Latina In America Podcast

Empowering Latinas in Tech with Lidia De La Cruz: Software Engineer, AfroLatina in Tech, and Founder of Poderosa Coding

Episode Summary

Breaking Barriers in Tech. Meet Lidia De La Cruz, Software Engineer, AfroLatina in Tech, and Founder of Poderosa Coding. Lidia shares her inspiring story of how she overcame rejection and redirection to achieve her goal of working in the tech industry. With a desire to empower other Latinas to pursue tech careers, Lidia created Poderosa Coding, a platform that offers free tech resources, templates, coffee chats and plans of action. And of course, we also talk about travel. Lidia provides practical advice for those looking to transition into tech and emphasizes the importance of diversity in the industry. Join us for an inspiring conversation on breaking barriers, empowering underrepresented communities, and on how diverse voices and perspectives can shape the future of the tech industry. Whether you're a Latina looking to break into tech, or simply interested in learning more about how to empower underrepresented communities, this episode is for you.

Episode Notes

Breaking Barriers in Tech. Meet Lidia De La Cruz, Software Engineer, AfroLatina in Tech, and Founder of Poderosa Coding. Lidia shares her inspiring story of how she overcame rejection and redirection to achieve her goal of working in the tech industry. With a desire to empower other Latinas to pursue tech careers, Lidia created Poderosa Coding, a platform that offers free tech resources, templates, coffee chats and plans of action.

In our conversation, Lidia talks about how she uses her skills and platform to make a positive impact. In this epidose, Lidia shares:

Her Instagram page @poderosacoding offers resources, templates, and free coffee chats to those looking to follow in her footsteps.

"Rejection is redirection - you have to get uncomfortable to get comfortable."

If you're interested in breaking barriers or pursuing a career in tech, this episode is for you!

We encourage you to share this episode with your friends and colleagues who may be interested in these topics and stay tuned for more thought-provoking conversations on our podcast.

About Lidia:

Instagram: Poderosa Coding

LinkedIn: Lidia De La Cruz, Developer Advocate

Resources: Poderosa Coding Links and More


Other episodes you'll enjoy:

Karina | Latina Equestrian | Inclusivity and Diversity in STEM

Natalie | The Latina Techie

Sandra | Starting Over - Path to a New Career | Europe

Martina | Personal Development | New York Travel

Joyce | Brazilian in New York | Finance | Budapest Travel

Lorena | Texan | Hospitality Entrepreneur | Mexico City Travel


Life 100 Podcast:

Experiencing the World Together: An Invitation to Learn about Different Cultures in 2023

Connect with me:

Instagram: @LatinaInAmerica

Other Show: Life 100 Podcast

Article: Life 100 Podcast featured on OPRAH Magazine (@oprahdaily) #26

Linktree: Latina In America


Episode Transcription

 Empowering Latinas in Tech with Lidia De La Cruz: Software Engineer, AfroLatina in Tech, and Founder of Poderosa Coding

[0:00:12] Rosie: Welcome to Latina in America, your bilingual destination for all things Latina about our diverse culture, professions, and passion to travel. I am Rosie. Our special guests will share their career journeys and will take us to amazing places around the world. On some episodes, they will take you on those journeys in Spanish, asi es en espanol. So come on and join me. Let's learn and travel.


[0:00:49] Rosie: And what an episode I have for you today with Lidia De La Cruz, a software engineer, Afro Latina in technology, and the founder of @PoderosaCoding platform. Lidia has been featured in places like Univision, Buenos Dias America, Be Latina News. And today we have the honor to have her as our guest. So, Lidia, welcome to the show.


[0:01:15] Lidia De La Cruz: Thank you, Rosie, for that introduction. And I'm happy to be here and talk with you all.


[0:01:20] Rosie: I found you on social media, poderosacoding. I was inspired because you are documenting the way that you started and where you are now. And that is so important because there are so many people who want to do what you're doing, but they don't even know where to begin. Let's go ahead and start from the beginning. Tell me, what is your heritage? How do you identify yourself?


[0:01:44] Lidia De La Cruz: So I am an Afro Latina. That's how I identify myself. Born and raised in the Bronx. My father is from Dominican Republic and my mother is from Guatemala. I'm the oldest daughter, have three other siblings. I'm bilingual. I speak Spanish and English. My first language is Spanish. I actually learned English in school


[0:02:07] Rosie: In the ESL classes… And how was your on ringing in the Bronx? What do you remember?


