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Breaking Into Startups

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We're starting a podcast that features people who came from non traditional backgrounds and broke into startups.

We're starting a podcast that features people who came from non traditional backgrounds and broke into startups.
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We're starting a podcast that features people who came from non traditional backgrounds and broke into startups.








#116 - FFTSquad – A Career Karma Squad of Highly Motivated People Breaking Into Tech Together

Today, we have a special group of people joining us who go by the #FFTSquad. #FFTSquad is a group of people on Career Karma who are working together to help each other grow, learn how to code and switch careers into tech. They were with us early from the very beginning. In fact, a lot of the members of the FFT Squad were part of Career Karma before the app even came out. Here are their names: Meet the FFT Squad: Melanie Harris (Ms. CEO, Lady Savage) Jennifer Weaver (J-Smooth) Elisabeth...


#115: Angela Ceresnie - CEO of Climb Credit on Helping to Finance People's Career Transitions

Angela Ceresnie is the CEO of Climb Credit. She has experience working in and starting multiple startups. She has led teams at Citibank and American Express. Interestingly, she studied computer engineering at the University of Michigan with a technical background. Today, Angela talks about skill-building and the work she's doing at Climb Credit as she tries to build the future for her own kids.


#114: Phaedra Ellis - CEO of Promise on How to Build Power and Take Control of Your Career

Phaedra Ellis is the CEO of Promise, a startup that uses technology for good in the process to change the criminal justice system. Prior to this, she was the leader of the South Bay Labor Council, managing over 110,000 members. Before that, Phaedra was also the CEO of Green for All and is known as a music industry icon for having helped Prince get his master's back as his manager, without having any legal background. What’s interesting is Ruben met Phaedra when he worked with her at Honor....


#113: Tonio DeSorrento - Income Sharing Agreements Explained by CEO of Vemo

Tonio DeSorrento is a New York-native who spent time in the Marines as a captain. He has also worked at several institutions including SoFi. Currently, he serves as the CEO of Vemo Education, a leading provider of income share agreements, which is an innovative financing model not only for coding bootcamps, but also for traditional universities. They are working now with 22 colleges and universities! If you're someone looking to manage your finances as you're preparing for a career...


#112: Chasing your Dreams with Young Guru & Rodney Sampson

Rodney Sampson is the CEO of OHUB while Young Guru is widely known as Jay-Z's DJ. On today’s episode, Ruben joins Rodney & Young Guru to discuss how and why they came together and why they're passionate about creating opportunities for people outside of tech. OHUB has also partnered with Flatiron School, to give $1M in scholarships to people with color who wish to pursue a career in tech through coding bootcamps.


#111: Ameer Brown - Coding Bootcamp Graduate who is a Software Quality Engineer at Adobe

Ameer Brown is a Software Quality Engineer at Adobe. He talks about what it takes to be a successful engineer at Adobe. Outside of work Ameer also organizes parties. He also covers how that helped him take it to another level hosting parties in multiple cities. From being a journalism major, he suddenly left his job, flew to LA, and applied to General Assembly. Through the bootcamp’s Opportunity Fund, Ameer’s coding education was fully funded by Adobe until ultimately getting hired (and he...


#110: Dan Rosensweig - CEO of Chegg, the Playbook for the Modern Day Student

Dan Rosensweig is the CEO of Chegg, an American education company with the aim to provide education that is less expensive, more available, more affordable, and more relevant. On the podcast, Dan explains how it's their responsibility to learn from, listen to, and build for young people. He was formerly the COO of Yahoo! and CEO of Guitar Hero. He's also on the board of several amazing companies. Dan admits Chegg was considered a failure for most of its first 7 years. 8 1/2 years later,...


#109: Cameron Yarbrough - CEO of Torch, on the Importance of Mental Health & Coaching

Cameron Yarbrough is the CEO of Torch and one of the best leadership and executive coaches in the world. In this episode, Cameron talks about coaching for everyone! How Torch got its start and the problems that many CEO’s as well as startup employees have when they are faced with pressure.


#108: Dan Sommer, CEO & founder of Trilogy Education, workforce accelerator for leading universities

Dan Sommer is the CEO and Co-Founder of Trilogy Education Services. Dan has launched partnerships with over 37 of the world's leading universities, providing alternative forms of education on their campuses. They have instructors teaching 200 classes every week. They have thousands of students who have completed Trilogy-powered programs, and 1,500 companies employ them. In May, Dan secured a $50-million Series B and he's been doing a lot of exciting things...


#107: Rich Smith - How A College Dropout Became A Senior Engineer at Netflix

Announcements: Watch the video recording of this episode on Youtube Rich Smith is a Senior UI engineer at Netflix but did you know this was his 17th job? Today, he talks about how he started hustling as early as 4th grader and eventually discovered his interest in coding! On the episode he covers a lot of topics as what it was like growing up with role models who were athletes, which a lot of us could relate with. And how not until he dropped out...


