GA Alumni Story:17 years as a Supply Chain Coordinator to Embracing the Role of a Software Developer at Cash App


Making a big career move can mean risking everything but when it pays off, it will turn out to be the best thing you can do for yourself. 

Jaqueline Lemos Elizandro, a Brazilian native currently residing in Sydney, Australia, worked at a company as a supply chain coordinator for close to 17 years before making a life-changing career move. Now, she is a full-fledged Software Developer at one of the biggest digital payment services, Cash App. 

Her journey is one of the many success stories we’ve seen here at General Assembly. Our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds hoping to carve out a meaningful and sustainable career in tech. In the case of Jaqueline, her decision to leave her comfort zone didn’t come easy. In fact, it took moving to an entirely different continent for her to take that courageous first step towards starting a new career in tech.

Read more on what Jaqueline had to share about her inspiring journey.

What was life like before General Assembly?

Back in Brazil, I took a Business Administration course at university. I was around 17 years old, and at that time, I also started working. I really liked working at that company and stayed there for almost 17 years. It was a small company, and they allowed me to try many different things, from logistics to manufacturing to recruitment.

I was very close to a colleague who was a developer, and I used to write code with him. He always said I should pursue a coding career, and my own brother also kept telling me I would make a great coder. So, the encouragement from my family, along with the support from my husband, gave me the courage to believe in myself. 

Living in a small town in Brazil, the opportunities were quite limited in the area. So, while I had this thought of transitioning to tech for a long time, it was only when my husband had to move to Australia for work that I decided it was time to switch industries. It was a very brave move for me because I knew there would be struggles with the language and being part of a brand new culture.

GA Alum Jaqueline smiling
GA Alum, Jaqueline Lemos Elizandro

How did General Assembly help you with this career move?

The 3 months at GA were challenging because I had to learn coding from scratch and in a completely different language while also adapting to living in a new country with a new culture.

What really helped me was the career coaching program. My career coach, Huon, always kept me motivated with her words throughout the stressful periods. Having a person like that on this journey was so important to me.

GA’s student-centric approach to the curriculum also really helped in my job search. We did many projects that taught us skills which could be applied to the real world. One of the major projects I did was FinTech-related, which became key in getting this role at Cash App as well.

At GA, I was challenged to become a problem-solver. I started to realize how important it is to proactively seek out creative solutions to problems presented. This is something I still constantly find myself doing in my current role as well. I think what also sets a GA graduate apart from other tech bootcamp graduates is the different transferable skills you develop over the course. For example, because the course was conducted virtually, the skill of communicating effectively in a remote setting helped me stand out to the team at Cash App which is a distributed and remote-first company.

What was it like making a career switch in a foreign country?

The people I met at General Assembly’s bootcamp were great. We helped each other, and it was not a competitive environment, which could have been stressful. I had no issues communicating despite the language barrier. The instructor and TA were always available on Slack to support students and provide constant feedback. So, I didn’t feel out of place during my time at GA.

Making my career change in Australia was a great decision because I never felt judged. I think it’s because there are so many people from different cultures here, and everyone has their own stories, so there is a lot of respect for each other’s backgrounds. I think making this move might have been more difficult if I were still in Brazil.  

What was the job search like? How did you land a role at Cash App?

Looking for a new job was not easy, especially since the job market was challenging I was looking every day and spent more than half my day doing that. It was hard to receive no responses and a lot of rejection letters from recruiters.

I am usually a shy person, but I learned that I had to break out of my shell. I started talking to people and networking with others from the industry through various meetups. These all helped me build relationships and, more importantly, my confidence when it came to the job search.

It was this confidence that led me to getting a role at Cash App. I applied for many jobs but was sure that I wanted to be in FinTech, so my mind was set on Cash App.  General Assembly helped me to connect with Eddie, Cash App’s Lead Technical Recruiter, and I reached out to him to find out more about what it would take to join the team at Cash App.

During our chat, I was able to demonstrate that I was a good fit for the company, and he asked me to send over my resume. I think what stood out in our conversation was my sincerity about wanting to join a company that values the growth and development of their employees. I knew Cash App was a place where they would invest in my learning and I could build on what I learned at General Assembly. 

Within a day, he made arrangements for me to have conversations with my current manager. Speaking to my manager, he was impressed with the projects I completed at GA and the confidence I had in taking on the demands of the role.

One week later, I got the job offer.

What is life like now as a Software DEVELOPER?

Working at Cash App has been great so far! We have an amazing and nurturing work environment. My colleagues are really supportive, and most of them are very knowledgeable with more than 10 years of experience in the industry. I find myself learning so much from them.

I was prepared for this role because I could sense that my mentor was impressed by how familiar I was with some tools, like using various command lines on Git’s terminal, and this was a skill that I acquired during my time at GA.

Cash App also has a dedicated mentorship program that allows me to get support from people beyond my immediate team. While I have a dedicated buddy who supports me in the team, I also have the chance to seek mentorship from cool people from other teams who help to impart knowledge that goes beyond technical skills.

I am really enjoying my new role, and I definitely believe it was all worth it.

Finding Employers who Value Non-Traditional Tech Talent

Jaqueline’s hard work, unwavering optimism and resilience, along with the strong support system she had from both General Assembly and Cash App were what helped her to successfully transform her entire career.

It can be a challenge for people with non-traditional tech backgrounds to make that switch, but the tech industry needs more diversity on all fronts, and some of the best developers don’t have CS university degrees. When it comes to gaining a technical role, skills are king.

General Assembly partners closely with companies that value building diverse teams like Cash App, who is paving the way with their hiring policies which recognise the value of employing talent from diverse backgrounds like Jaqueline. 

“We’re committed to building a team reflective of Cash App’s diverse customers – and that means hiring talented individuals who may not have a traditional tech background. Those who have honed their skills through General Assembly bootcamps bring fresh perspectives, their diverse experiences foster innovation and help Cash App continue to challenge the status quo every day.”

– Eddie Hooper, Lead Technical Recruiter at CashApp 

If Jaqueline’s story has inspired you to explore a career in tech, start your career change today.

Disclaimer: General Assembly referred to their Bootcamps and Short Courses as “Immersive” and “Part-time” courses respectfully and you may see that reference in posts prior to 2023.