If you know anything about App Academy, you know that the school is forward-thinking. From being the first bootcamp with a risk-free deferred tuition plan, to continually updating the curriculum to match industry needs, App Academy always looks to the future. Naturally, this forward-thinking attitude rubs off on App Academy grads. To demonstrate this, we spoke with three of our alumni with a similar attitude. These App Academy grads are doing everything from reinventing social media to saving lives through Artificial Intelligence. They’re working at companies building products not just for today’s needs, but for tomorrow’s as well.
ChainShot and the Future of Blockchain Education
Read any tech blog and it seems like the next big thing is going to be in blockchain. App Academy alum Cody McCabe might just be at the forefront of the blockchain revolution. He’s part of a company teaching the next wave of developers working in blockchain.
ChainShot is a new learning platform that teaches web developers to build decentralized applications using the Ethereum blockchain. Decentralized applications, or “dapps,” are applications where data is shared across users via blockchain, typically through the Ethereum blockchain. ChainShot designs interactive learning modules to teach users to build their own dapps, without ever leaving their web browser. To make learning more rewarding, ChainShot publishes weekly challenges for users to test their skills.
Cody, who graduated from App Academy last February, currently works at ChainShot as a software engineer.
“My role at ChainShot is pretty extensive as we have a small team,” he explains. “My duties normally include developing front-end and back-end, content creation, and content testing/review.”
As ChainShot is a growing startup, Cody’s job is more varied than that of a typical software engineer. He previously worked as an accountant, and he’s been able to put some of those skills to use. “With my background in accounting, I also help out with the business end of ChainShot,” he said. I maintain the budget as well as help drive sales.”
“Overall, my experience has been fantastic,” Cody continued. “I’ve learned so much in terms of deploying a production application and I’ve been able to rope in my past experience to help push ChainShot forward.”
Cody says that App Academy helped him gain a foundation in programming, and additionally taught him how to learn. He says that his time at App Academy taught him “how to learn new programming languages and incorporate them into an ever-growing toolset.”
Reflecting on his career and life so far, Cody ended with this quote: “Happiness is earned, not found.”
Using AI to Save Lives at One Concern
Companies always look to the future by implementing new, cutting-edge technologies. But what good are those technologies if they don’t have a positive impact on the world? It’s no surprise then, that so many App Academy graduates end up at companies doing meaningful work. For an example, just look to Vickie Chen, a software engineer at One Concern.
One Concern is a startup working to improve natural disaster response using AI, machine learning, and deep learning. Their platform analyzes potential disaster zones to determine the areas likely to be most affected by natural disasters. The platform specifically targets earthquakes and floods.
One Concern with local governments to provide vital information to first responders and disaster preparedness departments. The platform has already helped cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles rethink their approach to earthquake safety.
Aside from the mission, one of Vickie’s favorite aspects of One Concern is her coworkers. She particularly enjoys the guidance that her coworkers provide.
“My mentor has been very supportive, answering any questions I have and giving me pathways to learn and contribute as a new engineer,” she said.
“We have a pretty diverse group from all over the world, and nearly half our data science and engineering teams are women,” she said. “I feel very lucky to be working with such friendly, passionate, and mission-driven people on a product that will help the world navigate through natural disasters.”
Factr’s New Model for Social Media
It seems like every day there’s some new controversy about Facebook or some other social media company. In light of this, many are wondering what’s in store for the future of social media. The future might be in a new kind of social network that this App Academy alum is helping to develop.
App Academy grad Yaakov Beiss is a software engineer for Factr, a social network that focuses on knowledge, not just connections. Users can create and follow “streams” of content centered around different subjects and interests. These streams help users stay on top of the information that matters to them. Each stream is curated by a set of users, ranging from close friends to notable influencers.
Another aspect that sets Factr apart is its ad-free, user-oriented business model. Instead of collecting user data to sell ads, Factr sustains its business by selling a premium subscription option.
Yaakov has been working at Factr since the beginning of 2018. He says that the experience has been “exciting and fulfilling,” both technically and professionally.
He’s grateful for the team he works with, saying that his co-workers are “talented and passionate people who foster a great environment and culture, and are a pleasure to be around.”
“I’ve also had the opportunity to touch every part of the application, build and launch features from scratch, interview new developers, and contribute my voice to the direction of the company,” he continued.
Yaakov credits App Academy with teaching him the technical skills needed to succeed as a developer. However, he also had found that App Academy taught him to succeed in less obvious ways.
“I learned to be unfazed by complex ideas and new technologies, which is an invaluable mindset that will benefit me throughout my career,” he said.