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What a month it’s has been!
1-month ago, I started as a student at Lambda School. January, 7th 2019 to be exact.
I’ve joined Lambda School’s first ever European cohort — WEB EU1.
It’s been an amazing experience so far! If you had told me where I would be back when I started, I would not have believed you. It’s been an intense and rewarding first month.
Let’s take a step back and give you a bit of context
I’m Maxime. Bonjour 👋 I launched Croissant in 2018.
We are an on-demand growth team for startups. Our team now consists of four people working remotely: 1 designer, 2 engineers & I — marketing/product/growth.
2018 wasn’t great either. I struggled and that affected the business. But, we have a great & supportive team. Thanks again Valentin, Alex & Maxim!
In this series of post, I will do my best to share my experience moving from Marketing to Growth Engineering by attending Lambda School.
What’s Growth Engineering?
“Growth Engineering = Growth + Engineering
Growth is a function in an organization that owns parts of the funnel helping the company grow. It first appeared in consumer startups. We can now find more and more B2B startups that are starting to build their own growth team. Hubspot being the perfect example.
Growth Teams are responsible for user acquisition, user onboarding, features improvement, tooling, analytics andreferrals. They are cross-functional — engineers, designers & product managers — and often work in squads. They might have a data-scientist, but this position is often ad-hoc.
Growth Engineering is the sub-part of Growth responsible for technically implementing growth experiments on user acquisition (SEO / Paid), conversion (A/B Testing, Onboarding) and product improvements. They are also building internal tooling to support the growth process.
What does a Growth Engineer look like and who is hiring?
const keyword = ‘hybrid’
Growth Engineers are engineers with growth chops. Foremost, they are engineers. It took me a while to come to peace with this. Now that I have, I’m doing Lambda School :)
Growth Engineers are full-stack engineers who were founders before or are wannabe founder. They seek business impact when building software.
More companies are building Growth Team and some great ones are currently hiring Growth Engineers: Twitch — Software Engineer Growth, Front — Growth Engineer, Amplitude — Senior Growth Engineer or PayFit — Lead Growth Engineer in France.
Now, onto Lambda School and how I’ve decided to join the program as a way to become a growth engineer.
Finding about Lambda School
yes, twitter can be a great acquisition channel
I first heard of Lambda School on Twitter in early 2018. Since then, I don’t think I’ve spent a week without seeing something related to Lambda School. PS — the tweets below are similar to the tweets I saw.
This is an excellent strategy for a few reasons:
Awareness: I probably read a tweet before 2018, but never actually noticed it. I finally read one and I’m glad I did. The tweets were often not related to Lambda School.
You get to a point as a founder when you realize no one other than you will ever truly understand your business— Austen Allred (@Austen) November 1, 2018
What is the best user experience you’ve ever... experienced?— Austen Allred (@Austen) October 28, 2018
and things I could relate to…
We subscribe to Netflix, which in my house means “We pay $12/month to watch reruns of The Office”— Austen Allred (@Austen) November 7, 2018
Engagement: After learning about Lambda, I saw a few tweets that gave me enough value and some “oh wow” effect to be honest so I wanted to check them out. I went to lambdaschool.com and went through it.
Lambda School looks like a charity from the outside, but we’re really more like a hedge fund.— Austen Allred (@Austen) October 27, 2018
We bet that smart, hardworking people are fundamentally undervalued, and we can apply some cash and leverage to fix that, taking a cut.
One student attended Lambda School from a WiFi hotspot in the back of a mattress store.— Austen Allred (@Austen) November 16, 2018
Another went to Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame grads "didn't hold a candle to" the Lambda grad.
Even without interest or raises, the Lambda grad comes out $578k ahead at year four. pic.twitter.com/Yi62Mu7F2M
Exploration: Over time, I saw how many new people were joining the program. How they enjoyed it, and how much some of their students were actually getting hired for. It wasn’t just Lambda School saying how great they were, but actual students sharing their experience.