#106: Balaji Srinivasan - CTO of Coinbase, How Everyone Can be an Investor

Balaji Srinivasan is the CTO of Coinbase. Prior to that, he was a co-founder of Counsyl, Earn, Teleport, and a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Today, he talks about his insights into traditional education vs. alternative education, as well as numerous concepts on technical debt, voice vs. exit, idea maze, idea vs. education, and more! Balaji has a very interesting mindset in that he believes that not everybody can be a founder, but everybody can be an investor.


#105: Rick O'Donnell - CEO of Skills Fund, Providing Financing to Coding Bootcamp Students

Rick O’Donnell is the Founder and CEO of Skills Fund, a place that provides people with an opportunity to acquire skills and they also provide financing for students as they're doing a career transition. Prior to Skills Fund, Rick worked as an Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies as well as the Director for the Department of Higher Education where he oversaw 29 public colleges and universities in Colorado. Since its founding in 2015, Skills Fund has provided...


#104: Leanne Pittsford - Founder of Lesbians Who Tech & Tech Jobs Tour

There are half a million open tech jobs, and yet, diversity in tech continues to be a problem. The key is in building relationships and connecting people with the right companies that need their skills the most. Leanne Pittsford is the founder of Lesbians Who Tech, the largest LGBTQ community of technologists in the world with over 40,000 members. She is also the founder of Tech Jobs Tour, connecting diverse, underrepresented, and nontraditional talent with companies across the country....


#103: Madelyn Tavarez - How a Part-time Bootcamp helped her Become an Android Engineer

Our guest on the podcast has a remarkable story. Madelyn Tavarez did a part-time bootcamp, while holding a full-time job. She taught herself how to code. And became a software engineer at Pinterest now building products for hundreds of millions of people. She is also a Dominican Republic-native who grew up in Washington Heights and due to her own drive and curiosity was able to change her circumstance. Her senior year of college she went from being a bartender to an “eat, pray, love” moment...


#102: Austen Allred - CEO of Lambda School

Austen Allred is the CEO and Co-Founder of Lambda School. Recently coming out of Y Combinator, Lambda now has thousands of students. Prior to this, he served as a Growth Expert at LendUp. Lambda School is an online bootcamp that gives students the tools and training they need to launch their career in software engineering at no upfront cost. Their end goal is to eliminate all the distractions related to income, living expenses & time so students can focus on transitioning into their dream...


#101: Avi Flombaum - Co-Founder of Flatiron School

Avi Flombaum is a lifelong educator. He is the Co-Founder of Flatiron School, which grew to thousands of students and got acquired by WeWork. Prior to starting Flatiron School, Avi also built several companies. Avi’s philosophy believes that education should mold and flex to the needs of the student. On this episode, he shares his insights about their different programs and how they’re making education more accessible to people without having to carry that huge financial burden themselves.


#100: David Harris - How an App Academy graduate became a Software Engineer at Omada Health

Moving from Atlanta to the Bay Area, from being a writer, artist, to mathematician, David Harris completed App Academy and became a software engineer. By combining hard work and the power of networking, David ultimately landed a full-time job at Omada Health. In this episode, David talks about his struggles and how he hustled his way to success. He’s also dishing out a ton of resources you can use whether you’re preparing for a bootcamp or prepping for an interview. David is the brother of...


#99: Iris Nevins - Teacher Who Became a Software Engineer at Mailchimp

In 2017, Iris Nevins decided to leave her work as a teacher in Florida to attend a bootcamp in the Bay Area - but it was not without its own struggles. Iris believes that when you’re on your path, no matter the road blocks, serendipitous things will happen. In 2018, Iris landed a job as a software engineer at MailChimp, an Atlanta-based marketing automation platform (although Iris works remotely in Oakland). Quick trivia: MailChimp sends out a whopping billion emails per day! Iris is also...


#98: Galvanize's acquisition of Hack Reactor - Al Rosabal & Shawn Drost

Galvanize and Hack Reactor have now merged to become bigger and better in the bootcamp space. With the merger, Shawn who is the Cofounder of Hack Reactor and a returning guest on the Podcast, is now serving as SVP of Strategy and Innovation. Galvanize has eight campuses across the U.S. including San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Austin, Denver (2), Boulder, and New York City. They're primarily engaged in immersive education, enterprise work, and co-working. Hack Reactor is one of the largest...


#97: Ryan Carson - CEO of Treehouse on How You Can Start Learning to Code

Ryan Carson is the Founder and CEO of Treehouse. He grew up in Colorado and is currently in Portland. Today, he talks about the future of education, work, and more! Treehouse is an online school that teaches adults how to code and build apps so they gain a super power. Running for 8 years now, they've taught over 850,000 people how to code, with currently 80,000 enrolled students. Their mission is simple: to change lives through rebooting the talent pipeline in America and the world!