Student Interview With Sadie O'Neill
July 13, 2020
Sadie is a V School student, coder, singer and songwriter.
We had the recent pleasure of chatting with Sadie O’ Neil recent V School graduate, coder and front woman for alternative powerhouse City Ghost
VS: Where are you from?
Sadie: LA, CA
VS: How long have you played music?
Sadie: I tried to sing as soon as I could talk, and have been working on finessing it ever since. Piano was my first instrument when I was 8.
I attempted to play classical guitar when I was 15 but only lasted a few months because I got so frustrated and impatient with not sounding good. Five years later I picked it back up and continue to learn more every day.
VS: Can you share some of your first artistic influences?
Sadie: I’ve gotten a ton of inspiration from a wide range of bands and artists. I’ve always loved Amy Winehouse, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), MeWithoutYou, Elliott Smith, Sigur Ros, Tegan and Sara, etc.
VS: As a songwriter and musician what drew you to tech?
Sadie: The tech industry has peeked my curiosity for a while, but it seemed too intimidating knowing how to break into it. I’ve been drawn to tech and coding specifically because it’s another language and another form of creative writing. It honestly wasn’t until experiencing V School for the first time and having conversations that made it seem possible. The vibes are so great, inspiring and creative.
The idea of problem solving and challenging my brain everyday. Also it’s an extremely valuable skill to have and it is so relevant and in demand. I love the creative aspects of it and seeing all the different solutions people come up with.
VS: Now that you’re a skilled developer, what parallels or connection points can you draw between music and coding?
Sadie: I’ll start by saying if you want to achieve something badly enough, you HAVE to be okay with not being very good for a long time and understanding that putting in the work will seriously show over time. Neither have come easy to me at all, but I love the challenge!!
VS: As a woman what is it like to be the face / lead for an alternative rock band?
Sadie: At first I was pretty nervous because I had never really played this style. Before this I was mainly playing folky/acoustic stuff, so I knew I had to bring a lot more energy to this project. It’s been an awesome experience, and the guys have been so supportive and encouraging as far as making everything a super cohesive collaboration. This has been a different and refreshing style for all of us!
VS: Has your experience as a musician made the transition easier, harder, or in anyway similar to being a woman in tech?
Sadie: I love this question!
I’d say it’s very similar in the sense that there are definitely more men in the industry, but I feel that we’re in a time where women are really making a breakthrough and are receiving a lot more support and encouragement. We may be outnumbered, but we’re here for the same reason at the end of the day.
VS: How did you end up finding V School?
Sadie: Time to put V School’s own Matt Mascarenas on the spot…
When he started as the marketing manager here he was telling me about these Campfire events he was organizing where there would be a tech speaker and an acoustic performer, so he asked me to play a few songs. We started our band City Ghost together, so we thought it would be cool to introduce some songs in a new environment. That was my first introduction to V School and I had no idea at the time I would end up taking classes here and I’m so glad I signed up!!
VS: What was your experience like and would you recommend to others?
Sadie: My experience has been more amazing than I thought. The entire V School team is so awesome, helpful and fun. When I’ve talked to some friends that work in tech, they have listed off specific things that hiring managers look for, and it sounds like V School is one of the only coding bootcamps that gives you a well rounded experience.
I would highly recommend V School to anyone with any background!!
VS: All said and done, what are your words of wisdom for newbies looking to break into tech?
Sadie: I would say that if you really want to learn, just go for it!
Do not expect to be great at it by any means, but if you enjoy problem solving you will love this. Also, always count your little wins because that will encourage you to keep going. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help, everyone knows that this is not easy and you are already brave enough for taking on the challenge. When things start to make sense, it gets really exciting!
VS: What’s your dream job in tech?
Company, position, etc?
Sadie: I would love to be on a great team wherever I end up. Adobe would be amazing, Google, Apple, Wordpress, etc. Front End styling with React is my favorite!
VS: We’ve got quite a few students at lot of those companies. Honestly, the company that lands you as a teammate / developer Sadie will be truly lucky.
How can we follow your music?
Sadie: Ah, shucks. Thanks.
VS: How can we follow your tech projects?
Sadie: I haven’t posted anything live yet, but I will have a portfolio up very soon! My GitHub is sadie-r-oneill, and I also have a Linkedin account.
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