Mobile Developer Spotlight: Alan Fineberg, iOS Engineer at Square

We recently had the chance to speak with Alan Fineberg, an iOS engineer at Square who’s worked for companies including Google, Zillow and Yelp. Alan gives some incredibly interesting insight into his personal career journey from web to mobile development, and provides some helpful tips for beginners looking to get started in iOS or software development in general!

Alan Fineburg

What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Alan Fineberg. I’m an iOS engineer at Square, working primarily on the Register app for iPhone and iPad.

How would you describe your education and career progression?

I feel like my progression was fairly straightforward. I tried teaching myself how to code as a teenager with mixed results, studied Computer Engineering at UW in Seattle, and had a couple of internships. But I was uncertain about the job market when I graduated because the U.S. economy had just fallen off a cliff.

Fortunately, plenty of tech companies were still hiring at the time. I landed a job with Yelp as a web developer where I coded in Python. Mobile development and the iPhone in particular were blowing up, and after a year, I shifted from web development to iOS, which I’m still focused on.

Intersect 2016: The Wrap

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Can it be true? Is Intersect 2016 really over? It doesn’t seem possible! This incredible event has occupied our hearts and minds for so long, it’s hard to believe it’s already come and gone. But alas, it’s true. Our inaugural Intersect 2016 Summit is officially over. Oh, but what a time it was!

If you’re not familiar with Intersect, this was a very special event we hosted on behalf of a select group of Nanodegree students, presenting them with an opportunity to come to Silicon Valley, meet with and learn from a group of incredible thought leaders and influencers, attend workshops with Udacity instructors and subject matter experts, and network with one another, as well as representatives from a shortlist of top Silicon Valley companies.

Students were asked to apply, and through a rigorous and personalized selection process, we ultimately landed on—and extended invitations to—75 Nanodegree program students, who joined us last weekend for the big event.

Was it successful? If we’re to go by students responses that came to us via post-event survey, then yes! With a disclaimer. It should have been longer! Which ultimately is pretty lovely affirmation! But more on that later.

Year Up + Udacity = Student Success!

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My name is Rena Ansbacher, and this is my Udacity story.

It begins when I moved back to the United States from Israel. I was focused on schoolwork that would lead to earning a Bachelor’s degree, but I also wanted a pathway to a job. I didn’t have a lot of time to search for an internship, but I knew that I needed a roadmap to a career. That’s where Year Up came in.

Year Up

Year Up is a workforce development program that empowers young adults to go from poverty to professional careers in a year. I attended a Year Up open house and was immediately embraced by the warm atmosphere. It was that day that I promised myself I would find a way to connect with this community. I applied and was accepted into Year Up,

During my training at Year Up, I was introduced to the Udacity Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree and received a scholarship from Udacity and AT&T. I have no background in tech but it was clear this wasn’t limited to just “technical” people. The Nanodegree program gives you the mindset to troubleshoot problems independently.

Go From Hireable To Hired With Career Advisor!

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There are many paths to career success, and while we all generally share a similar end goal—landing our dream job, being successful, enjoying a fulfilling life—we all start in different places. Some of us literally begin at square one. We don’t have the skills we need, we don’t have the experience required, and we don’t have any portfolio evidence of our accomplishments. But we want to learn! Others of us have some of the puzzle pieces assembled, but still need a few items to flesh out the picture. But we’re ready for our careers to advance! And finally, there are those of us who are essentially already ready to be hired, but for some reason the switch isn’t flipping.

Nanodegree Programs, and Nanodegree Plus

At Udacity, we’ve thought deeply about all three of these scenarios. And while ultimately every individual’s journey is unique, there are some patterns that emerge, and we’ve tried to speak to each of these with our offerings. Our Nanodegree programs are perfectly suited for that learner who is ready to undertake the full journey towards a new career. And Nanodegree Plus, with its job guarantee, is ideal for that career-focused student who knows what they want to do, and is ready to do it.

But what about that third scenario?

#LiveBlogging: Live from Intersect 2016!

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Intersect 2016 is live! That’s right, Udacity’s inaugural Intersect Summit event is up and running, and thousands have already tuned in to the live stream to watch as 75 very special Udacity students enjoy the first talks.

