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Meet the “First Class” of Unqork’s DEI Tech Track

Tech Track

Ramona Hylton (top center), Kristina Richards (top right), Jarrett Hosey (bottom right), Daniel Lindberg (bottom left), Alexa Vargas Cortes (top left)

The technology sector is full of capable and intelligent people, but the tech talent pipeline is usually a narrow one. It starts with those fortunate enough to have access to tech training at an early age, which leads to a traditional four-year program, which leads to a job at a technology company. Too often, that leaves out a lot of people with the motivation and talent to work in tech, but who haven’t necessarily had the opportunities to get there—as well as those who have taken different career paths and want to make a switch. Unqork’s Tech Track program is taking a new approach that will open the talent pipeline and cultivate candidates of traditionally overlooked backgrounds.

We’ve partnered with the organizations STEAM Train and Code Platoon to attract talent from underutilized talent pools. All participants are offered paid training and, upon successful completion of their coursework, are guaranteed a full-time position with Unqork. 

Cultivating qualified candidates with diverse life experiences doesn’t just benefit program participants; it helps Unqork become a more equitable and diverse company, which makes us smarter, stronger, and more successful.

Unqork’s Tech Track program is taking a new approach that will open the talent pipeline and cultivate candidates of traditionally overlooked backgrounds.

This is one of the reasons I decided to work at Unqork. Not only was I incredibly excited to work for a company defining the future of enterprise software, but one guided by core values like inclusivity, collaboration, and fearlessness.

Prior to Unqork, I worked in the non-profit sector with a specialization in prison reform. I led an employment program for justice-involved young men and also worked with children dealing with parental incarceration. My experience in this field heavily shaped my goals for the impact I wanted to impart on the communities I served. After much reflection, I decided to withdraw from law school and instead attend a coding bootcamp, as I’ve always believed very strongly that folks can disrupt and rebuild in any space they occupy. I felt that I could have the most impact by pursuing a career in technology, where I could help open access to tools that would help communities become self-empowered and therefore disrupt discriminative and inequitable systems of violence. 

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work on Unqork’s Tech Track program, and it’s my honor to introduce the first Tech Track cohort, who are all now full-time employees with Unqork. Meet Jarret Hosey, Ramona Hylton, Kristina Richards, Daniel Lindberg, and Alexa Vargas. They may be among the first Tech Track participants, but they won’t be the last. 

Why were you interested in beginning a career in tech?

Jarrett Hosey (Code Platoon): I was always interested in how computers worked and wanted to learn more about them. I also wanted to make an impact on my work.

Ramona Hylton (STEAM Train): I have a background in graphic design and digital media, so I wasn’t beginning a career in tech. If anything, I was changing my career path in tech. I transitioned from the creative tech space to the technical tech space. I decided to make the switch to Unqork because the idea of a no-code platform was intriguing. I was never a fan of coding growing up, and to be able to create applications without code piqued my interest. It also was a great benefit that this opportunity came in the midst of the pandemic.

Kristina Richards (STEAM Train): Tech is such an important part of today. It’s found in almost every aspect of every career, so embracing tech is a must!! I realized how important tech was, and during the most challenging few years due to COVID-19, I realized I had to take part. And representing women in tech is a PLUS!

Daniel Lindberg (Code Platoon): Looking for location stability. Prior to the technology field, I was a truck driver for eight years and in the United States Marine Corps for eight years prior to that.  If you were to ask me where I’d be sleeping the next evening or the evening after, I’d answer either “I don’t know” or “it depends.”

Alexa Vargas: (STEAM Train): I have always said that if I were given the chance to redo my college experience, I would pursue a major in STEM, so when this opportunity with Unqork presented itself, I jumped at the chance to get the opportunity to learn a no-code platform and change the trajectory of my career.

How was your experience learning the Unqork platform? 

Jarrett: I had a great time learning the Unqork platform. The bootcamp was difficult but rewarding. There are a lot of helpful people at Unqork that are happy to answer questions.

Ramona: My experience learning the platform was a slow progression. There were some aspects that I was able to grasp quicker than others. For the more difficult concepts, Unqork provided many different resources (Community, Academy, office hours, etc.) that I took full advantage of. Boot Camp was a lot of information in a short period of time, and I wasn’t sure how much of the information actually “stuck” until I started working on my first project. Through trial and error, as well as taking full advantage of the resources provided, my learning experience has been progressing.

Kristina: Learning the Unqork platform has been fun yet challenging. The documentation on the platform is endless with interactive training opportunities, making Unqork extremely user-friendly.

"Learning Unqork through Bootcamp was stressful, and at times I thought I was in over my head, but with determination and the support of the Unqork team, I was able to learn the platform and present two projects within three weeks, which felt so rewarding!"

Daniel: Learning the Unqork platform was fairly easy and simple; I could look up in/on the given resources to quickly find a solution to anything I found challenging.

