As a child, Jackie Aldama picked up Spanish over pool tables in Boston; so when she ran away from home at the age of fourteen, she headed for Mexico City. Today, Jackie is a Senior Implementation Engineer at Nuxeo, and guides customers through the technical aspects of implementation as well as providing training support. But it all began when she couldn’t get into a graphic design class in Mexico City. “I couldn’t get in, so I took this computer programming class. I had no idea what any of it was, but these friends of mine started a company and needed someone to help with some of the technical stuff.” Jackie built a website and a local server for her friends, and a short time later, co-founded a marketing company, teaching herself the technical skills she needed to know along the way. From the age of fifteen to eighteen, she worked on both businesses, before deciding to return to the United States and pursue a formal education.
Jackie began studying Environmental Science at a community college while working full time as a translator. Struggling to balance her classes with work, she decided to transfer to Computer Science, and received a scholarship for a night program aimed at experienced engineers who never got their degree. “I remember crying every night trying to do homework, and nothing made sense… Still, there was no doubt in my mind, I wasn’t going to drop out. It never crossed my mind to give up.” Jackie recalls a specific moment at an internship where everything about data structures clicked for her, and from then on, things got easier.
After working in a variety of engineering roles that left her burnt out and unfulfilled post-graduation, Jackie decided to apply for the Implementation Engineer position at Nuxeo. The time she spends interacting with customers adds a new and rewarding aspect that was missing before, and after her promotion, part of her responsibilities now include mentoring junior engineers and helping onboard new team members. She draws connections between her own challenges and her success as a trainer and mentor; eventually, Jackie would like to explore a management role where she can help more colleagues succeed and grow at Nuxeo.
I care about my own success of course, but I like seeing other younger folks really start to crush it and do amazing things.