In our previous blog post about “Meeting our new Jóvenes con Futuro” I introduced you to Eduardo, who is currently working at Elevate. Now it is time for you to meet two of our jóvenes, which are working at Turo, a peer-to-peer car sharing startup based in San Francisco.
They are Alfonso and Cesar. Let’s get to know them in more detail!
Originally from the Canary Islands, 26 years old, developer and Co-Founder of his own startup: This is Alfonso González, a full stack developer working at Turo San Francisco.
From Madrid, waves- lover, 24 years old, and software engineer not new to the Silicon Valley. He is Cesar de la Vega, Android developer at Turo.
Q: Hi guys. I’d love to learn more about yourself and your background. What were you doing before you moved to San Francisco?
Alfonso: I was working for a Netherlands-based company focused on creating tracking devices. We were able to locate any asset attached to our devices around the world. My work there was providing clients with an API to integrate our devices with their platforms. We had clients like Bayer, Hoyer and Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen (Belgian Train Company). In my free time, I enjoyed hiking the beautiful Canary Islands landscape and also enjoyed traveling the world.
Cesar: I graduated from college in 2015, so this is my first year out in the labor market. It is awesome that I can start building my career coming here to San Francisco. I spent my last year of college in London, completing an Erasmus international student exchange in Kingston University.
Q: Alfonso, you are the Co-Founder of your own startup Weappin Solutions. Could you tell us a bit about it?
A: After finishing the Computer Science degree, two of my classmates and I founded Weappin Solutions. At the time of its creation we had a lot of great ideas, which, at the time, we believed were crucial to implement. The three of us had no other responsibilities so it seemed to be the right time to bet on ourselves. It turned out, however, that we had to do a lot of work that resembled a consultant company rather than a startup. Despite this, we were able to ship a couple of ideas. Though these products did not succeed as planned, they provided us with very important insights into the business world—we were completely unaware about this side of startups until this moment.
We ended up developing many applications, which, though they were not a part of our initial idea, were very challenging and fun to work on. Unfortunately, moving to the U.S. required me to be fully focused on my work at Turo so I had to leave Weappin Solutions but I very much hope that my ex-coworkers who are still working there are able to succeed soon.
Q: Cesar you are not new to the Bay Area. What were you doing in this part of the world before participating in Jóvenes con Futuro?
A: In 2012, I studied at University of California San Diego as part of an exchange program that my university offered at that time. After finishing that college year, I was contacted by a company I had worked in the past. They were part of that year’s 500 startup summer batch and they thought I might be interested in joining them for a couple of months. And that’s what I did. I moved from San Diego to Mountain View right after I finished my final exams in 2013.
Q: Could you guys explain in detail what do you do at Turo?
Alfonso: My position at Turo is as a full stack developer focused on the backend. I work with the support team to ensure that everything runs smoothly, and, in the event of a malfunction, that everything gets resolved as quickly as possible. Through quick bug-fixing, we give Turo users a great experience when using our product. I also work with the rest of the development team to implement new features which aim to provide Turo users with faster and more comfortable methods to rent a car.
Cesar: I am part of the Android team and at the moment I am working in a project with 4 other people from the engineering and design team. I am so excited about it because I get to participate in a major part of our business.
Q: Alfonso, this is the first time for you working in the Silicon Valley. How is the experience going so far?
A: To be honest, on my first day working at Turo I felt very impressed by the great differences between American and European business cultures. The open work environment and the flat hierarchical organization has made it much easier to establish professional relationships not only with my team but with any individual who forms the company. Managers, engineers, and designers all have equal weight in their opinions. I personally think they try very hard to create an environment where employees feel comfortable and come to their workplace with more desire. Even more, I get to feel that I am part of a team and not just a mere employee. Being able to surround myself by a large number of great professionals can help me grow as an engineer in ways that I cannot do elsewhere.
Q: What about you, César?
A: It is going great! I am enjoying this experience so much and I learn new things every day. It is so exciting to feel that everyone cares about me and teaching me cool stuff. I am being trained to be a great Android developer and I love it.
Q: Do you think participating in Jóvenes con Futuro would help you find a job in Europe or Spain once you come back?
Alfonso: I can not give a clear answer to this question because it raises too many uncertainties. What I can say is that it is a very enriching experience from which I have gained invaluable professional knowledge. Likewise seeing my network grow as it is currently doing will be of paramount importance in keeping up with everything that happens in the field of information technology in such an important place as San Francisco
César: For sure! It was the main purpose why I joined the program. I feel that just coming here gives us an advantage when we go back to Spain. Also Turo’s product is used by many people across the nation and our work within the company has a lot of impact on the app itself, which I think will be valuable for a company trying to hire me in the future.
Q: How do you guys think working in the Silicon Valley has an extra value for software developers like you? (What is special about working in the Valley?)
Alfonso: I think what is special about San Francisco is that the city is the center of gravity for everything related to Computer Science. Each new piece of technology, programming language, event and everything in between happens here. And if you’re lucky enough to be in the right place, you can be part of it. I encourage future generations to participate in a program as fabulous and enlightening as Jovenes con Futuro.
Cesar: I’d say Silicon Valley is like Hollywood for developers. This is the best place to be if you want to be good at this.
Thanks guys, it’s been awesome to learn more about you two!
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