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Meet Two Rising Stars from Year Up

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Medallia has partnered with Year Up to help empower young people to learn new skills and inspire leaders from the next generation to pursue a career in technology. Year Up is a one-year intensive education and internship program that connects young adults, aged 18-24, to professional careers in the tech industry.
This year, Luis Herrera  and Josh Berja have joined our Customer Support team in San Mateo. Luis is a 22 year old with a passion for fitness who went to high school in South San Francisco. Josh is a 20 year old who is a huge fan of basketball and went to Balboa High School in San Francisco. After 2 months at Medallia, these young adults have already made a huge impact, working directly with clients to answer technical questions and provide technical support.
We talked to them today to learn more about their experiences, their perspectives, and what drives them.
How did you first hear about Year Up?
Luis: It took hearing about it a few times before I finally made the leap. When I got out of high school, I heard about Year Up from people at my church. But it seemed too good to be true. I decided to go my own route—I went to Costa Rica to study Theology. When I came back to visit, I was surprised by the dramatic change I saw in my peers who were in Year Up. They had goals and had grown. My degree didn’t transfer to the US, and I was feeling lost and de-motivated. I was working at GoPro in an event planning role, and met up with a childhood friend who was working at SolarCity with Year Up. Again, I was struck by how different he seemed—he was carrying himself more professionally and seemed self-confident. When I asked him how he’d done it, he said Year Up. He inspired me to believe in myself and go for it. So I applied, and I feel lucky to have been accepted.
Josh: In the summer of 2016, I was working at a dentist’s office. My colleague mentioned to me that her son was a web developer at LinkedIn. When I asked her how he’d gotten into it, she told me that he wasn’t always interested in tech but that he participated in Year Up. I was enrolled at City College in San Francisco at that time—I was focused on nursing, but I just wasn’t passionate about it. I’ve always been interested in tech, but I lost my confidence after a coding class in high school—it was difficult. When I heard that there was a one-year program that could help someone who barely knew how to turn on a computer learn how to be a web developer, I immediately applied. I was also lucky to have been accepted.
What was the 21 week training program like?
Luis: There were times I felt completely lost and times I felt really comfortable and very motivated. It made me really comfortable with being uncomfortable. I think my church laid the foundation for me, as far as getting dressed properly and not swearing. It made me more confident. Before it was hard for me to look people in the eyes and share my ideas. Now I feel like I can engage—I want to let people know what I’m doing with my life and share this experience. I love knowing that my mom and grandmother are proud of me. This program gave me that.
Josh: Definitely not easy! The focus was on both professional and technical training, 8:30am-3:30pm every day. The first week was orientation, where we got comfortable and got sorted into one of three learning communities. We were held accountable through a point system, where points would correspond to our behaviors, like being late or looking at our phones, and the points ultimately affected our pay. Getting paid to learn increased dedication. And speaking of dedication, the phase allowed us to dig deeper into our “Why”; Why are we doing this? Why, why, why. I wasn’t expecting a tech training program to ask that kind of question, and because of that, I figured out my why. It’s not just for me, but it was for my family as well, that continue to serve as a big motivator. Also, I didn’t know how to tie a tie before! The training phase set a foundation for me in terms of professionalism, and helped me strengthen my confidence. It was a challenging experience, though it was well worth it. Other than that, I really liked the community we built through our cohort. I met some really awesome folks that I still keep in touch with today through this program. It was very diverse; meeting people from all over the Bay Area. Some of the core values at Medallia remind me of the values at Year Up, such the growth mindset, digging deep.
What do you like about working for Medallia?
Luis: It’s the first job I wake up excited to go to! I love that Medallia has a gym, and several members of my team care about fitness as well. The people here make it exciting, and the tasks I work on make me feel complete—I know they have an impact on the company.
Josh: When I walk into the office, I know that my team is here to support me. They are really funny and energetic, and that helps me get through the day. Everyone is nice. I feel so pampered and taken care of at work. Plus the snacks are good!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Luis: There were a plethora of factors that contributed to my rewarding experience with Medallia. Under the guidance of my amazing mentors, I got exposed to many opportunities and learnt from the best. I will continue to grow professionally and personally.
Josh: I agree, I’d love to not only make an impact where companies are loved by customers and employees, but to also grow. Sometime in the future, I would also like to go back to college and finish my degree.
I’m so honored to be part of the Medallia family and to help facilitate programs that expand the pie and provide opportunities for young people with a lot of drive and potential. Medallia is excited to partner with Year Up and is eager to expand our impact over the coming years by hiring more passionate young people who are just starting to embark on a career in technology.
After a great experience with Luis and Josh, Medallia is excited to be expanding the program and welcoming more interns on July 31st!