Tell us about your career, and how you ended up at Duolingo!
After spending 10 years working at big tech companies, I was ready to find a company where I could really see my impact and work on something meaningful. I was really excited when I realized Duolingo was hiring - I'd been a long-time user of the app and jumped at the chance to be a part of it.
What do you like most about Duolingo?
The culture and community - even as it grows, the company feels really close. It's full of incredibly welcoming, friendly, and likable people, and the NYC office went out of their way to make me feel at home even before I started.
What is unique about working at Duolingo?
For the first time in my career, I have an easy answer for friends who ask what I do – and one that I’m super happy about and proud of: I build features to help Duolingo teach grammar more effectively!
What surprised you most in your first few months?
I have found better documentation in our codebase than what I’m used to, and since the majority of employees have stayed at Duolingo, I’m able to get answers from engineers who have been at Duolingo since our founding! People are helpful, and getting up to speed didn’t take as long as I thought. There were high expectations for me to be productive quickly – but those expectations were reasonable.
Proudest moment so far?
My team presented a new demo to our founder, Luis. The next day, Luis told the whole company about our work. Having buy-in from the CEO in what I do is really cool.
Seeing the project (new skills for teaching grammar in the French course) go live was a great feeling - that kind of direct impact on users was very rare in past jobs!
How do you see yourself growing at Duolingo?
It's easy to stay motivated when I see how my work directly impacts our learners. And to find how to grow, I only have to look around – the company is full of people who've accomplished amazing things, and they're always open and accessible to talk about how they developed and grew in their careers.
What are you most excited about?
The opportunity to help improve Duolingo as a platform for language learning even more!
Finally, something important - what's the correct wine to accompany both fried chicken and Animal Crossing?
Want to join Michael? We’re hiring! Click here to check out our open roles!