From Intern to Engineer: Anthony Nassar on working at Udemy

Choosing a company as a first-time programmer can be a difficult yet very important step. Our own Anthony Nassar shares his Udemy experience as a new engineer.

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What is your educational background/degree(s)?

I graduated in 2010 from Cal Poly Pomona with a BS in Mathematics. I was studying to become a high school math teacher and came along the opportunity to work at my dream job with Blizzard Entertainment as a game tester, where I stayed for about three years. During my time there, I taught myself how to program and was actually given the opportunity to work on scripts and create things using Python and PHP. Eventually, I fell in love with programming and felt like I needed more formal education, so I left Blizzard and attended a programming boot camp called AppAcademy to learn what I needed to know to get into the web development industry.

Why did you choose to work at Udemy?

I have always been attracted to the education field and also had a friend working at the company. When I interviewed for the internship I knew I wasn’t totally ready to dive in alone and wanted to work on a team full of people who would be good teachers. I felt confident that the Udemy team would support me with the training I needed to get where I wanted to be, and that I wouldn’t be in a trial by fire situation. When I couldn’t solve a problem during the interview, they led me through without giving the answer away, which spoke volumes that they were able and willing to mentor me. Looking back on all of this, I know I made the right decision because they continue to support me and help grow me into a better engineer every day.

When did you start as an intern at Udemy?

I started in February 2014 for 3-month internship and was hired on full-time in April.

How would you describe your first days at your internship?

I was excited and a little anxious. I thought of it as my potential “career job.”

What surprised you about Udemy?

When I first started, even as a brand new intern, I received a lot of love and respect and was made to feel like a contributing member of the team. Looking not only at engineering but also at the rest of the teams at Udemy, I can say this culture holds true company wide.

What projects did you work on as an intern?

I jumped in with the team’s help and worked on both the back-end and front-end of website.

Do you have a mentor on your team?

I do! My mentor is Cuneyt. He told me on my first day that he didn’t want me to call him my boss, but rather my friend. That’s just his character. He is extremely patient and has taught me a ton since the very beginning. We check in every other week and I’m still learning a lot from him every day.

How would you describe your team dynamic? 
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Everyone is very willing to help each other. I believe we fully embody the word “teamwork.” It’s not about who does the most work. We’re all committed to a certain amount of work and we help each other get it done. We’re also a very diverse, unique group coming from different backgrounds and beliefs, and have a natural respect for each other. At work and outside work, we’re all very good friends.

What have some of your favorite moments been?

I recently worked on our Black Friday promotion and it was the first time we really had a deadline for programming and experienced true “crunch time.” My mentor Cuneyt and I stayed up pretty late every night for about two weeks, and as we got closer to the launch date, we stayed even later. It was a lot of fun – we relied on each other and had a great outcome from our hard work.

What is your proudest Udemy accomplishment?

For the Black Friday promotion the team had to prepare the site to allow users to have the Black Friday experience, which included enabling the site to “turn on” the deal and see the courses as part of the sale, as well as allowing the prices and coupons to change. A lot went into making the experience work for our customers and it was really satisfying to see it finally go live on the site.