3 International Cities Where App Academy Alumni Work

Where would you want to work if you could choose any place?


When App Academy students graduate with experience as full-stack software developers, they have their choice of jobs anywhere in the world. With more and more technology companies moving to large international cities, many of them choose to live in some of them, including the most cosmopolitan, diverse places. This includes iconic cities like Tokyo, New York City, and London, cultural capitals with great entertainment, economic opportunities, and vibrant micro-communities.

We spoke to three graduates currently enjoying themselves in such cities. Check them out.

New York, NY — Sebastian Jay, App Academy Class of Winter ‘15 — Senior Software Engineer at Bloomberg LP

sebastian_jay_app_academy_bloombergLiving in New York City

Eating $1 pizza at a 4th of July concert while watching fireworks, exploring the nightlife, and then taking the subway home safely at night is one thing you can only do in New York City, according to Sebastian Jay. The Economics major, App Academy alum, and now Senior Software Engineer at Bloomberg explained to us why he chose to live and work in New York.

The main reason, he says, is because New York feels like the center of the world. It has everything he desires in his life beyond tech. This includes running paths, awesome restaurants, and access to a great, vibrant nightlife without needing to get on a car. Sebastian currently lives in Long Island City, a trendy neighborhood in Queens a subway stop away from Manhattan. He also enjoys going to the Long Island City waterfront or Central Park to run.

When not running, Sebastian is dedicated to his pizza eating. The best one of all, he says, can be found on the Lower East Side, while his favorite bagel is at Bricktown Bagels, near his home.

Sebastian’s path to becoming a software engineer

During his undergraduate career at Whitman College, Sebastian never took a computer science class because the University didn’t have a dedicated Computer Science major available. Just as he was about to graduate from Whitman College in 2014, though, a close friend told him about coding bootcamps and, in particular, about the success of alums coming out of App Academy.

After a period of research, Jay applied and got into the Winter 2015 App Academy full-time cohort in San Francisco. During the twelve-week bootcamp, Sebastian learned fullstack web-development and really pushed himself. He said the fundamental knowledge of JavaScript, web servers, and debugging helped him at every tech job he’s had since graduating, including at Fairy, the hotel service app, and UpCounsel, the virtual marketplace of legal services. At Bloomberg he has used Java, Ruby on Rails, and JavaScript.

Sebastian wants to create his own startup in the future.

Washington D.C. — Nate Chapman, Class of Summer ‘17 — Front-End Developer at Govini

Living in the nation’s capital

Nate recently moved to Washington D.C. to start his job as a Front-End Developer at Govini, a data-science startup. He described to us how being in the nation’s capital is thrilling, even for those who prefer to stay out of politics.

“You get the news here first and it’s felt first-hand,” explains Nate. In fact, Nate describes how Washington D.C. reflects this immediacy with lively and eclectic entertainment options that cater to many different lifestyles, including his own, which tends toward cultural appreciation.

The young alum, who attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, often takes advantage of D.C.’s offerings. He enjoys playing volleyball on a local team near his home in Arlington, VA and loves to check out historical monuments and museums. For out-of-towners, Nate suggests visiting new exhibits at the National Archives and the Smithsonian.

On going through App Academy to become a front-end developer

Late in his undergraduate career at Illinois, Nate discovered his talent for programming after taking a couple CS classes. But it was too late for him to change from industrial engineering. So he graduated and put programming aspirations on hold to become a financial analyst.

As an analyst, he used technical skills to drive decision-making but it wasn’t a satisfying or challenging enough job. Then one day, he says, he was assigned a data visualization project that changed his career ambitions and made him really get after programming. After researching online about possible options, Nate found out about App Academy’s history, its alums, and the value that coding bootcamps in general had in the future economy.

So Nate decided to attend a coding bootcamp over going back to college. The one twist is that that he wanted a way to become a great engineer as fast as possible — only by getting a job as fast possible could he make his switch viable. And since Nate saw that App Academy’s student reviews consistently brought students the speed and effectiveness with which they needed to get a great job quickly, within less than a year, he applied to the bootcamp over other options.

Thirty-seven days after graduating last summer in 2017, Nate was hired as a Front-End Developer for Govini. Having just moved to Washington D.C. for this position, Nate plans to remain at the company to gain valuable experience. In the future, he told us he’ll likely continue to live in a big city, maybe returning to Chicago or moving to New York.

Amsterdam, Netherlands — Sven ten Haaf, Class of Fall ‘15 — Freelance React Native Developer at de Persgroep Nederland

On growing up and working professionally in Amsterdam

Having been born in Amsterdam, Sven has called the city home for more of his life. His favorite aspect of living in his hometown is the constant funnel of meetups, get-togethers and parties with his friends. Outside of this, Sven says Amsterdam has the greatest “carpe diem culture” when it comes to enjoying nice weather. People just enjoy it and don’t think about the rest, he says. 

But, there are also many other reasons beyond parties why Sven enjoys living in Amsterdam.

The city provides leisure activities at all seasons, something Sven has not experienced in other cities. In the summertime, for example, he takes a 45-minute bike ride from his residence in the historic old-town to the Dutch coast to windsurf. In the winter, Sven has many European ski slopes a short train ride away. But there are also professional benefits to working in Amsterdam.

Even though major tech breakthroughs tend not to happen in Amsterdam, Sven enjoys working as a software developer in the city because it’s so safe. Whether he stays late at the office or goes out at night, he doesn’t worry about his safety. In fact, he often gets up at 2AM to go wherever he wants!

On traveling to San Francisco to attend App Academy

Sven is one of the international students who’ve moved to San Francisco or New York to learn software development at App Academy. He wanted to attend a school that would help him transition from a civil engineer to a software engineer but there were limited resources back in the Netherlands. So he decided to come to the U.S.

He was sold on App Academy because of their deferred tuition model and great reviews and mentioned that Wired’s review of App Academy gave him confidence the program was truthful and successful. In the end, App Academy helped him break into tech in Amsterdam.

After graduating from App Academy, Sven was hired as a product manager at White Lioness Technologies, a computerized manufacturing startup based in the Netherlands. Sven says that Git was the one tool he used at every job since graduating and he’s grateful to have learned how to best use it at the bootcamp.


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Written by Lorenz Menendez

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