[0:02:11] Lidia De La Cruz: So this is very interesting. My mother, growing up, she was very, very strict, and she has reasons to have been strict. Being outside wasn't something that she allowed us to do. Instead, she would take us to the park or she'll take us to new places and museums or spend time with family. More of it was spending time with tios and primos, etc.. Another thing too, my mom is from Guatemala, so her culture and her upbringing is entirely different than my father's. 

My parents are divorced, so every other weekend I'll go to my dad. So every weekend I was exploring something new, like I was going with my mom, comiendo tortillas y frijoles. So then in the weekends, comiendo sancocho and tostones with my dad. So every weekend was like something different, primos and primas from that side of the family. And me being Afro Latina and being from Guatemala heritage, I look different than my other primos, my other Dominican primos. The way I spoke Spanish is entirely different from them, right?


[0:03:17] Rosie: Completely, yes. completely.


[0:03:19] Lidia De La Cruz: Completely. I won't forget there was a weekend where my dad was like, you know, you have to say “bendicion papi” every time you see me.


[0:03:28] Rosie: Los puertorriquenos lo decimos tambien, bueno somos vecinos, los dominicanos y puertorriquenos. It's like asking for the blessings. Okay, es importante. That's the so important about our heritage, that even though we have so much in common, we are so unique in so many ways.


[0:03:42] Lidia De La Cruz: Yes.


[0:03:42] Rosie: Right. And that is the message I want to bring, that, yes, we have so many things in common, but we are so uniquely designed. And in your upbringing, I was going to ask you, were you exposed to what you do now as a software engineer? Or if you were not exposed, what took you there? Tell me your journey to what you're doing right now.


[0:04:03] Lidia De La Cruz: So, growing up, my parents are immigrant. I'm the oldest daughter, so I am the dream. My parents met here in the US. When they got here, they both have American dreams, and they had visions of how they want their children to succeed. So growing up, it was like, be a doctor, lawyer. That's all I heard. And I kept being pushed towards, but I didn’t . I went to college. I studied here in New York. I went to CUNY Lehman College. I studied psychology, bachelor's. I wanted to work with kids. I ended up working with kids for about six years, and I couldn't find myself in the school setting. I couldn't find a position that I feel like I would enjoy and be able to give back to kids. I couldn't.


[0:04:44] Lidia De La Cruz: And now fast forward, I do, but at a different capacity. And one of the things I want to say before I jump into this is that rejection is redirection. So I want to hold on to that quote because that is exactly how my life took a toll, literally. I decided to go get a master's in occupational therapy again, in hopes that I can be a therapist that help kids. I got rejected. That rejection led me to question myself, like, okay, I don't have a plan B. What do I do now? But I'm a very vocal person, and I'm an also a social butterflies. And I started asking around people like, oh my gosh, I don't know what to do next. I was in a space where I was connected with a Latina who was in cybersecurity, who saw my work, who saw my skills. I was like, “Wait a minute. Look at what the things you have done. Look at your skill set.” She was like, “we need more Latinas in tech. You can do this.”


[0:05:39] Lidia De La Cruz: So she was like, bringing me over to the other side. So one thing led to the other. I got curious. I didn't shut her down. I looked into resources. I went online, and I saw an interview of CNBC Millennial Money, Bukola Ayodele a black woman who taught herself how to code. And it was making six figures based out of New York City. Same culture and heritage. Her parents told her she could only be a doctor or lawyer, which she was not. And she decided to be a software engineer, taught herself, and became that. So me seeing that on screen, being able to see another woman of color, someone who shared the same culture .


[0:06:17] Rosie: Representation matter…


[0:06:19] Lidia De La Cruz: I was like, wait a minute, this is my side, this is my message. And one thing led to the other. 2019, I decided, you know what, 2020 is my year. I didn't know what pandemic was going to happen. 2020 was my year. And I told myself I'm going to pivot into tech in 2020. And I did just that. I attended a coding boot camp. I graduated December 2020 as a software engineer. And fast forward, I've been in this field now for about a year and five months.


[0:06:45] Rosie: And that is so beautiful to hear you say that, because when I looked in your profile and it shows the steps that you took and that beautiful certificate that you have that you're making that change because the important thing is that you were open to different things. You are open to see what else can I do? Because we always have to learn. I mean, learning is the non-stop and you're always going to be learning, learning.


[0:07:08] Lidia De La Cruz: We're students of the world.


[0:07:10] Rosie: We are students of the world and always it's going to be something new. So I'm so glad that you took that opportunity and you grabbed it and you gave yourself the opportunity and the grace to start something that you have no idea where you started from zero, right?


