Career stories: Mobilizing learners worldwide
October 18, 2022
After stints at a Madrid startup and a Chicago financial-services company, Android mobile engineer Jose was looking for his ideal role in the Bay Area. Now based in San Francisco, he dives into the rewarding technical challenges his team is collaborating on, and how he’s having a meaningful impact on millions of learners worldwide as a core member of the LinkedIn Learning mobile team.
Making the move from Spain to the U.S.
I’m originally from Córdoba, Spain, where I first developed my passion for coding as a teenager. My love for coding led me to pursue an engineering degree in Madrid while working as an Android mobile developer at a start-up. When it came time to take my career in Android engineering to the next level, I made the big move to Chicago to earn my master’s degree in computer science at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
My experience in Chicago as an Android developer in the finance industry helped me hone my Android programming skills. Before long, I was itching to move to San Francisco to work on more cutting-edge projects in the heart of engineering. When I found an opening with LinkedIn, I was immediately drawn in by the company culture. Everyone I spoke with had eight years of experience or more at the company, and only positive things to say about their time at LinkedIn. I sensed the balance and feeling of community were unmatched, and I loved the emphasis on collaboration over competition among peers.
Helping millions of learners via engineering
In my role, I support the onboarding and retention sides of our LinkedIn Learning Android mobile app, which supports both enterprise and consumer learners/users. This includes engineering the onboarding flow shown to new app users, and existing app users (e.g., we add a new feature). For retention, we have been working on the push notifications, and building out a Notification Center where the in-app notifications are shown.
The position presents its own set of unique advantages and challenges. To start, our infrastructure needs to support a wide range of devices and versions, with some versions dating back to 10 years ago.
We also must work with a broad spectrum of Android manufacturers to make adjustments in our operating system for the LinkedIn Android app. Android is a different kind of engineering from Apple’s iOS since there are so many moving parts with version history, applications, and devices.
Problem solving reminders
One of the projects I’m especially proud of is learner reminders and notifications. At the time, our mobile app developers only had bandwidth to implement local reminders to encourage our learners to keep learning. We didn't have push-notification infrastructure on the backend ready yet, so our team came up with an interim solution to periodically pull data from the backend to ensure the app sends the appropriate reminder to a given learner.
For example, if the data pull shows a given learner is automatically coming back via the LinkedIn Learning mobile app or the web (e.g., a desktop) to complete a learning module, our local workaround will ensure the user doesn’t receive a reminder notification. While this was a temporary solution, it proved to be a super effective way to ensure our learners were connected to the right learnings, and had a positive user experience.
Overall, it is pretty rewarding to work in an operating system that gives you so much creative freedom. Whether you’re developing the LinkedIn Learning Android app, working on background tasks, refreshing data, or updating applications, Android allows you to implement processes and code according to your development preferences compared to the restrictions of other operating systems. Ultimately, it’s incredibly powerful knowing that your work is helping our 850+ million members (i.e., users) grow and learn new skills.
Redesigning our mobile app
My latest focus is building the new architecture design for the LinkedIn Learning app. In this process, I work closely with other Android developers on my team. We always aim to look at the bigger picture when ideating designs and addressing important issues, like what the Android app will look like, how to organize it better, and how to make it more testable.
Typically, we develop our ideas through diagrams and discussions and then create our proof of concept for the application and architecture. This process takes around three weeks to move our idea to written code and it’s exciting to see how these fresh ideas. To have big features that I’ve personally been responsible for — such as the Learning app’s Push Notifications and the Notification Center — come to fruition in such a short amount of time is incredibly rewarding.
Finding community at LinkedIn
At LinkedIn, communication is key — I collaborate much more with my team at LinkedIn than I had at other companies earlier in my career. I really like the social aspect of life here and that we’re always learning from many different people.
My experience on this tight-knit team has opened doors for me to educate other Android engineers on the operating system. I’ve created presentations for over 100 members of the Android community on new and innovative techniques for the architecture and how to make the application more testable and easily decoupled in different models. This knowledge has also served other teams at LinkedIn who are responsible for designing this architecture and creating guidelines for the rest of the developers.
Above all, what stands out about LinkedIn is the people. I distinctly remember how a few weeks into the job, I joined our LinkedIn Learning Solutions team for a weekend ski trip in Lake Tahoe. Us skiers hit the slopes during the day — and then we all met up for a team dinner and karaoke. As a new hire, it was a terrific ice breaker to organically connect with my colleagues outside the office. Every day, I work with talented developers that have become my friends and this sense of community that has been created in San Francisco is why I love working at LinkedIn.
Based in San Francisco, Jose is an Android mobile engineer on the LinkedIn Talent Solutions team, supporting the LinkedIn Learning mobile app. Prior to joining LinkedIn, he worked as a mobile engineer at a startup in Madrid, and E*TRADE in Chicago. Jose holds bachelor’s and masters in electrical, electronics, and communication engineering from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, and a master’s in computer science from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dog as well as exploring new restaurants in San Francisco.
Editor’s note: Considering an engineering/tech career at LinkedIn? In this Career Stories series, you’ll hear first-hand from our engineers and technologists about real life at LinkedIn — including our meaningful work, collaborative culture, and transformational growth. For more on tech careers at LinkedIn, visit: lnkd.in/EngCareers.