I love my job pic.twitter.com/P5JFirXd3N— Austen Allred (@Austen) November 29, 2018
Going to Lambda School makes you valuable.— Austen Allred (@Austen) November 16, 2018
Combining Lambda School with deep experience in another skill set is 👀 pic.twitter.com/8UP6Zu5OUs
Conversion: I finally decided to apply for two reasons: 1. They were opening a full-time cohort in Europe. 2. They care. I witnessed multiple times how they listened to the feedback from their students and implemented them in record time. I knew it was a special place and I wanted to be part of it.
Lambda School European Union is now accepting applications https://t.co/571ExJ1rGf— Austen Allred (@Austen) October 27, 2018
Today we’re announcing the biggest change to Lambda School’s instructional design since inception. We’ve been building to this for a really long time, and I could not be more excited that it’s finally ready.— Austen Allred (@Austen) December 3, 2018
Announcing Build Weeks
To make sure I wasn’t an outlier, I asked my fellow students how they found out about Lambda School. We are a small cohort, about 20 people. 15 answered.
As a marketer, I couldn’t be happier to see these results. Most of my fellow students have heard of Lambda School from word of mouth or “free” channels. This means there is a huge untapped growth opportunity.
Lambda School has come to the same conclusion.
They are starting to test a few paid channels & other types of content. PS — I don’t have more information on this than what is publicly available.
Did the best I could with the weather. pic.twitter.com/URpNT0dbRE— Alan Barth (@alancbarth) February 11, 2019
Applying & getting into Lambda School
excitement, fear, excitement
I’ve tried to learn to code several times over the past few years, but never prioritized for it. Thus, I never made any substantial progress. That’s what is interesting with programs like Lambda School. It’s a commitment to learning how to code + a safety net of people that are here to help you.
I’ve applied to Lambda School twice. Once for the US program. Once for the EU program right before they closed down their recruitment process. Thanks for that Karen :)
Once I had applied for the EU cohort. I knew I had a better shot at it. Then, I got an email to schedule an interview.
I was in the south of France on holidays during that time. Internet was not great, but the interview went well :) I spent the next 48 hours doing the pre-course work and completed the Lambda School code challenge.
A few days later, I got an exciting news in my inbox. I was in 🎉
I would be starting on Monday, January 7th 2019 and start my journey to become a growth engineer.
5 weeks into Lambda School
it’s just the beginning
Lambda School is a 9 months long program divided into four parts:
5 weeks of Lambda Labs: A 5-week long project where we build a full-blown SaaS app in a group of 3–4 people.
*3 Months of Computer Science: *In the computer science curriculum, we learn about Python, Django, Algorithms, Data Structures, Graphs, C, Theory of Computation, Hash Tables, Computer Architecture, Web Server.
2 months of Lambda Next: Not sure yet how this works.
Once I was done with it. I played around with React, created an API with Express.js and connected the two with Axios.
It’s so rewarding to look back to just a month ago and see what I’m able to build now. Can’t wait for what’s coming.
Growth Engineer Checklist
PS — if you are hiring a growth engineer and see something missing below. Please get in touch on Twitter or over email -
maxime at croissant dot io
1 - Brainstorm & define growth experiments ✅
2 - Implement design optimization 🚧
3 - Optimize features ⛔️
4 - Build features ⛔️
5 - Build internal tools ⛔️
We are now entering into our second 5-weeks module which will focus on React. We will learn about Components, Props, State, React lifecycle, SPA, Routing, HTTP, Ajax & Redux.
I’ll do my best to go through the coming weeks with a growth lens and try to think of ways I could use my new skills.
Thanks to Lauren, Valentin, Orlando, Gabe, and my fellow Lambda students for their help during this process!
Want to stay in touch — follow me on Twitter.
You can now read — [From Marketing to Growth Engineering — Part 2]