[0:07:27] Rosie: And now that you have done that and you've been working on this for a year or two, a couple of years now,  what is the experience that you have had so far?


[0:07:38] Lidia De La Cruz: To be honest with you, I think that was very lucky. I feel like I manifested my job. I was very intentional with what kind of company I wanted to work with. I was very scared. I was very scared, but the entire time I did it, being scared. Another quote that I love is you have to get uncomfortable to get comfortable. And I was very uncomfortable. But I was embracing that uncomfortability because I knew at one point I was going to get comfortable with being a software engineer, being able to code, fighting impostor syndrome. And my experience thus far has been a beautiful journey and this is why I continue to share with people because I am the mirror of what they're looking for. I am their reflection of being able to confirm to themselves like, wow, Lidia did it. We have same trajectories, we have the same background, maybe same culture, maybe there's something that someone out there can relate to me in any way. And I am just here affirming like, listen, this is exactly what I did and you can do it too. I'm not hiding anything. I'm very transparent on how I got here and you can do it as well. And my experiences has been entirely amazing.


[0:08:43] Lidia De La Cruz: It's been a beautiful journey. There have been some obstacles and roadblocks. I'm not going to say here lie. It's been all great. I've had moments where I've cried and I cry, but thus far, it has been a beautiful experience. And I'm very, very grateful that I chose this path that I am here and the people that I've connected with through this community and through this career change. I mean, I would do it again.


[0:09:09] Rosie: This is phenomenal. And now let's take a few seconds for a word from our sponsor. This episode is brought to you by our parent show Life 100 Podcast, as seen on Oprah Daily, where we talk everything about life in English, in Spanish, and also in Spanish. You can listen at or on your favorite platform. And now back to Latina in America. Another thing that I like about you, is that you are bringing all these resources forward, all these classes available. Tell me, what is your mission and how do you make it happen? Because you are doing things that only people dream about, but you are doing it. Tell me about all these programs that you have access to and how do you make that happen?


[0:10:01] Lidia De La Cruz: When I first started my journey, @PoderosaCoding came about not seeing someone out there that looks like me or talking about it, because when I decided to change to do software engineering, I was like, wait, let me go on Instagram , TikTok, somewhere in the world, someone is going to do this. What I'm doing, someone already did it. And someone who probably has some tips to share with. So I went on the Internet, I went on Instagram, social media, and I didn't see no page. No one talking about being a Latina or Afro Latina or a woman from New York City. Nothing. Nobody talked about them doing this. And I'm like, wait a minute. There cannot be no one that has done this. I can't be the first person. So I built @PoderosaCoding. I was like, I'm going to build a platform where I'm going to talk about it, I'm going to share resources and I'm going to be open and transparent because I am going to be what I would have wanted to have seen when I started my journey. Someone's got to do it. So I'm going to go ahead and do it.


[0:10:59] Lidia De La Cruz: And I feel like for me, my mission is to be that representation, to show people that you can do it. Literally. I am no different than you. We are all unique in several ways. My mission is to empower other people, but people who are in underserved communities, people that look like me, Latina, people from the Bronx, woman from the Bronx. There's such a heavy stigma of anybody from the Bronx. Oh, you're from the Bronx, you're a statistic. And I'm here to prove that. No, I'm in a field that lacks representation, but that is not going to be for long. We are going to make these movements. We're going to come into these spaces and we're going to continue to come into these spaces because I'm not going to be the first and I'm not going to be the last. So I am here holding your seat. You're going to be part of this too. And I want to empower people to believe in that. What I did, anyone can do.


[0:11:51] Lidia De La Cruz: And I am so happy that I have access to these resources that were not there when I started my journey. And I want to put these resources out there because it will change someone's life. And what better thing as a human, what better satisfaction is to know that I changed someone's life by just sharing something that I had access to. People reached out to me like, Lidia, you posted this resources and I was scared, but I applied to it and look at where I'm at now. Women who are mothers, women who are wives, women who are Latinas are telling me these things. I want to be able to leave this earth, to be able to change the world. And if by me sharing these resources is me changing the world or helping someone, then that is the least I can do because it's not taking a lot from me. It's just me sharing, being open and transparent.


[0:12:47] Rosie: And how sweet it is, because we have seen that it's possible. And all these places that you go, I have seen you in Univision that you had an interview there, Be Latina News, what are some of the things that have brought you so much satisfaction that you knew that this is exactly where you need to be right now?


