As a black woman studying computer science, Neissa Dorsinville wants to elevate women and represent women of color in the tech industry. In order to stand out in a male-dominated field, women have to work harder to be better. This fuels her drive to take any opportunity that comes her way to build her experience and skills. While in university, she completed a virtual experience program, worked as a computer science tutor, and completed a Software Engineering internship with Altcoin Advisors. Describing herself as shy, Neissa also pushed herself to leave her comfort zone through extracurricular activities, such as joining a public speaking club and stepping up to take leadership roles. The culmination of her drive and experiences secured her a job offer as a Software Engineer with JP Morgan Chase before graduating. Neissa credits her career success to Forage and Rewriting the Code for giving her opportunities and helping her along the way – although we credit her success to all the work she has put in to get here!
As a computer science student, Neissa was interested in gaining software engineering experience. Before Forage, she was most familiar with Java, a programming language commonly taught in her classes. Completing JPMorgan Chase’s Software Engineering Virtual Experience Program helped her broaden her knowledge of coding languages. She learned to work with Python and React which she found most useful for the job search. Although Neissa may have come across these languages at a further point in time, Forage helped her to discover them before she encountered them in coding assessments and interviews when applying to internships.
Neissa credits Forage with narrowing down her career path; she said it “helped me with knowing exactly what I want to do”. Completing projects that are typical for a Software Engineer to work on provided her with the experience that solidified her career choice. Neissa also noted how the typical recruiting process is draining as they just send back a rejection letter rather than giving any actual feedback. At Forage, this unhelpful cycle is broken. Neissa was able to gain experience and feedback on her work for free which resulted in her honing her skills.
Joining Rewriting the Code
Neissa was recommended to check out Rewriting the Code, a non-profit preparing women to grow in their tech industry careers, by a peer in her computer science club. Through this organization, she was able to find a community that she felt represented in. As a black woman, Neissa is underrepresented in the tech industry. As an organization that supports intersectional groups, Rewriting the Code helped her see her future by arranging events where black women leaders in the tech industry are represented.
Rewriting the Code also provides Neissa with a sense of community that supports her to grow professionally. Her favorite part of joining is having “the possibility to just reach out to anyone from the community”. No matter if she had a question about school or career opportunities, there was someone in the network to turn to for guidance. “Rewriting the Code has taught me to support women in any way possible and showed me that any goal is possible to achieve with the help of the community.”
Advice for Female Students in Tech
“I started a project at Forage and look at me now. If it wasn’t for that one feeling to just apply… I wouldn’t have all these experiences”
Neissa highly encourages students to put themselves out of their comfort zones. By doing so herself, she has become the VP for her school’s women in computer science club and treasurer of the computer science club, and Secretary of “Smooth Talkers”, a public speaking club. Through these clubs, she received additional opportunities such as joining Rewriting the Code.
Another piece of advice she offers students is to “explore as much as they can because you never know what you can get into by just doing that one project”. By completing the program with Forage, she was able to put the experience on her resume and make companies, such as JPMorgan, interested in connecting with her. (Learn more about working at JPM.) By joining Rewriting the Code, she found a community of women in tech that supported her goals. Since Forage and Rewriting the Code opened doors to a plethora of opportunities for her, she highly recommends for other students to not only use Forage, but to also find a community that lifts them up.
Neissa is a senior at CUNY Brooklyn College Studying Computer Science and Accounting
Connect with Neissa on Linkedin here.
Follow Forage on LinkedIn here.
Follow Rewriting the Code on LinkedIn here.