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Interview ‘Jóvenes con Futuro USA’: “Working in Silicon Valley is every engineer’s dream”

Until April 30, Stepone’s ‘Jóvenes con Futuro USA program, in collaboration with Banco Sabadell Foundation, is opening a call for recently graduated Spanish engineers, so that they have the opportunity of showcasing their talent in first-rate technology companies in the United States.

Once again, we get to know the experiences of the young engineers who have participated in the program. In this case, we have spoken to Carlos Muñoz, aged 25, and Yolanda Alonso, aged 28. These two engineers moved to California a few months ago, where they are currently carrying out an internship at Turo, a startup which is headquartered in San Francisco. Turo is thought of as the Airnbnb of the car world, it is a car rental platform where users can rent any vehicle available in the Turo community.

Carlos Muñoz y Yolanda Alonso en las oficinas de Turo en San Francisco

What projects are you working on at Turo?

Yolanda: Six months ago I joined Turo’s engineering team to work on the front-end side. I have been involved in a a lot of different projects, focusing on improving the check out process, and the vehicle search process in the app. The objective of the project that I am working on now is to change the search filters to improve users’ results, and to increase the number of car rentals.

Carlos: For the past six months I have been working on a dozen projects, some of which are small projects, and others which are larger. I am currently working in the search team, redesigning the search process to make it easier for users, to help them to find their perfect car to suit their needs.

Yolanda, you are the second female engineer who is participating in the Jóvenes con Futuro program. How do you think the role of female entrepreneurs and female engineers is perceived in Silicon Valley? What would you say to other female engineers who want to travel to this part of the world to work in the technology sector?

The fact that I am the second girl in the program makes me feel very proud, but at the same time, it also worries me. It is surprising how, after so many years of this program there are only three girls. However, it is true that this represents the sad reality of the small percentage of women who work in technology. I would tell all of the female engineers who want to come and work in Silicon Valley not to think twice about it. I would tell them to come and search for work here, or to join the Jóvenes con Futuro Program, the world needs more engineers of both sexes. So I would say try, never give up.

Why did you want to come to Silicon Valley? How is your experience shaping up so far?

Yolanda: Professionally speaking, as an engineer it is a dream to be able to come to Silicon Valley. The most famous technology companies in the world are located here, as well as the best engineers, which is why it’s such a great opportunity to learn from the best and to boost my professional career. I’ve had a fantastic experience so far-I’m getting to learn how a San Francisco start up works from the inside, I’m part of an incredible team and every day I’m improving my skills as a technician.

Carlos: Coming to Silicon Valley is every engineer’s dream, it has also been mine since I was a little boy. I cannot thank the program enough for this opportunity, for bringing us to a place where we have always wanted to be. I am absolutely loving the experience! Also, Turo is really pleased with the program, there’s 5 of us Spanish engineers. Our colleagues call us the “Spanish mafia” (laughter). From day one they have treated and valued us as “one more member of the team”, not as interns. They always take my opinion and suggestions into account. I feel that I contribute every day.

What advice would you give to future JcF participants?

Yolanda: If you are an engineer and you would like to work in a USA startup, don’t waste a single moment and send your application now! Make sure you are well prepared for the interviews, for JcF and for the interviews you will have with the companies. There are a lot of resources available, and online books, make the most of them. Once you’re here, never stop learning. Not even a single day. It is an incredible experience, make the most of it. And of course, enjoy it.

Carlos: First of all, I would tell them to be confident in themselves, and not to be afraid of participating in JcF. If you are passionate about what you do, you don’t need to think twice about it, just sign up! When you get to the USA, my advice would be never to feel intimidated by the environment that you are going to witness. The companies choose JcF because they bring brilliant and very talented engineers who are willing to learn, and who will do anything to ensure that the company is successful. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, and change what you think will be better for the company.