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Meet our Prodigies: Jonathan Richardson

Prodigy Careers Blog

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Meet Jonathan Richardson - Staff Software Developer! Jonathan joined Prodigy in August 2017. He is responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining distributed software solutions, while providing technical guidance and leadership.

Hey Jonathan! What led you to this career?

I’ve been coding since I was a kid, but I also always excelled in English. So in my early career I actually went off to become a teacher. I realized in my first year as a teacher that I still really loved building things as well as the tech side. I was always using tech in class so I really wanted to lean into that. I spent the summer sharpening my coding skills, then left teaching and moved into working in tech for another education software company, which was a great combination of still helping students while also following my passion! I’m a person who has successfully merged what I love into a career, and that makes life very nice.

What attracted you to working at Prodigy?

At the time I couldn’t believe Prodigy existed. It was such an intersection of all the things in my life which had led me to this point. I looked at the product and was amazed that something so fun, interactive and engaging for kids was available on the web. So I joined as part of the education team, focusing on how we could build questions in the game and align them to real-world curricula for meaningful assessment. I just dove fully into the world of educational tech at Prodigy. 

What makes working at Prodigy special?

I always say it’s the problems we solve and the people we work with. I’ve had the pleasure of working on a widely-enjoyed educational game with remarkable colleagues over the years. Software development really is about the people. That makes for a fantastic work environment where I’m focusing on meaningful problems, challenging tech, and with some of the most skilled and engaged people I have ever worked with. 

What part of your job is most rewarding?

I really believe in the mission here. If we can truly help students love learning, there is undeniable value in that to parents and teachers. So Prodigy’s mission really speaks to me and has always been a guiding light. We’re very conscious that the involvement of teachers and parents is a critical factor in childhood education, and so Prodigy tries to encourage those connections.

In addition to the mission, one of the most remarkable things about working here is being recognized in the community! People will see your Prodigy-branded swag and tell you that they love Prodigy. I’ll always remember the time I was at the park with my son, and one of the other kids was taken aback, thanking me for “making their life better” when they found out where I worked. It was so rewarding! Now my son is at the right age to play and I get to see him work through the math problems and see that same sense of success and achievement in him. There are lots of other places I could work, but it’s hard to think of another company that’s doing what Prodigy is doing. 

What are you most excited about for the future?

For me, it’s how we’re now broadening into multiple subjects. That’s really exciting. Seeing us branch into English was great as that is a personal passion of mine. Our game-based learning approach can really extend to any subject. I’m also really excited about connecting parents and teachers more to kids’ educational experiences. We’re also doing a lot more with “real-time answer analysis”, where we’re pushing data to parents and teachers as soon as we detect it to be important. This is new event-driven tech we’ve put in place and I’m very excited about that, so teachers and parents know even sooner about where students are excelling and where they may need extra help.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about joining Prodigy?

The mission is great. The scale is dramatic. Every release goes live to a huge audience of teachers, parents, and kids playing in class or at home. The code you write and systems you build will be seen and used by millions of people a month, so you’ll be making a really big impact. It’s the most rewarding job that I’ve ever had.

Interested in joining Jonathan at Prodigy? Check out our open positions!