[0:13:08] Lidia De La Cruz: It has to be people telling me how they use my resources and how they changed their life and how I impacted them. People who didn't believe in themselves and were stuck in not believing that they can make the career change, but seeing my story, seeing how transparent I am, gave them that motivation. We're put on this Earth for many purposes. And if my purpose is to be able to do what I'm currently doing, I will continue to do it, to continue to make an impact. Because I think of the little girl from the Bronx, the little Afro Latina girl who is Dominican Guatemalan, who was navigating tough waters as a first gen, as the oldest daughter, as a bilingual learner. I think of myself, that little girl, and I think of her all the time. And I think of the upcoming generation on how I can make an impact that just honestly, just propels me and fulfills me to hear that from people.


[0:14:06] Rosie: So for definition, what is a software engineer?


[0:14:10] Lidia De La Cruz: So a software engineer is a person who creates and builds applications. So you can think of websites, all the phone applications on your phone, someone who programs and specifically is a computer language to be able to show you and tell the computer what to show and display to the person, pretty much. So there's a lot of background work that happens in creating a website, creating an application, and it's literally just writing the language to communicate with a computer. That's usually my simple explanation to go to.


[0:14:39] Rosie: And for any background, what are some of the skills that you see that can apply to software engineering?


[0:14:45] Lidia De La Cruz: I think the top three skills that I always share with folks is someone who's a problem solver. You have to be able to solve problems and understand that will be your day to day interaction, is being able to hit these roadbumps and be able to problem solve them. Because at the end of the day, you are literally learning a language on how to communicate to a computer. It's not conversational language, it's computer language. And you are going to be hit with a lot of road bumps and be able to be a problem solver and surpass them. I think that's one. Number two, I think another thing that you have to do is being able to communicate. How to communicate with your upper management, how to communicate with your team as well, being able to use your words and be verbally communicating and saying, “I need help”, because people will help you. And I think thirdly is being curious to say, I want to be able to write this, but what happens if I do it differently? Being able to be curious, to experiment with different technologies, entertain your curiosity because that will take you so far.


[0:15:46] Rosie: And this curiosity I was going to bring you to travel, because travel has to do a lot with curiosity. When you go to different places in different areas, in different states, maybe even different countries, is a specific place that you have been, that you know, that has a special place in your heart?


[0:16:03] Lidia De La Cruz: So a country that I have been, so that I have a very special place in my heart has to be Costa Rica. I went there the people, the nature, the environment, but I think mostly for all the people. The people of Costa Rica are just amazing, heartwarming, just loving people. I don't think I had a negative experience whatsoever in Costa Rica. The conversation. I was very much impressed with the entire educational system. I really, really fell in love with Costa Rica. One destination that I really want to go to is Bali. So I'm just throwing that out there. The food, the beaches, the culture as well, the warm weather. I think that's what's calling me. I'm very much into being under the sun.


[0:16:48] Rosie: This has been such a great conversation. If there is anyone out there who's thinking, I'm going to see what is available, what will be the first step to take, and how they can get in touch with you, the best way to find you.


[0:17:03] Lidia De La Cruz: My Instagram page @PoderosaCoding has a ton of content. I have action plans step by step on how you can start pivoting into Tech, figuring out where you see yourself in Tech. Once you've navigated and identify what Rosie you want to pivot into from there, you just have to start taking these actionable steps. So my Instagram page has a lot of tips on how to start. I also have a resource template based on the role that you are interested in. I have access to many resources. I put an amazing template together which you can find in my bio on Instagram where you can see all these amazing again, free resources. So I always tell folks my Instagram is the one stop shop @PoderosaCoding on Twitter, TikTok, and if you want, you can connect with me too via LinkedIn. And I also do coffee chats and my coffee chats are free. I love talking to people about this and again, that's on my Instagram Bio as well.


[0:17:56] Rosie: Well, Lidia De La Cruz, thank you so much for being with us, for sharing your knowledge, your passion. I am so excited about the future because I know we're going to have more of you because of your reach. And I just can't wait for the day that it's not even a surprise when you said, what do you do? I am a Software Engineer. 

[0:18:36] Lidia De La Cruz: Thank you.


[0:18:37] Rosie: And I will be following your page because it is full of information and inspiration.


[0:18:44] Lidia De La Cruz: Inspiration. Love it. Thank you, Rosie.


[0:18:47] Rosie: Thanks for finding and subscribing to Latina in America so you don't miss a thing. And if you like this episode, give us a five star review so we can be put in front of more listeners. For details and show notes and how you can connect with and support our guests, please go to, email us at and follow us on Instagram @LatinaInAmerica, links can be found on the website. This has been Rosie, a Latina in America.