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Alumni Story: how Inou became a Back-End Team Lead at a unicorn!

Allow me to introduce you to Inou, a Le Wagon Amsterdam Alumni. Inou began his journey into the world of tech back in 2016 when he joined our full-time Web Development Bootcamp (Batch #38). Flash forward a few years and he’s now the Back-End Team Lead at IRL, which has recently landed unicorn status!

Alumni Story: how Inou became a Back-End Team Lead at a unicorn!
Featuring graduate Inou Ridder Back-end Developer
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"Le Wagon’s been a really great choice for me and I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am now without it."

Before embarking on his tech adventure, Inou was studying Sociology. Following this, he originally wanted to do a masters in International Development Studies, but many of his friends convinced him otherwise, as a bootcamp would be a "more fun and immersive experience.” 

You may be wondering, how does someone go from International Development to Web Development? Well, it all started as Inou began to think about different ways of raising money for International Development. His idea stemmed from him wishing that there were some sort of crowdfunding platform, which would allow one to donate directly to those in need, rather than going through a third party organization. That’s when he came to the realization that creating such a platform was what he wanted to do. From there, it was clear that Inou wanted to get the skills to build transformative tools. 

Inou joined Le Wagon Amsterdam back in 2016. Knowing that he was going into this bootcamp, he prepared a lot. With this, he found his first week at Le Wagon to be quite easy, but this didn’t last very long. From there, Inou faced many difficulties, but he overcame them as the course went on. He describes “learning by doing” as the power of Le Wagon, forcing one outside of their comfort zone. Students are given a lot of power, then are taught to make mistakes and learn from there. With this being said, Inou’s favourite part of the bootcamp was this way of learning, as it “pushes you.”

The bootcamp opened the door to technology for Inou and gave him a start and an understanding of what he needed to learn. In our interview, Inou stated that Le Wagon teaches you “what to learn and how to learn it,” but the rest is up to you.

During project weeks, which are the last two weeks of the bootcamp, Inou landed a job as a Full-Stack Developer at The Next Closet. Here he learnt a lot as it was his first major step into the world of tech. With this being said, Inou just couldn’t stay away from Le Wagon for too long, he then came back as a Teaching Assistant (TA). He described being a TA as a “really fun experience and a really good way for [him] to solidify [his] skills and knowledge” as he had to explain what he himself had recently learnt, truly testing his own knowledge on a given topic. From there, Inou’s Le Wagon journey continued to prosper. After meeting with the City Manager of Barcelona at the time, he decided to take on a new adventure and moved out to Barcelona to continue TAing there. After this, he eventually took on a teaching role at the Barcelona campus. 

Inou slowly transitioned from teaching at Le Wagon to full-time freelancing for a variety of clients, many of which he found through the Le Wagon network. Inou’s current employer IRL was initially one of his clients, but he’s now been working for the company full-time for over a year. He is now the Back-End Team Lead, which he describes as a really exciting ride! 

IRL - IN REAL LIFE - is a social networking application. It’s goal is to bring people together, gearing away from its competitors in that sense. Many social networking apps that were put in place to connect us, have actually alienated us due to a variety of factors including ads and addictive technologies. This is why IRL stays away from addictive technology, ensuring that your time on the app is spent effectively. Inou explained that IRL wants to make sure that eventually what you’re doing on the app turns into something in real life. Many social networks use ad revenue, which consequently continues this cycle of additive technologies. Furthering this promise to bring people together, IRL is building a profitable business without ad revenue (Perez). “The app is not an activity, it’s just an enabler,” says Inou. With promises such as these, it is no surprise that today IRL is sitting at about 15 million users a month. The application has been extremely successful and recently hit unicorn status, with a $1.17 billion valuation (Perez). “It’s been thrilling, exciting and stressful all at once,” says Inou. 

Looking back at his journey, Inou believes that Le Wagon prepared him for his launch into the world of tech. In conclusion, Inou’s greatest word of advice for future students is to prepare well. “You’re going to go through those 9 (or 24) weeks and you’ll take out as much as you put in.” Le Wagon’s “been a really great choice for me and I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am now without it.”

Work Cited
Perez, Sarah. “Messaging Social Network IRL HITS Unicorn Status with SOFTBANK-LED $170m Series C.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 15 June 2021, techcrunch.com/2021/06/15/messaging-social-network-irl-hits-unicorn-status-with-softbank-led-170m-series-c/. 
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