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Alumni Story: how Henry became a Program Manager at Amazon

There are so many directions a Le Wagon bootcamp graduate can go. When his startup was hit by the pandemic, Henry went on to study programming to become a better product manager, and successfully landed his dream job at Amazon Japan.

What were you doing before joining Le Wagon Tokyo? 

I grew up in Japan and studied genomics at the University of California at Davis because I wanted to be a scientist. Back then,  I really fell in love with bioinformatics and data analytics on genomes. 

As a student I studied a bit of R and Python, and after graduation, took on a data analytics job at a Japanese company called E-park. During that time I saw many foreigners struggling to find affordable housing in Japan. Although I hold a Japanese citizenship, I even got turned down by several real estate agents. 

That is what led to the idea of Homekuru, a web platform to connect property owners with foreigners moving to Japan. I took on the internal management role and led the development part, ensuring the smooth communication between our engineers and real estate agents.

During those three years at a startup, I was constantly amazed by what developers could do, and I started wishing I could do programming on my own. When the pandemic hit and things at Homekuru started falling apart, I decided to fulfill my years-long dream and learn coding with Le Wagon Tokyo. I knew that if I wanted to become a better product manager, I needed to understand programming a whole lot more. 

How was your experience during the bootcamp?

I really loved it. It was pretty tough to get up for the 9am lecture, but the challenges and pace quickly drew me in. Even though I understood concepts, I needed to learn the basics. Being just like a first grader and learning from scratch was fun. 

My final project was a task manager app for autistic children. Although I wasn’t autistic, I had a similar tendency of feeling uncomfortable when dealing with the unknown back when I was a kid. Together with my batchmates Stuart, Ivan and Natasha, we developed a white board-shaped interface with digital stickers to illustrate upcoming tasks.  

How did your job hunting process go? 

When I graduated I found that project management background accompanied by coding skills put me in a great position for product manager jobs. Lots of recruiters seemed to appreciate my effort to go in and upskill for three months. I turned down two job offers until finally I successfully landed my top choice at Amazon. 

The hiring process took two months, and I had to go through nine (!!) interviews. My current role as a Program Manager involves overseeing and coordinating various tech products, managing development teams and meeting long-term goals. I am excited to be a part of a big structure and help develop multiple cross-functional initiatives across Amazon. 

Congratulations! What role did the bootcamp play in your career? 

I don't think I would have gotten the job without Le Wagon Tokyo. The bootcamp gave me a boost of confidence and an upper hand as a product manager. Coming from a shutdown startup, I didn’t know how to start looking for jobs.

Equipped with that coding experience, I now know much better how to lead development teams. Once you understand what's going on in the background, it's easy to put yourself in the shoes of the dev team and solve issues

I really believe that coding will become mainstream in 20 or 30 years. Even if you're not a web developer, you will need to be able to read and type in some lines of code. 

Thank you for your time, Henry! Wishing you all the best in your new career journey. 
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