Holberton > Students > From delivering packages to writing code for unicorn startup Rappi

From delivering packages to writing code for unicorn startup Rappi

Kevin Giraldo is a 21-year-old Holberton School Colombia student from district 8 of Medellín, a low-income neighborhood with an average household income of US $135 per month. He grew up in a low-income family. Kevin occasionally worked with his father in a manufacturing company and understood that education was the way to have a better future. He discovered programming in high school and convinced his parents to buy him a computer, promising that this was the key out of their situation. Kevin recently started fulfilling that promise.

At fourteen, as he witnessed his teacher automating the voting process at school, using code, he understood that he wanted to be a programmer. “It was a straightforward case, but since I didn’t have any programming knowledge at the time, I found it very interesting”.

Kevin decided to switch from his high school to one that would offer programming classes. He continued to pursue his dream to become a developer by enrolling in a computer engineering undergraduate degree while working as a Rappi delivery to make some money on the side.As he was working, Kevin received a message from Rappi about Holberton School. A Silicon Valley software engineering program was opening in Medellín. Registration was closing the next day, and he decided to meet the deadline and apply. As he was going through the application process, Kevin thought he would never be good enough to be accepted into the program.

Kevin started his training at Holberton in September 2019 and recalled that one of his biggest challenges was having to comment on his code in English. However,  “the fact of not having teachers and having to do projects among ourselves [the classmates] made us very autonomous and independent.”

Because Holberton’s program was very intense, Kevin decided to only do delivery work on weekend nights, as he was one of the students who could not go to sleep until he finished the entire project.

For the final part of the training, Holberton partnered with tech startups Rappi, Kiwi, Ubidots, Skillshare, and Torre so that students could develop a final project that would solve these companies’ needs. Each company presented its challenges and provided mentoring through its engineers. That is how Kevin, together with two classmates, developed a crowd lending platform so people could obtain a loan to get the necessary tools to work as Rappi drivers.

Rappi was so impressed by Kevin’s project that they offered him a software engineering job.

The 21-year-old programmer’s goal is to stand out with his performance at Rappi and to grow within the company. He also wants to create a programming community at El Pinal school, located in Enciso neighborhood (District 8 of Medellín), where he studied most of his basic training.

“As my family is low-income, my ambition was always to get out of here and grow. It is not hating or being ashamed of my roots, but wanting to grow and help my family, my friends and my community”.

Kevin Giraldo