Introductions

The event kicked off with introductions from our own Kathleen Mullaney (VP Careers at Udacity), who began the proceedings by noting that everyone present was both taller and better-looking than expected! Introducing herself, Kathleen said, “MY job is to help YOU get a job,” which could really serve as a mantra for the entire event. As Kathleen noted, career advancement really is the theme of Intersect, and as Udacity’s ultimate mission is to democratize education, it was especially gratifying to see, via Kathleen’s shared map, just how many different locales our guests came in from. This truly is a global community!

Sebastian Thrun

Kathleen wrapped up her opening comments with an introduction to the next speaker, our CEO and co-founder Sebastian Thrun, who began his remarks by telling the students, “you are my heroes.” What followed was a remarkable chronicle of achievement, imagination, dreams, and fearlessness. Tracing his academic beginnings in Germany, to his arrival at Stanford, on through Google Glass and self-driving cars, Sebastian ultimately came to the subject of Udacity, which he described as his “final moonshot.” Sebastian’s faith in the boundaryless potential of the Silicon Valley spirit was—as always—on full display, and it was clear he was thrilled to be welcoming, in person, such a remarkable group of learners to the place that has meant so much to him in his own life and career. Sebastian wrapped up his talk with effusive praise for the growth mindsets of our students, and encouraged them all to never stop thinking of what’s possible, and what can be achieved.

First Keynote Speaker: Laura Gomez

Following Sebastian was our first keynote speaker of the day, Laura Gomez, Founder & CEO at Atipica. As Sebastian had, Laura shared a great deal of her own personal story, which amounted to, as she referred to it, a singular confluence of luck and hard work:

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I have!”

This combination of luck and hard work saw her doing everything from researching street children in Brazil, to joining YouTube and Twitter in their very early start-up days! Of the latter, Laura described the opportunity like this:

“If someone offers you a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask which seat, you just get on the rocket ship.”

Laura’s strong convictions are palpable, and the ways in which she connects technology, education, opportunity, and social welfare (“the next generation of literacy is programming”) are so inspiring! In simplest form, her talk was a deeply personal exhortation to pursue opportunity, and when she told the assembled students, “You are manufacturing, here, an opportunity for YOU!” you could feel this powerful sentiment resonate through the room, because everyone KNEW it was true!

That said, as passionate as Laura’s talk was, the quote that may prove to generate the most excitement was this one:

“Atipica will be hiring in the next couple months, and we’d be happy to hire any one of you!”

If these first two hours are any indication, Intersect 2016 is going to be even more incredible that we expected. We couldn’t be happier, and we hope you’ll return to the live stream again to join us for more wonderful happenings!

To tune in to the live stream, and see the agenda, just click here!

Flipkart Says No to Job Interviews and Yes to Udacity!

Flipkart and Udacity

We’ve been able to celebrate some pretty amazing news at Udacity in recent months. But nothing makes us happier than those stories that directly impact the careers and futures of our students. Which is why we’re especially excited about today’s announcement. Flipkart, India’s largest online marketplace, is partnering with Udacity to radically change the hiring process in the software industry.

Breaking away from convention, Flipkart is embracing an “interview-less hiring” approach, and hiring candidates based directly on their Nanodegree projects and Udacity profiles. No in-person interviews or group exercises. This approach enables Flipkart to hire talent swiftly, shorten the hiring process, and maintain a critical competitive edge in its hunt for talented professionals. And it allows our graduates to earn roles based directly on the skills and experience they accrue through their Nanodegree program studies.

Three Udacity students—all graduates of Udacity’s Android Developer Nanodegree program— have already started working at Flipkart, with the mobile development team. They are the first to join the Flipkart team, and both Flipkart and Udacity expect many more new hires to follow.

Udacity Graduate Kushal Sharma: Finding Success and a Job My Own Way

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My name is Kushal Sharma and I am currently living in New Delhi, India, moving to Bangalore by the end of December for a new job. But more on that later.

Personally, I am passionate about programming and learning new things every day. I love to read and travel, and enjoy learning about math and philosophy. Earlier this year I enrolled in Android Developer Nanodegree because I love to write programs and figured this was a great way to reach thousands of users. I think Android is one of the best platforms to work on—it has a huge open-source community and a user base of millions, and I really wanted to validate the countless hours I spent learning online from blogs and tutorials. And the fact that this course is a collaboration with Google…well that made me take it even more seriously.