He Discovered Software Engineering and Found Himself

Alumni4 MIN READ

Yannik Büchi ’17 double majored in French and biology, and today he’s a full-stack software developer at real estate startup Upright

Yannik Büchi '17 at Gantry Park in Queens, N.Y. Büchi used tools he developed at Colby to adjusted his path and goals after graduation to find his comfort zone in his career.
By Kayla Voigt ’14Photography by Hilary Swift
March 14, 2024

If you asked Yannik Büchi ’17 as he stood knee-deep in a tidal pool researching ragworms during his summer at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences what he’d do when he graduated, he would have answered: “This.”

Fast-forward to 2024, and the biology and French double major is now a full-stack software developer for a startup company involved in real estate. “I came into college originally thinking that it would be a straight path to becoming a scientist,” he said. “I had no idea that I would end up as a software developer today. It was definitely not a linear progression coming out of Colby, but I know I received the tools I needed to find what I wanted to do.”

After graduation, Büchi had the confidence to work in multiple industries and with different types of companies, trying out positions in sales, education, and publishing. His varied coursework at Colby made him feel confident and prepared for anything as he adjusted his path and goals to find his comfort zone in his career.

From scientist to software engineer

Büchi’s experience digging into data (sometimes literally) in the Biology Department came in handy right away in an unexpected place: An entry-level position in education administration. “As a biology major, you learn how to analyze and use data. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a career in data analytics, but there was this need for data reporting and I knew I could learn, so I took that as an opportunity to teach myself how to code and build out a reporting infrastructure for them.” 

It takes a bold attitude to be willing to put yourself out there and try something new. “I told myself, if you try something you haven’t tried before, that’s the only way to learn whether you like it or not,” he said. “Technology is moving at such a fast pace that the job landscape is always changing. I know that Colby gave me the skills to go in different directions, and it’s up to me to chase what I want.”

Yannik Büchi ’17 is currently a software engineer for the startup Upright and said he loves the immediate impact of software engineer. “I’m building tools that help people in real-time.”

After a few years as a data analyst for an academic publisher, he realized he wanted to get closer to the nuts and bolts of how websites and applications get made. He took several coding boot camps and learned as much as he could on the job. Now, he’s a software engineer at real estate investment startup Upright. The company offers a two-sided investment platform for real estate developers and investors to raise capital and fund flipped house projects. 

In true startup fashion, Büchi does a little bit of everything, working on front-end website and platform experience and building back-end tools that make everything run smoothly. “I love the immediate impact that you get with software engineering. I’m building tools that help people in real-time,” he said.

Finding his joie de vivre

For Büchi, his Colby career was less about specific coursework and more about finding himself. “Looking back, the way Colby helped me is completely unexpected,” he said. “Of course, a liberal arts experience gives you a well-rounded education in lots of different subjects and areas. But I think for me, it was a lot more personal.”

Colombian by birth, Büchi was adopted by a Swiss family before moving to the United States. Despite his American upbringing, Büchi had to adjust to a new and different culture when he arrived in Waterville.

“I had an identity crisis, and I think joining the French Department was one of the best decisions I ever made. It was truly transformative, even though French is one of my native languages,” he said. “I felt like it was key to getting to understand myself and see the intersectionality of these different cultures that make me who I am.”

It was this combination of studying the natural world and learning more about Francophone cultures that helped him find even footing after graduation. Said Büchi, “My Colby education gave me the strength to find myself as an adult and be happy with the person I am so that I can go out there and make a positive difference in the world.”

Yannik Büchi ’17