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How I advanced my career through AsanaUP

February 20th, 2020
4 min read
How I advanced my career through AsanaUP

Achieving our mission to help humanity thrive by enabling the world’s teams to work together effortlessly requires building an inclusive product. To do this, we need to have a diverse and inclusive workforce. One way we do this is through AsanaUP. 

AsanaUP is an apprenticeship program that provides a pathway to software engineering roles at Asana for individuals with non-traditional technical backgrounds. The program equips individuals with industry experience building, testing, and implementing software projects—with an emphasis on mentorship and feedback. Most importantly, AsanaUP helps ensure that we practice inclusive hiring processes that engage candidates with diverse backgrounds.

Team members we hire through AsanaUP bring exciting work experiences from various industries. Take Christi GingerPatrick Miner, and Luis Alvarez, who all went through the AsanaUP program. With their diverse work experiences across e-commerce, health, and design industries, they’re now helping us deliver innovative, as well as inclusive, features as full-time employees on the Asana Engineering team. Read on to learn more about their experiences.

What were you doing before you decided to pursue software engineering?

Christi Ginger, Software Engineer: Before transitioning to software engineering, I was working as a project manager for a design consultancy. I had also worked at two software companies previously in non-engineering roles. 

Patrick Miner, Software Engineer: Before transitioning to a career in software engineering, I was working in International Logistics and Distribution. I noticed that all the exciting challenges in my industry (and most industries) were being solved by software. I decided I’d rather be writing the software than using it. 

Luis Alvarez, Software Engineer: Previously, I was working for a nonprofit where I helped free and charitable clinics improve their patients’ health outcomes through text messaging campaigns.

Can you share your experience in the AsanaUP program?

Christi: The program was really wonderful. I had a very supportive mentor who helped unblock me for the first few weeks. As I got more comfortable, it felt like I was a full-fledged contributor to the team. I joined the Monetization Team, and was able to work on an interesting mix of projects across Asana’s stack.

Patrick: My experience in the AsanaUP program was great! After onboarding I joined my team (Customer Scaling) as an AsanaUP engineer. What I really love about the program is that AsanaUPs are treated the same as other software engineers and do real, value-add work for Asana right from the beginning. The main difference is that we’re surrounded by more support, mentoring, and have people on our teams who are prepared to answer questions and assist us whenever it’s needed.

Luis: The program was a game changer for me! I got to work alongside incredible engineers, designers, product managers and researchers, and immediately began to contribute to Asana’s product. I think the main difference between the program and being a full-time software engineer, besides the expectations, is the mentorship. I had a dedicated mentor who was always available when I had questions, and provided valuable feedback that skyrocketed my learning.

What was the biggest highlight during your time in the program? 

Christi: Being part of a big cross-functional and cross-team launch at Asana. I was able to see how my work could support other developers at Asana, as well as our users.

Patrick: Launching the Administrative Console. It felt good to be putting technical solutions into the hands of Asana Admins and Champions around the world!

Luis: Being here for the launch of my team’s big project! Seeing all of the external feedback pour in and being able to celebrate the launch alongside my team really helped me internalize my identity as a new software engineer.

How has the AsanaUP program impacted you? 

Christi: The program helped me develop my skills as an engineer and taught me a lot about working on a large, developed codebase. It also helped me validate this big career change. After the program, I had a lot of confidence that this was the right career path for me, and that I had a lot to contribute as an engineer.

Patrick: It taught me how to be a good mentee and the importance of working collaboratively on a team to develop world-class software. It was my foot in the door at Asana. In short; it changed my life. 

Luis: The AsanaUP program gave me the space and resources to sharpen my engineering skills, in addition to teaching me about mentorship, collaboration, prioritization, and so much more.

What has the transition from AsanaUP to a full-time Engineering role at Asana been like for you?

Christi: My actual role and work on my team changed very little during my transition. I felt really happy and proud to realize that I had moved completely into a career path I had thought about for so long. 

Patrick: It honestly didn’t feel like much of a transition. By the end of the AsanaUP program, you’re doing the work of a full-time Asana engineer. That being said, it felt great to join the team in a more permanent way. I thought back at all the countless hours I put into preparation, from way before my coding bootcamp until my first day as a full-time employee, and realized it had all been worth it.

Luis: My last day as an apprentice and first day as a full-time software engineer were almost identical! I think that speaks to the success of the program, and the skills they teach you during those six months. 

What’s your best advice for people looking to make a career switch?

Christi: The advice I wish I had gotten was to try coding sooner. I spent a lot of years working up to the decision to actually become a full-time engineer, and I let a lot of my own doubts and insecurities hold me back. Finding supportive friends who were on the same path really helped me work past all those doubts, and I’m so grateful that I did. 

Patrick: Nobody makes this career switch alone. During your journey you’ll meet a lot of people who are doing the same thing. My advice is this: Help and teach others whenever you can, express gratitude to those who help you, and be kind to everyone along the way. What you put into this career switch is what you’ll get out of it!

Luis: Ask for help! Showing vulnerability allows you and others to recognize areas that you’re struggling with, and is the first step to identifying all the different ways to improve. I think it’s easy to fall into a state where we feel we’re burdening others, but you’d be surprised how many people are willing to share advice and lend you a hand. 

Looking to make a career switch? Opportunities to join the AsanaUP program are still available. Want to work with Christi, Patrick or Luis in a full-time role? Check out our open engineering roles.

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