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”.
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.
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.
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.
If I had to give some advice, that advice would be to:
By Ryan Coleman
LaunchCode Teaching Fellow
Full-Stack Web Developer