Creator Spotlight: Get to Know Our CareerWise Apprentices

Meet our summer apprentices—Toshan, Jonathan, Jamel, Landen, Ronny—from the CareerWise apprenticeship program! 

The no-code Creators of the future won’t necessarily be found in a bootcamp or a four-credit computer science course—in fact, many of them haven’t even graduated high school yet. The CareerWise apprenticeship program provides an opportunity for high school students to participate in a three-year technical workforce development program. This summer, we welcomed five CareerWise apprentices to help them build applications on the Unqork platform, cultivate their technical and professional skill sets, and gain work experience.

CareerWise works to promote diversity in tech by connecting apprentices from underrepresented communities with mentors and resources—a mission that the co-leads of our apprenticeship program are passionate about. Tony Shapiro-Bey and Harmony Richman are Unqork Technical Implementation Specialists who spent part of their summer mentoring and opening doors for our apprentices. “Unqork’s core values include diversity and inclusion,” says Harmony, “and Unqork’s partnership with CareerWise is a direct representation of that. We all have a responsibility to ensure that we provide equitable access to pathways that foster growth and success. ”

For Tony, the CareerWise mission is particularly important. “Being a black male, from a major city where education wasn't the greatest, it was a challenge to get to where I am today,” he says. “After I heard Unqork would be launching this initiative, I thought, ‘I have to work on this!’ I wish CareerWise had been available to me when I was in high school, and it would have been great to see people that look like me in the tech space. I hope these apprentices got a chance to see that they can be in this space too.”

To get to know our CareerWise apprentices, we asked each of them a few questions about their summer. Here’s what they had to say about their experiences:

What did you work on while you were at Unqork? Can you tell us a bit about the applications you built as part of the Unqork Forward Program?

Ronny Villaman: I worked on an application for Project Basta that allows young college students to look for job opportunities. The application is innovative on both the user side and the Basta side, because there’s a lot of intricate detail put into each component. This makes the user and staff experience much better.

Toshan Sukhandan: I also worked on the Basta project. Basta is a non-profit that helps first-generation college students get jobs. The application is the first thing the student fills out when trying to join the program, and it’s an easy way to gather information to determine if the user is a viable candidate or not.

Jonathan Connaught: I built various modules that would help complete different tasks. Some of those were task forms that users can fill out, some were dashboards that can receive submissions and data, and lots more.

What surprised you about building apps with no-code? Was it harder or easier than you thought it’d be?

Landen Clarke: Building applications using no-code was straightforward, even though the concept of no-code sounds hard to comprehend. Unqork made the process simpler by giving us a breakdown of the steps and processes that helped guide us through the platform.

Toshan: When I first started the program, I thought it would be easy. It actually started off difficult—but after finishing the capstone project, it made me more confident and ready to work on the Basta project.

Ronny: During the first couple of weeks of training, I thought that the platform was hard to grasp. However, I learned that once I got on a roll, I was able to steamroll through most of the tasks.

Jonathan: When I started building apps with no-code I was surprised, because everything was totally different than I expected. It was a bit difficult getting started, but after a week of training, experimenting, and practicing, it became a lot easier.

"My apprenticeship made me consider being a computer engineer, and it's something I can see myself doing in the future."

Has your apprenticeship shaped your thoughts on what you might eventually want to do as a career?

Ronny: The Unqork no-code platform made me question what career I should pursue, because I enjoyed this type of software engineering so much.

Toshan: My apprenticeship made me consider being a computer engineer, and it's something I can see myself doing in the future.

Landen: Being a part of the CareerWise program gave me a strong sense of direction and provided a stepping stone in pursuing a career in technology.

Did you have any experience with code before starting your apprenticeship? If so, what did you think about learning no-code in comparison?

Ronny: I learned some HTML during my freshman year of high school. The no-code platform was quicker to learn, and with the right amount of help I was able to become more proficient with it.

Toshan: I had a little experience with code—I tried to learn but I found it a bit too difficult. I had no idea no-code was a thing prior to Unqork, and I was excited to jump in.

Jonathan: I've had previous coding experience in app building and robotics back in middle school, but it definitely doesn’t compare to how easy no-code is.

Jamel Wrotten: I knew some code before I started this apprenticeship, and I was surprised to find out that something like no-code was possible.

What was your favorite part of your experience as an Unqork apprentice?

Ronny: Working with my team was my favorite part because it allowed me to work on my communication skills. I also really enjoyed how we could set our own deadlines and work at our own pace.

Toshan: My favorite part of my experience as an Unqork apprentice was learning something unique that I'd never even heard of before.

Jonathan: The best part of my apprenticeship at Unqork was being able to experiment and find solutions whenever I ran into obstacles.

Landen: Looking back, my favorite part of my apprenticeship was the feeling of accomplishment I got when I finished a project and saw it implemented.

Can you describe your experience as an Unqork apprentice in three words?

Toshan: Unique learning opportunity.

Jonathan: Thrilling, fun, surprising.

Landen: Innovative, unpredictable, [requires] persistence.

Jamel: Interesting, exciting, surprising.

If you could design an app for anything using no-code, what would it be?

Ronny: Menus for a restaurant, or some kind of API that helps me on a daily basis.

Jonathan: If I could design any app, it would be for an online reseller store.

Jamel: I would make a streaming platform like Twitch, but I know I can make it better with no-code.

After your experience, would you recommend that other people learn no-code?

Ronny: Of course. Honestly, everyone should be into the Unqork no-code platform. It’s easy,  and it has so much potential. You’re able to build so many things within the platform.

Toshan: Absolutely! At first it might seem difficult, but it's easy to get the hang of things.

Jonathan: I would definitely recommend that other people learn no-code as soon as they can.

Jamel: Yes, because it’s easy to understand once you get the hang of it.

Were there any mentors or teammates that really helped define your experience at Unqork?

Ronny: Shout out to Toshan, Harmony, Landen, Tony, Jamel, and Evan.

Jonathan: I would like to shout out Tony, Elle, Harmony, Thomas, and lots more for their mentorship on my journey.

Jamel: Harmony, Tony, and the apprentices on my team made it easy to get the work done.

Toshan: I really appreciate Evan Candler for being so patient with us. I also want to thank Elle Faraday, Harmony, and Tony for supporting us.

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