Catalina Laverde

Catalina Laverde

Backend Software Engineer


Los Angeles, CA USA

Fake it until you make it...Believing in yourself, being your own advocate, won’t be easy. But you’ve got to stretch. Embrace those challenges because they are going to make you who you are.


By Roadtrip Nation

Catalina Laverde

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My road in life took a while to figure out.
Born and raised in a small town outside of Bogota, Colombia.
Spent the majority of her younger years indoors studying, reading, and writing because it wasn’t safe to play outside.
Early on, she developed an interest in journalism and worked for a local radio station throughout her teen years—she always assumed she would eventually become a journalist.
After graduating high school, she had a change of heart and decided that she wanted to pursue something new and challenging, which led her to software engineering.
Admits her first exposure to computers and programming came during her first semester of college, before that she had never taken a computer class.
When she was 18, she decided to move to the U.S. to finish her college degree and give herself more opportunities—arrived with 1 suitcase, $200, and didn’t speak a word of English.
Got accepted to Rutgers University, where she majored in computer science—her mother sold their family home in Columbia in order to help her pay for her tuition.
She is now a Senior Software Engineer at Spotify and is the Co-Founder of Civic Action Network, an organization bridging the gap between Congress and Constituents.
Keep following my journey


High School
Associate's Degree
Computer Science
Bergen Community College
Computer Science
Rutgers University-New Brunswick


Backend Software Engineer

I write code that tells computers what to do and how to do it.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

My day starts with "Standup", where the team and everyone else gives an update of what we did the day before and what we’re doing next. There are some meetings scheduled to discuss current projects, blockers, and make design plans. I allocate part of my day to coding, answering emails, and reading documentation from other projects I can learn from.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Communication skills! Learning how to effectively communicate your ideas, provide feedback, receive feedback, and acting like a team player goes a long way.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Learn how to code and explore different coding languages. There are tons of tutorials online and for free, be curious about it and give it a try.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

Associate's Degree
Computer Science
Computer Science


The Noise I Shed

From Family:

"Whatever major you pick, you have to finish."

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation Immigrant
Gender & Racial Discrimination