Alexa: Learning Unqork through Bootcamp was stressful, and at times I thought I was in over my head, but with determination and the support of the Unqork team, I was able to learn the platform and present two projects within three weeks, which felt so rewarding!

How would you describe the company culture at Unqork? 

Jarrett: I would say Unqork is very motivated. You will be working on projects right away. People get a lot done with the platform fast, so you can finish a lot of work quickly.

Ramona: The culture is very helpful. During boot camp and after, there were many people who were always willing to help answer questions of things I didn’t understand.

Kristina: Unqork is one of the best companies I’ve worked for! Unqork’s DEI team has been exceptional, and it’s absolutely great to see the value Unqork puts on prioritizing its people!

Daniel: The company culture is very broad and encompassing. Although I may not participate in many of the community activities, there are many options available.

Alexa: What I love most about Unqork is the diversity that can be found throughout the company. A lot of companies present themselves as being diverse but are not actually making it a safe, inclusive workplace. Unqork really stands by its values and has wonderful programming and ESRGs where people can learn, be themselves, and feel safe within their workplace.

How has it been working in an all-remote environment? 

Jarrett: I have enjoyed the remote work environment. Whenever I need help from someone, I can slack them and get a reply. It is cool to work with people from around the world.

Ramona: Working remote isn’t new for me. I have been working remotely for a couple of years as an entrepreneur. The difference is Unqork provides different opportunities to engage with others. Donuts are a way to make sure we don’t lose out on meeting new people.

Kristina: It has been very cool, but then again, who wouldn’t think that LOL! This is my first time seeing how an all-remote environment works and a good first look.

Daniel: Enjoyable, although communication and clarity in that communication are important.

Alexa: This has been my first time working fully remote, and I have enjoyed it. I would say keeping a very organized calendar, and schedule really sets you up for success. Meeting people over Zoom has become the norm. However, it is great when you finally meet your coworkers outside of the screen!

What kind of projects have you worked on? 

Jarrett: I have worked with banks and insurance companies for things like customer ingestion to questionnaires.

Ramona: I started out on the Rent Relief project, building out/ editing the application to provide rental assistance for tenants and landlords in different counties in the US. Currently I am working on the Coinbase team.

Kristina: I’ve been on our Rent Relief projects for the past seven months and have learned so much! I feel so great knowing the impact my role has on providing a very much-needed service to many communities during this time. I feel a sense of purpose!

Daniel: I have worked on Covid Rent Relief for four different counties and one state (five different projects that are very similar to each other), and I am currently working on a fairly new project for Coinbase.

Alexa: I have worked on two projects, both in the Finance sector: State Street and Commerce Bank. Both have been completely different experiences that have helped me grow my skill set within the Unqork platform—I am always learning something new!

"I’ve been on our Rent Relief projects for the past seven months and have learned so much! I feel so great knowing the impact my role has on providing a very much-needed service to many communities during this time. I feel a sense of purpose!"

How do you hope to grow your career at Unqork? 

Jarrett: There is internal training for the platform that is helpful for learning advanced topics, but mostly through having significant contributions to the projects I'm on.

Ramona: I hope to continue to grow my career by taking advantage of the different assessments, but also exploring different departments like the UX/UI team.

Kristina: Though I am still under a year at this company, I can see myself learning more about this great platform and developing skills that I would love to teach to the upcoming Tech Trackees. I am interested in seeing how my previous background in brand marketing and sales can support my new knowledge of Unqork, so I am invested in seeing how to put that to “beneficial use.”

Daniel: I plan to advance my career by contributing solutions to our “Community Hub,” performing well on projects that I am working on, creating new solutions/approaches to solving problems, and possibly transition into an instructor-type role.

Alexa: As I continue to grow at Unqork, I look forward to becoming a more knowledgeable configurator while also creating an opportunity to use my client and people-facing skills daily.

What advice would you give to someone considering The Tech Track program? 

Jarrett: Make sure to ask questions and stay ahead. There can be a lot to learn, but you can do it!

Ramona: There will be many moments when you feel like you can NOT do this. But just know, you can. 

Kristina: Make an effort to connect to people in your cohort. Having a group of people, you can reach out to regarding general issues, no matter how big or small is something I truly found useful at the beginning of my journey and even now. Reaching out for help isn’t a bad thing, so never feel bad about asking more questions. 

Daniel: It is a condensed block of time that will require a considerable amount of your daily time and attention. It is possible for both technical and non-technical individuals to complete. Under the structure of the program at the time I attended, the third week is when you work with a team of other students in your class. It is fun and interesting to see how others approach or come up with a solution to the different tasks, and it also allows you to get some experience with working with a team remotely in the technology field (if you have not experienced that already). Additionally, do not let the team project portion determine how you feel about the company. The group/team dynamic and project organization are different for each project (team) I have been assigned since I’ve started.

Alexa: I would definitely tell them to go for it as it is a great opportunity with an amazing company! My advice would be to sharpen your coding skills because although the platform is "no-code," having a strong coding background will make for an easier transition into the Unqork platform.