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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Young man who used to be a street hawker wins big, becomes software engineer and coding instructor

A young man named Devon Jackson who sold tickets for tourists while growing up finally wins big, becomes a software engineer, and is the owner of the company where he teaches millions of people how to code.

Devon Jackson, a new york native did not have the opportunity to attend high school or university. He grew up selling T-shirts and tickets for tourists to survive on the street of Times Square in the United States.

Later on, he started attending coding workshops where he received scholarships to enroll in Python and data-analysis boot camps.  Devon told Insider that eventually, he started studying for multiple professional IT skill certifications and that was when he realised he had a passion for technology.

 “It was nuts, I was like I’m never doing anything else except for this,” he said.

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Devon said he started his tech career fully in 2013 as an IT help-desk intern at a consulting firm, Accenture before he later got a job a year later as a full-stack developer at a boutique-software firm in Brooklyn, United States.

Evolving in the tech industry, Devon said he was disappointed with the discouraging number of Black engineers in the American tech space which made him seek to develop a solution to address the matter by giving back to society.

In 2017, he co-founded ” We Build Black”, a non-profit organization that hosts meet-ups, training courses, and workshops for upcoming Black engineers.

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“I became a software engineer and realized that I need to share the blessings with everybody around me, and you know, show my community essentially those freedoms,” he said.

According to the ‘We Build Black’ website, the organization has a mission to empower the Black community to achieve socio-economic change through technical education and professional appointment.

They also create opportunities for Black technologists to network, share skills, give and receive mentorship, and discover their next employer.

Devon shared that he used to feel annoyed about the fact that certain opportunities were not afforded to the Black community. Though he wanted to complain, he rather resorted to taking action to make an impact.

The non-profit has evolved from a one-man operation to a volunteer-run group that aims to support thousands of members looking to advance their professions. Devon leads, believing free career courses are better for closing the wealth gap than diversity panels.

Devon said since the launch of his organization six years ago, it has raised millions of dollars, hosted many events, trained, and helped over 3,000 members with their careers. He added that he wants to make sure people don’t have to go through the same financial obstacles that he had to face.

Devon advised others who may be using limited opportunities as a reason to discard their dreams of entering into the tech world to go for their dreams by putting in their all. “You got to control what you can control at the end of the day, and what you control is yourself. So get to the grind.”

Devon currently works as a senior software engineer at a cannabis-tech firm in the United States, LeafLink.

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