My Name Is José Guerrero — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

José at the Cumbayá Reservoir in Quito, Ecuador | Photo by Aha!

May 19, 2023

My Name Is José Guerrero — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

by Why I Joined Aha!

I moved around a lot growing up. My family and I lived in various cities across Ecuador, eventually settling in Quito. Experiencing different places and perspectives early on had a profound impact on me. I realized the value of interacting with a variety of people, regardless of location. Remote work was not common back then, but I knew it was the best way for me to thrive.

I wanted the freedom to work from anywhere — solving complex problems with smart and talented people from all over.

In high school, I carried my camera and laptop everywhere. I loved making videos and experimenting with coding. I was particularly intrigued by how humans interact with technology — how the apps I used worked, and how software engineers design web and mobile products. When it came time to choose a college major, I considered studying computer science but opted for a non-traditional path called Interactivity and Multimedia.

This major allowed me to jump right into coding and building apps. I also studied practical, user-centric topics like color theory, design theory, and product development. To gain real-world experience during this time, I found a remote role as a front-end developer for an agency based in New York. Working and studying full-time was both challenging and exhilarating. Most days I would start early in the morning and code late into the night — switching between my home office, coffee shops, and school libraries.

Creating beautiful and intuitive user interfaces brought me so much joy. It was energizing to write code that directly improved people's product experiences.

It felt incredible to achieve my dream of working wherever I wanted with my computer. But with graduation quickly approaching, I needed to decide on my next step. I joined a Boston-based customer experience agency with an office in Quito. Commuting to the same place every day was a huge change — I missed the variety of interacting with people across different locations.

The work itself was interesting. As is common in agencies, I worked on several (often unrelated) projects. But I yearned for the continuity of a single product. I wanted to deeply understand a group of customers and continually improve their experience each time I shipped something new.

I discovered Aha! on a remote job website, and the name caught my attention right away. After reading several blog posts, watching some videos, and trying out the product, I could really see myself working here. The interview process was refreshingly fast and unique. I enjoyed insightful conversations with some incredible people. Despite being thousands of miles away, I felt a strong connection with each person I talked to.

Now as a member of the Aha! engineering team, I focus on ensuring that our UI looks and functions optimally. I work primarily with our web component library, which is built with Stencil.js. I also use some of our React.js packages in addition to doing regular Rails development. I have contributed to several features, but one of my proudest accomplishments so far is the card refresh we did earlier this year. This was a major feature that affected the look of cards across the entire application.

Shipping new features is thrilling. I love working closely with a variety of teammates across product, design, and engineering to improve the customer experience.

The engineering culture at Aha! is unparalleled. Our team is filled with intelligent and supportive individuals who are always available to help. When you post a question in our team Slack channel, someone will answer within a few minutes. I also appreciate that we do not have a blame culture — if something breaks, it is never one person's fault. Regular code reviews and a rigorous deployment process help create a truly collaborative environment.

Even though I am the only team member in Ecuador, I feel so close to my colleagues. Each week I spend meaningful time with my manager, fellow engineers, and cross-functional teammates, too. Meeting in person every six months for our onsites brings us even closer. I enjoy chatting with different people and hearing perspectives from across the organization.

Aha! is unique because everyone genuinely cares about positively impacting our users and their companies. I cannot wait to keep learning and helping make our software as beautiful and usable as it can be. I love that I can do this work from where I am happiest — and make our customers happy at the same time.

That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.

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