As a child, I remember reading some of my mother’s old assembly code textbooks and thinking to myself “I don’t know how any of this works but it’s extremely cool”.
A New Start
After graduating high school, I struggled with what I wanted to do in life. About three years, three different unfinished degrees, and three colleges later, LaunchCode presented itself to me with a wide open door. I was working full-time as a shift supervisor at Starbucks and still living with my mom, who at the time worked at the Federal Reserve. I came home one day and she told me about LaunchCode, who her employer worked with closely to hire new tech talent.
From day one, I could tell that LaunchCode had my best interests in mind, which was light-years ahead of the support I had gotten anywhere else.
I was quickly in contact with one of the Candidate Engagement Managers and began working with a mentor at LaunchCode. I met with a web developer in the field over the course of a few months and during this time, they helped me create a personal project that I could then show prospective employers. From day one, I could tell that LaunchCode had my best interests in mind, which was light-years ahead of the support I had gotten anywhere else.
Getting to Work
Shortly after the mentorship program, I landed an apprenticeship with one of LaunchCode’s partner companies, Unidev. My time at Unidev was quite eye-opening and was a big move forward for me in my career. I was working as a web developer having never had a job in the industry before, and while part of me was terrified not knowing what to expect, all of me was ready for the challenge. The people I worked with were nothing short of amazing, and the clients I grew relationships with were quite memorable. The biggest challenge I faced in my apprenticeship at the time was trying to find the balance between what my imagination could craft and what was practical.
I was working as a web developer having never had a job in the industry before, and while part of me was terrified not knowing what to expect, all of me was ready for the challenge.
One thing that I valued most about the apprenticeship is that I had a support every step of the way. Whether it was my coworkers, my Candidate Engagement Manager, the LaunchCode community, or my peers at large, I always had somebody I could turn to if I got stuck or had any issues. I think that with any new job, one will experience certain anxieties, but LaunchCode and Unidev definitely made sure that I was taken care of and that I had all the tools and resources I needed to succeed at my job and further my career.
Coding with Pride
With it being Pride Month, I think it’s important to share my experiences as an out member of the LGBTQIA+ community. I’ve never found it necessary to hide who I am for anybody, employers and coworkers included. Being a minority in a predominately homogeneous industry has never been a challenge for me personally, but I constantly strive to reach out to members of the community and get involved wherever I can to help ensure that everybody else has the same experience. Equality in the workplace is definitely a struggle for many, but I’m proud of all the efforts I’ve seen to create such measures as non-discrimination policies, professional GSA/Affinity networks and I am especially keen to LaunchCode’s efforts to further become a more inclusive and representative organization.
Some Parting Advice
If I had to give some advice, that advice would be to:
Follow your dreams. Nothing is out of reach if you put your heart and soul into it.
Finding a company to work for is like finding a comfortable pair of shoes. You should strive to work for an organization that shares your values, culture, and goals, and you shouldn’t accept any less.
Believe in yourself and your worth and know that there are resources everywhere you go.
By Ryan Coleman
LaunchCode Teaching Fellow
Full-Stack Web Developer
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