Marília Souza had a bright future in sports. With all the characteristics that make a good basketball player, she caught the attention of clubs’ youth categories wherever she went in João Pessoa, Paraíba. She even made it to the state team.

Despite her success on the court, she never neglected her education and combined sports with studies, which were funded by scholarships for athletes. However, fate had a different plan for Marília’s career. An injury forced her to retire from basketball at the age of 20. Her determination, competitiveness, and will to win, however, did not come to an end, they were just redirected to another “playing field.”

Even while playing basketball, Marília had a strong interest in technology. With a lot of effort, her family saved money and gave her the first computer when she was 15 years old. Faced with this passion that had been with her since adolescence, she made a bold decision: to leave the Northeast and head to Rio de Janeiro.

Opportunities in Rio de Janeiro

When she arrived in the Marvelous City at the age of 23, she realized that opportunities were more limited than she had imagined. She had to sell sweets and snacks to support herself until she got a job in telemarketing. That was how she managed to pay the rent for a small studio apartment in the Piscinão de Ramos community, in the North Zone of Rio.

Although leading a decent life, Marília knew she could aim higher. Therefore, she did not hesitate to borrow a computer from her girlfriend and start studying computer science on her own, through videos by Professor Gustavo Guanabara on the internet. That was how she discovered Recode Pro in 2019a free project by Recode that values diversity and trains new full stack programmers, helping them enter the technology job market. “It was the best experience of my life. Finally, I found myself being part of the program and studying what I had always dreamed of,”the young woman recalls.

Everything was going well. It seemed like that “game” would end with a “three-point shot”. However, unforeseen events happened again, and with her financial situation getting complicated, the former athlete had to interrupt another dream and drop out of the program to dedicate herself to a better job. “It was a very difficult choice, but necessary for the moment I was going through,” she remembers.

The reunion with Recode Pro

Marília has already participated in Recode hackathons on technology projects.

Those who think that game had already come to an end are totally mistaken. The game, in fact, only went into “overtime”. The typical resilience of an athlete showed that dreams may be postponed, but never abandoned. She kept studying on her own and, two years later, saw on Recode’s social media that a new edition of the project was about to start. She had no doubts: she applied again and went through the entire selection process again that she had already been through in the past.

Marília, then, not only was accepted but also managed to combine work with classes and activities, which now happened remotely. She learned the technical skills that are required of a junior full stack developer and further improved her socio-emotional skills, which are so important for her career.

The training also had the participation of technology professionals, social entrepreneurs, and artists who participated in frequent conversations to exchange experiences with the young people. One of them was Alok, a DJ and music producer who supports Recode Pro along with the Alok Institute. For Marília, the meeting was inspiring: “It was very important for me to see such a prestigious artist as him having empathy with so many people who, like me, didn’t have opportunities. I am very proud to be part of this story,” she celebrates.

In nowadays…

Currently at 28 years old, the young woman lives with her wife in the neighborhood of Bonsucesso, in the North Zone of Rio. Already graduated as a junior full stack programmer in Recode Pro, she works in the customer relationship sector of an insurance company. Even though she is not yet in the technology field, she is certain that this dream is just another one that will soon be fulfilled: “I want to continue in full stack programming. I long for the day when I will put into practice everything I learned at Recode,” she says.

The same hands she used to make baskets when she played basketball in João Pessoa can now program, from codes to websites and applications, as well as Marília Souza’s own destiny. This game, the young woman has already won. Even knowing that there is still a whole “championship” ahead, the story of perseverance, overcoming, courage, and talent of the Paraiban shows that a new conquest is only a matter of time.