ended up attending a community college for a year. My mom sold the house we grew up in order to pay for me to go to Rutgers University.

First-Generation Immigrant
First-Generation Immigrant

I asked my mother to help me move to the US when I was 16 years old. I ended up moving to the United States when I was 18 years old with 1 suitcase and $200 USD. I had no family here whatsoever and I didn’t know how to speak the language.

Gender & Racial Discrimination
Gender & Racial Discrimination

In trying to figure out what type of engineering I wanted to study, I had the issue of not seeing myself represented in areas like mechanical and electrical. It dissuaded me from pursuing those as options. I was always 1 of barely a handful of women.

See More