Cuneo, Paris, Helsinki, and now San Francisco – Filippo's story

The long and rocky road towards San Francisco and other destinations is eventually starting to see light in the other end. I’m having a video call with one of the first hires, Filippo. This young fellow joins the conversation with a slight smile on his face. Everything feels yet a bit absurd. Filippo has just been hired to Arch (an industrial IoT systems startup) in San Francisco as a front-end developer. For a whole year.
This is something to tell to the homies in Cuneo, Italy, for sure.
Filippo studies Human Computer Interaction and Design in the EIT Digital Master School. He did his first year in Paris and he graduated from Aalto University last spring. The full-time job at Kielikone Oy in Lauttasaari, Helsinki will be left aside for a while as this promising developer moves to the other side of Atlantic in the beginning of April. It will be his first time in the US.

“It’s awesome to get the experience to travel and go and work to SF. I’ve only traveled inside Europe where the mentality is pretty much the same everywhere.” Filippo rejoices.

Lessons learned from last year’s application and interview rounds, this year the hard work started to bear fruit as Filippo managed to ace already his first interview.

“This time it was a project that I could do on my own (so it wasn’t a live code interview) which made the interview process feel a more serene for me. I had two assignments to choose from: a back-end one with Python and a front-end project using Angular”, Filippo recalls.

He went for the Angular one. The idea was to build a web interface by using the company’s  own API and make a basic application where the user can login and get the data from the server.

“I was allowed to use other frameworks like bootstrap. On the phone they said that the task would take about an hour. But in reality, it took a bit more”, he continues.

Both in school and at work, Filippo uses Angular on a daily basis so the task felt pretty ok. He and the CEO clicked nicely already during the interview on the phone. After one week from the interview, he had the offer on the table.

“Honestly, at first I didn’t quite realize it had happened. I was happy yet it felt unreal. I’m still in the phase where I just have to organize it all in my head and everything but I’m sure that after getting on spot it’ll all sort out”, Filippo laughs. He had already started an interview with another company but didn’t have time to complete the assignment before the deadline for taking the offer at Arch came across.

I ask if there were any other ways he prepared for the interviews.

“I did start the book Hacking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell last summer, but didn’t have time to finish it, though”, he adds. A couple of exercises done on HackerRank where also useful.

So what are the first steps from now and what is he most looking forward to?

“Luckily, I still have some time to prepare. I have some work to do at the company I work for. I wouldn’t want to just leave the project there halfway”, Filippo says. “I’m really looking forward to see what it is like to work at a startup. I don’t yet have that much work experience so I’m expecting to learn a lot and deepen my knowledge in front-end development, to say the least.”

I also mention the excellent surfing beaches on the spot. Filippo nodes. “Oh yeah, I do snowboard so I guess it’s not so different to that.” Waiting for the footage…
It sure takes some character for one to just leave everything for a year and jump into the unknown, I think out loud.

“Yup, but it’s what I was looking for. To change everything and to get some new experience – and confidence”, Filippo comps.


We’re hyped to follow Filippo and his new adventure over the upcoming year. If you’d like to join him, the application period for spring 2018 is now open. Leave everything, take the leap, and fill out the application form at startuplifers.org/apply/ 

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