Student Spotlight: Two Entrepreneurs with a Passion for Code
Anthony Delgado and Joe Pulaski (JP) are recent graduates of the Rutgers Coding Bootcamp Class of 2017. Upon graduation, Anthony and JP went on to win multiple Hack-a-thons and recently started their own business, Good, Inc. They shared how the boot camp experience has impacted their careers and how they’re using their newfound skills in the marketplace.
What were you doing before you enrolled in the Rutgers Coding Bootcamp?
JP: I’ve spent the majority of my career as an entrepreneur in sales and marketing. One day I woke up and asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” My work felt like an empty pursuit of money. I was not happy. I wanted to learn something new, and I did that through technology. I got myself into the tech world, but then realized I needed to know how to build technologies myself.
Anthony: I started coding about 10 years ago when I left college to pursue entrepreneurship. Eventually, I became a self-taught coder freelancing for a company that exploded. This was my first full-time gig as a developer. Later, I interviewed someone for my tech company who had just graduated from Rutgers Coding Bootcamp. He showed me all of the cool projects they were working on at RCB, and I thought, “Wow, I needed to take this class too.”
Why did you pick RCB?
JP: The affiliation with Rutgers University was a huge factor in my decision. I left undergrad to start my first business, so being a part of the Rutgers network was something that I wanted. Also, location: I love Jersey City, so having class right outside my door was also important.
Anthony: Both of my uncles went to Rutgers, so the brand was super important to me. The brand played a big part in it.
Tell us about your experience with Hack-a-thons and how they have impacted where you are today.
JP: The first Hack-a-thon was pretty much a disaster, but we learned so much. I was only in Week 3 of the program and I was so upset because I couldn’t figure out how to get the application to load properly. I decided I never wanted to feel that way again, so we doubled-down on our effort and vowed to work twice as hard the next time.
Anthony: Hack-RU was the first Hack-a-thon we won. We went in with a different mentality and decided if we were going to do these, we had to be all in. We stayed up for 24 hours and created a project we knew was cool but had no idea if it would be good enough to win. Come judgment time, we won the main prize. It was a big moment for us because we gained confidence in ourselves, and in our skills, and realized we could really do this.
JP: We entered a few more Hack-a-thons throughout the coding boot camp and started winning more and more. Then we entered the Enterprise Hackathon – AT&T IOT Dev Summit for 2016. We decided to build an app called InterviewIQ, an interviewing platform that connects candidates and employers by culture fit based on a dynamic profile of your life. Instead of just for salary, it’s also based on personal hobbies. We won the grand prize and were recognized by AT&T and IBM, which was humbling.
Tell us about Good, Inc.
JP: Our hackathon wins helped us found a company called Good, Inc. It is a socially driven corporation. Our motto is “People First,” and we are building tech solutions for companies so that everyone wins. We want to make sure that whatever we build empowers human beings.
Anthony: One of the projects we are working on under Good Inc. is our AT&T Dev Summit winning app, InterviewIQ. We are currently in talks with multiple incubators to receive funding to help bring our app to market. As exciting as this is, we couldn’t have done this without the tools and network we gained from being a part of RCB. It’s been completely life-changing. I learned a lot – even from others who just started coding a week ago. I learned how to learn, and I also learned how to provide value to others using my skills. I think that’s one of the most powerful things for me and has helped us at every Hack-a-thon and with the start of Good, Inc.
Your favorite part about RCB?
Anthony: My biggest takeaway throughout this whole experience has been validation. Building things are awesome, but when you’re by yourself, you’re siloed. Being able to build things with a team–and then have people around you validate your experiences–is extremely powerful. The sense of community and network at RCB are unparalleled.
JP: We owe it all to the program. RCB changed the trajectory of my life in ways I never could have imagined.