App Academy Alumni Stories: Three Engineers Shining at Innovative Startups

Their companies do everything from supporting independent fashionistas to empowering people of color in the workforce.

While many App Academy alumni work at the Googles and Facebooks of the world, many others go on to work at exciting smaller startups. At these companies, the work is often dynamic and the hours are unpredictable, but the experience can be so incredibly rewarding.

We recently spoke to three App Academy alums at three very different companies. Find out how their App Academy experience prepared them for their startup life!

An App Academy Alum Changing Lives at Jopwell

Sunny works as a software engineer for Jopwell.

Working for a smaller company can be rewarding if the company’s mission aligns with your own values. That’s the case for Sunny Wong, who works at Jopwell.

Sunny graduated from App Academy in February and began working as a software engineer at Jopwell in April. Jopwell is a career advancement platform for Black, Latinx, and Native American job seekers. Jopwell connects employers to a recruiting pool of diverse, qualified candidates. Additionally, the company provides professional support for people of color throughout all career stages.

Sunny is especially excited to know that every line of code he writes has a direct impact on the lives of people of color.

“I am rather proud of what we do, as a good day for us means that we have not only increased the diversity at top companies, but opened up avenues of opportunities for other people of color,” said Sunny. “When I fix a bug or build a feature, I am rewarded instantly knowing that I am helping a well deserved candidate get their desired role. I am helping build a product that has a lasting positive impact for generations to come, in underrepresented communities and I think that is super cool,” he told us in an interview. 

Sunny says the App Academy curriculum prepared him for his work at Jopwell, especially when it came to understanding programming languages. “Learning React, Redux, and other frontend tools was really helpful as I use this knowledge every single day,” he said. 

Growth Engineering and “Embracing Weirdness” with Poshmark

App Academy alum Adrienne Hamrah works for Poshmark, a startup offering an online clothing marketplace.
Adrienne works on the growth engineering team for Poshmark.

Poshmark engineer Adrienne Hamrah has found that working at a more established startup can provide the best of both worlds in terms of professional development and a smaller, unique team.

Even before App Academy, Adrienne had engineering experience and a distinguished resume. With degrees in civil engineering and engineering management, she had worked in network engineering and subsequently, in biotech. Seeking a change, she came to App Academy to break into software development. Quite quickly after graduating from the bootcamp, she found a challenging role at the Redwood City-based company.

Poshmark is an online marketplace where users can sell and purchase clothing from a community of like-minded fashion enthusiasts. Since Poshmark started in 2011, its users have collectively made over $1 billion in clothing sales.

“Six months into working at Poshmark, I’m still pinching myself,” Adrienne said. “After going through seven roles and teams in my career, I can truly say Poshmark has my favorite company culture. Our values are simple — people, love, growth, and ‘embracing our weirdness.’ Being at a late-stage startup is also great because I get to learn about engineering for scale, while still getting the benefits of a smaller organization.”

At Poshmark, Adrienne found that the skills she learned at App Academy translated directly into the workplace. “I code in Ruby on Rails daily and occasionally use JavaScript and CSS,” she said. “Thanks to the solid foundation from a/A’s full stack curriculum, I was able to dive right into the codebase and push out production code in a week!”

Professional and Personal Development at Dokkio

Russell Holz app academy
Russell Holz says his interview prep helped him land the job he wanted.

On the other hand, working at a newer company can provide incredible opportunities for growth, as Russell Holz found at Dokkio.

Before App Academy, Russell worked as a chemist, a Costco clerk, and a Toys R’ Us team member. After graduating in 2016 from App Academy, he took a job as a full-stack engineer for Dokkio.

Dokkio eliminates the headache that comes when a company stores multiple files across different cloud storage accounts. Their platform syncs accounts across different platforms and organizes all of a company’s files on a unified system. Any company using Dokkio will stay organized even when their files are scattered across Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox.

“I am incredibly grateful to have landed at Dokkio,” Russell said. “Working on such a complex platform at such a small start up has been an awesome experience. It has allowed me to grow as an engineer so much faster than I ever thought possible.”

Looking back on his time at App Academy, Russell thinks that the focus on interview prep was essential to landing his current job. “All of the App Academy mock interviews really helped me nail my interview with Dokkio,” he said. “It was the best interview of my life.”

Discover Your Own App Academy Story

If you want to work at a startup that could be the next Microsoft, or if you’d rather just work at the current Microsoft, App Academy can help you make that leap. Apply today to change your life. 

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