Zachary Lopez

So Much Learning

It’s a been a touch over 6 weeks since I started at Fivestars and I wanted to provide an update on how things are going.

Holy crap there are so many things to learn!

I felt super prepared by Hack Reactor, but there is just so much to get acclimated to in a real working environment.

After a few days of setting up my computer, I then spent the next week learning Python, reading tutorials, and trying to figure out the code base. I will say that in this period, the dreaded Impostor Syndrome reared its ugly head yet again.

Job Hunt is Over / What I learned

And just like that, the job hunt is over. I am excited to announce that I’ve accepted a software engineering position with Fivestars. I am absolutely thrilled and think it will be a great match for both the company and myself.

Here are the things that I have learned through the job hunt process. Hopefully, this is helpful for those of your going through it or heading into it.

Job Hunt - 2 Weeks In

When you are applying for jobs two weeks can feel both like a very long time and a very short time. One thing I have to keep reminding myself of is that the hiring process can take a while on the other side of the table. In my former career, a fast hire would be a month at best. Because of this, I can’t stress out over when a company gets back to me or when I will finally secure employment.

This whole period feels very different. It is like Hack Reactor was this nurturing protective bubble around all of us. Now we are in the real world and have to deal with real things. Don’t get me wrong, Hack Reactor is actually super supportive in this period. The main difference is that the daily schedule you make is completely your own and this feels strange after so much structure.


I still kinda can’t believe that today is graduation. It is the last day of the 12 weeks. I am happy and proud of my cohort. I can’t wait to see which companies we all end up at.

I have zero regrets about this journey. If you are on the fence about Hack Reactor, I would say do it. I can’t recommend it more highly.

Here’s to graduation and all the new adventures to come.

Project Links & Advice for Juniors

Here are links to a few of the projects I completed at Hack Reactor:

Q-Radio is a rapid music discovery engine powered by machine learning. You listen to 30 second track, called RadSlices, and rate music. Quentin, our music Q-rator, then recommends new songs based on your likes and dislikes. This project integrates with Spotify and allows you to add to a special Spotify playlist so that you can enjoy the full songs.


Jaunt is a mobile responsive platform for storing and sharing data about walks through your city. The key idea is that a person can store their Jaunt and then a friend or other user can follow that exact journey. Not all features are built out, but you can play around and get a sense for what is there.