The String and Key Crew: Danelson Rosa

Jasmin H
Jasmin H
Jul 7, 2020 · 5 min read

As part of our ongoing employee spotlight series, we’ll be profiling colleagues who inspire us. Today, meet Danelson Rosa.

Company Role: Software Developer

Most likely to: be eating

Secret talent: professional chess player

What do you do when you’ve been working corporate for a few years and suddenly get an entrepreneurial itch? You scratch it, of course. And that’s exactly what our developer Danelson did a few years ago. He founded an ed-tech startup as a solopreneur and pursued that path for a couple of years, learning a ton along the way. With his entrepreneurial spirit in tow, Danelson then went on to teach coding courses in NYC before flying halfway across the world to continue teaching in the sandy city of Doha, Qatar. Culture shock in the best way, his fondest memories from his time in the middle east were the people and their friendly attitudes. According to Danelson, it’s a city where you can leave your laptop unattended in a coffee shop without fear of it going missing — a stark contrast to how things roll in NYC.

Once he returned to the Big Apple, Danelson wanted to get back into tech full-time, so we convinced him to come on board and build something great with us. Read on to learn more about his entrepreneurial background, his unrivaled chess knowledge, his hobbies outside of work, and more.

What excites you about your job?
I would say the freedom and creativity that I have in my role. We are trusted to go out and accomplish our goals, whether that’s building out a new feature, or something else. Of course, there are guidelines and a little structure to it all, but I love that it’s not a case of “do it in this exact way.” You get to complete your tasks in your own style — it’s cool that I get to contribute in that way.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My 11-month-old son, he’s the best alarm clock I’ve ever had! Aside from that, I love what I do and the folks that I work with. It’s a cool thing to hack away and build and collaborate with others to put out the best possible product. When I say “I have to go to work,” I sometimes feel guilty because I actually enjoy what I do. Overall, I’d say the challenge, the learning, and the people are what get me out of bed in the morning, work-wise.

What’s your favorite part about working at String and Key?
I’d have to say the coding, the collaboration, and the learning. We’re building something cool, and I’m able to tackle different parts of that — from the familiar to the new. It’s an excellent opportunity for me to push myself and advance my skills.

What does your typical workday look like?
We start off with a stand-up team meeting where we discuss what everybody is doing that day and what blockers they may have in the way. This is a great opportunity for us to share what we have on our plates, what projects we’ve completed, and what’s coming down the pipeline. After that, it’s off to the races in terms of choosing which features I want to build. The day really consists of coding, dealing with pull request reviews, making changes based on other people’s feedback, and just general collaboration. Our number one focus is making sure what we build into the product is the best it can be at all times.

What do you find most challenging about your role?
Tech’s always changing so I have to stay on top of what’s happening, and the different directions technologies are heading in. Even with the tech we currently use, the challenge is understanding the big picture, how everything operates, and how it’s all connected. For example, when it comes to cloud technology or developing at scale, what does that all look like? Challenges come in the form of understanding it all and realizing how one piece fits into the next. But overall, it’s really fun to learn these things and piece them all together.

What drew you to tech, and what excites you about the industry?
My older brother got me into tech. When we were younger, we would play computer games together, and then when he got to high school, he majored in computer science. He was my first exposure to tech and my inspiration. What excites me about it is the impact it has on people and how it makes our lives easier. I’m always thinking about how to use technology for good and what impact we can make with the products that we build. Creating something from scratch and seeing it out there in the world and being able to say, “I was a part of something much bigger than myself” is exciting.

If you could swap places with anyone at String and Key, who would it be and why?
I’d have to go with our CEO, Alex. After a brief stint in the corporate world, I tried my hand at being a solopreneur and started my own ed-tech startup. Everything fell on me, from the business side of things to the product build to the marketing and all else in between. I definitely appreciated all those moving parts, and so it would be cool to see how that all works at the String and Key level.

What unexpected subject could you give a one-hour presentation on with no advance prep?
It would be chess. I’ve come across so many people who say, “Oh, chess? Pfft, I could beat you”. They think It’s as easy as checkers or something. So, I could teach you how to beat those people who think they are hot stuff, even though they’re really not.

A high-level agenda for my chess presentation would be:

  1. How to approach the opening, middle game, and end game.
  2. What strategies you would want to have as offense (white) or defense (black).
  3. The differences between quick chess games (1,5, or 10 mins) vs. the long 90-min games (with extra time added).

What keeps you busy outside of work?
Definitely my little man. Also, working out, flying my drone and capturing different views of the Bronx, and side projects/side hustles — whether it’s freelancing or thinking up new business ideas.

Can you list five hashtags that describe your personality?
#Hustler #AlwaysEating #BelieveYouCanAndYouWill #Chill #FromTheBronxAllDayEveryDay

Lighting Round:

Netflix or YouTube?

iOS or Android?

Breakfast or dinner?

Sunlight or starlight?

Comfort or style?

Interested in working at String and Key? Join us!

String and Key

A stealth financial technology studio.

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