When It Comes to Community – LearningFuze Connects

COVID might be making in-person networking more difficult, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop connecting. At LearningFuze, we’ve continued supporting the OC tech scene through virtual events with Startup Grind, a UX Scholarship through our partnership with OC Tech (formerly OC Tech Happy Hour), and most recently through AMAs with companies like Vincit and Kelley Blue Book

 

But what’s an AMA? 

AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. It is an event format often utilized for Q&A sessions or just an informal meet and greet. We chose to do AMAs so our students can not only learn more about life at local tech companies but also connect with top engineers in the community. At LearningFuze we love tools like Zoom and LinkedIn since they allow us to overcome many of the curveballs that any stay-at-home orders may have thrown our way. 

 

Kelley Blue Book is so much more than a website to check the value of your car… 

Since starting the first coding bootcamp in Orange County, Kelley Blue Book has been one of our closest partners and best cheerleaders. It has now been 6 years since those first conversations and together we’ve developed the Cox Automotive Women in Tech Scholarship, had alumni turn into Senior Engineers, and helped grow the tech scene in OC. When we asked Marv Chan if they would be interested in doing an AMA, he not only jumped at the opportunity but brought in 3 KBB team members as well.

Over the course of 75 minutes, the LearningFuze students heard about almost every aspect of life at KBB. We learned about their interview process, how junior developers are supported in their growth, and all of the different projects they are working on. One of the coolest things was hearing about the diversity of the tech team. Kelley Blue Book boasts a development team that has a 50/50 gender split and their parent company Cox Automotive has consistently been awarded for diversity across their company. 

 

Ducks don’t usually make a huge splash but Vincit has definitely done so here in SoCal

Time to tell a personal story… In Week 2 of my Full Immersion cohort, way back in April of 2017, Ville Houttu came to speak to our class about what they did at Vincit. There were so many things I liked; the Vincit VW wagon, their Finnish roots, and a client list that was a mix of startups as well as some of the largest Fortune 100. But it was the autonomy they provided developers and their adoption of true Agile hierarchy (an oxymoron, perhaps?) that got my attention. Agile Development is now commonplace on tech teams but rarely do companies properly adopt it, Vincit had done so and now brought it from Finland to California. 

When it came time to schedule AMAs, there was no doubt that Vincit was a company we needed to have. From their quarterly Dev Talks, which are some of the best networking events in the area, or their Duck Tapes podcast not only do they bring some serious knowledge but they are a fun group to hang around. We were fortunate to hear from 3 different members of their team; John Haupenthal (Lead Developer), Rachel Valentine (Head of People), and Mikkos Salokangas (Head of Development). They dove into what Vincit looks for when hiring top developers, how they feel about Data Structures and Algorithms questions during interviews, and what cool React tools they are currently working with. 

 

Until next time…

Whether you are a local tech company or potential coding bootcamp applicant, let’s connect! COVID may be keeping us from shaking hands, but that doesn’t mean we can’t say hi through Zoom and support each other on LinkedIn. We have and will continue to be the most community-focused coding bootcamp in Orange County. If you have any questions about getting more involved in the OC tech scene, connecting with amazing companies like KBB and Vincit, or just learning about our class offerings, we are here to help 🙂 

 

TJ Kinion

Program Manager | Startup Grind Irvine Co-Director | OC Tech Advocate