Aug 9 2022

From math teacher to Ruby on Rails developer.

Discover the journey of Cataline who worked relentlessly to achieve her goal of becoming a Ruby on Rails developer in a Geneva-based startup.

David Zbinden
David Zbinden

6min read

From math teacher to Ruby on Rails developer.

Hi Cataline, before going into details, can you summarize your reconversion in the Tech ?

Sure. I did the Web Dev Bootcamp in Lausanne during the summer of 2019, and then I continued to work on my Wagon final project with one of my team members. I also had the chance to quickly work as a TA at the Wagon.

At the same time, I was applying for dev jobs, but since I'm a bit shy, I couldn't convert when I went to the interview. I didn't get discouraged and I continued to train myself by working on personal projects in many different technologies that allowed me to develop my portfolio. I also participated in tech challenges on the internet. Finally, I published a lot on linkedin and github to show that I remained active and passionate.

Little by little I gained experience and I was able to join the teaching team of the Wagon Lausanne as a Back-End teacher. As it was not a full time job, to make ends meet, I also continued to do tutoring in Mathematics and I also gave classes to students in Part-Time at the Wagon (evening classes). I also took oral fluency classes to improve myself.

Finally, all these actions put together paid off and I was able to join a startup as a Junior Dev. I didn't count my hours, and I also did a lot of volunteer work to help Wagon alumni on their projects. Today I'm very happy with where I am and proud of the path I've taken. 

Well done! Let's go into details, what did you do before starting your web developer training?

I have a Bachelor in Maths and a Master in Environmental Science. Then I became a math teacher in a professional college in Geneva (school of applied arts). I was mainly doing long term replacements. At the same time, I was also a mathematics tutor.

After several years of replacement, I wanted to become a full professor. The regulations having changed, I had to go back to university to study mathematics and complete a long training to become a full professor. This pushed me towards computer science which interested me much more. In the end, it was a blessing in disguise.

On the advice of my parents, I started a university education to get a Master's degree in computer science. Even if it was very interesting, it wasn't practical and most of all, I didn't want to do more years of studies before being able to work in the web field. So I looked for a quicker way to train.

You are now working as a Ruby on Rails Developer at, can you tell us how your job went?

I'm super happy with my new job, everything for me is new and I'm very excited about it, I've never really worked in a private company like this before with this startup spirit that motivates me in every way compared to my experience in the very academic world of a professional school.

I was hired very quickly and everything is happening at a crazy speed, I love this dynamism, the team is really great. My role within the company
is a junior developer, I'm given small tasks and as time goes by they give me bigger tasks, I have to understand how the application works, mainly make improvements and modify what already exists.

A headhunter recruited me via LinkedIn, she forwarded my file to the recruiter, they told him that it was difficult to evaluate my level but that he would be happy to see me in an interview for a technical test.
I had a 1st interview with the CTO and the Lead developer to get to know them, they gave me a statement to solve before the 2nd interview. The 2nd interview was with the CEO where we discussed my motivation and my technical test passed with flying colors, then I got a positive answer to start with them a few days later.

What the wagon brought me more than technical knowledge and that helps me a lot in my work, it's the way to think like a developer, how to search and how to debug, this way of working professionally that allowed me to make my place in the world of web developers.

Finally, can you tell us what your experience at the Wagon was like?

It was a great experience. The atmosphere was good and we had a very good relationship with my classmates. Especially since we were lucky enough to be a small summer batch of 6 students compared to the usual 12 students.

As for me, I am very academic, which must come from my university background. I love to learn and for that reason the batches with their intensive courses and teachers suited my way of learning.

What I liked most was the SQL, Ruby and OOP (Object-oriented-programming) courses. I also loved the applications we did in the terminal at the end of the 2nd week because I have a particular affinity for the back-end.

I also learned a lot during our final project. We were a group of 3, and we created a gamified dating application called Seduce Me. It was a game with a series of questions and according to the answers, we had access to the profile of the person to seduce in front of us. It was really an original project that allowed us to test a lot of things, especially a chat feature on which I sweated a lot ;-)