It is often said that it is okay to go to a technical field, but there are many jobs. He doesn’t need a four-year degree to get a high-paying job in this industry.
But less talked about is how people got their first roles. Applying, interviewing and getting started is not always easy.
Founder of black tech filly, an organization focused on technical education and helping new engineers step into the professional door, started the group according to their own struggles and experience of entering the technology. Here are their stories and how their experiences inspired the founding of Black Tech Philly.
Three Career Journeys: Ian Kimble
Ian Kimble Said Technical.ly He was always interested in learning how things worked.he went to Pennsylvania I majored in political science, but ended up working as an insurance salesman. In her spare time, she learns about web development through articles, blog posts, and YouTube videos. His sheer curiosity drove him to teach himself about it.
Kimble was actually motivated to pursue web development not only because of the prospect of more money, but also because he wanted a more challenging career. It’s a career where you’re constantly learning, building on what you’re learning, and even revisiting and reevaluating what you know,” he said. “Web development and engineering is a constant change. It’s very dynamic in that sense.”
Eventually, Kimble saved enough money to enroll. University of Pennsylvania LPS Coding Boot CampDuring this time, he worked for an insurance company during the day and attended web development bootcamps at night.
He completed bootcamp in 2018 but struggled to find a job.
“It’s been difficult because there’s a catch-22 of trying to get a job with no experience but not getting experience because you don’t have a job,” he said. He started taking on freelance projects to keep adding experience to his resume.
Kimble says that time building his network and portfolio as a freelancer eventually led to his first major role as a software engineer. money changer 2020, two years after finishing boot camp.
Three Career Journeys: Ryan Small
Ryan Small He said he never seriously considered a career in tech. “Software Developer” as a title was not presented to him as a child.
small participated Philadelphia Museum of Art I studied graphic design, but I didn’t finish college. He eventually went to a bank and did so for ten years before desperately wanting to change his career. Around 2016, he quit banking for a sales job and started thinking about what he really wanted to do next.
In 2018 he started playing around with HTML. Coincidentally, multiple people in his life sent him information about boot camp. Postal Code Wilmington.
“It felt like Kismet in a way,” he said.
Zip Code Wilmington has partnered with a hiring company, and Small got a chance to interview for a job, but said he didn’t take much of what he learned at the bootcamp. After graduating in 2018, he struggled to find a job.
“As a black man who did rock, and I used to rock at the time, you must be kinda special. I wasn’t. At the time, I was just kind of mid-level.” I did,” Small said. “You still feel weird because of so many of these rooms you walk into. Maybe you feel like you don’t belong there. It doesn’t help your confidence.” Hmm.”
Small decided to turn to freelance front-end work and use his design skills again, while doing odd jobs to make ends meet. He did back-end work and continued to look for jobs that utilized those skills.
In 2021, Small finally got a job JP Morgan Chase as a software engineer. However, a year later he sought a change and found his current job as a full-stack software his engineer. enfuse.io.
Three Career Journeys: Khalil Saboor
Khalil Sabor My journey with technology began when I attended a STEM program in high school. temple university It taught him how to use Java.he went to Arcadia University I majored in computer science for a year, but dropped out because I couldn’t afford to continue.
he got a job at Starbucks I taught myself coding through free resources and meetups at gas stations. He became interested in learning more and eventually got a scholarship to zip code Wilmington. He finished his boot camp in 2018.
Like Small, Saboor had the chance to interview partners, but those leads didn’t go well. He also received backlash for being too young to attend bootcamp at 22. He eventually returned to Starbucks after being unable to find work.
“I felt stuck here,” he said. Github”
As Saboor continued to freelance and network, he eventually connected with someone at an event that helped him land a position for 18 months. GSKMore So he tried different engineering teams. He worked there for about three years. In his January of this year, he took his current role as software engineer. american express.
Why Start Black Tech Philly
Small and Sabour met through a Wilmington zip code, and Kimble met Sabour at a coffee shop in downtown Philadelphia. Together, the three created a network of black tech professionals open to people of all skills and levels.
Kimble’s own career journey demonstrates the importance of networking.
“We’ve thought about this kind of knowledge sharing through a few different conversations, and obviously we’re not the only ones who have gone through this,” he said. “We won’t be the last to go through this, but maybe we can create a network of people who are in a similar position, whether they want to get into tech, want to change careers, or are younger. , maybe they’re interested in it, but just don’t have the resources or the network to get started.”
Saboor said he wants to start Black Tech Philly as a club for people from local tech companies to come together and support each other. Especially given his experience of being the only black man on most of his engineering teams, Saboor said.
Small said it’s important to have a space that brings together people who look alike and have similar experiences. He hasn’t always had it, but he knows it helps to have support from the community.
“We know it’s hard for people of color, especially blacks, who don’t have a full background in computer science to get into this field. You have to be there,” Small said. “We feel it shouldn’t be.”
Advice for beginners
Kimble’s advice for people just starting out in their tech careers? Don’t stop.
“It’s natural to be refused. You can grow from there,” he said. “Also, think big. When you’re uninspired, but have this passion, focus on the projects you want to build.”
Saboor added that one of his biggest lessons is to keep in touch with people of all experience levels. New to the field, he offers mentorship and compares notes if he meets someone at his level of experience.
Part of having a network of people to learn and teach, Kimble said, is knowing that if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. Less, it applies to black professionals who feel isolated in some corporate cultures. The co-founder of Black Tech Philly wants these people to know there’s a community for them to pursue their passion for tech.
For Small, it is important that people know their options and never assume that a given role or field is not for them.
“If you’re someone who’s adaptable and a quick learner, it’s absolutely for you,” he said. ”
Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 squad member for Report for America. This position is supported by the Renfest Journalism Institute.