Hack the Hood believes in highlighting the young people who have brought their skills and passions to our program to inspire others. We're profiling a different young leader each month to share their journey through Hack the Hood and beyond, with Terrence being our July feature.
1. What made you decide to join Hack the Hood (HtH)? When did you start with HtH?
At the start of 2018, I was having a conversation about bitcoin and tech with a friend of mine. They brought up Hack the Hood and informed me about an upcoming bootcamp. I immediately went to the website to learn more about the organization and told myself that I have to join it ASAP. I applied just in time and was able to join the Spring 2018 Bootcamp. I joined because I believe in the end result of Hack the Hood - to give underrepresented individuals an opportunity to become the representations they’ve always wanted to see. I was looking for a way to help the youth see themselves in tech.
2. What did you learn that was unexpected? Was there anything that surprised you about the program?
The fact that an organization like Hack the Hood existed was already a surprise to me. I couldn’t believe that their program would provide you a free laptop and pay you to learn. Everything I experienced during the program led to a shift in my mindset - business trips to tech companies, networking, learning about the impostor syndrome, and codeswitching. The Bootcamp helped me realize that I already have what it takes to succeed and that I can use resources like Hack the Hood to get me to where I want to go.
3. What has your journey post- Hack the Hood looked like?
After graduating from Hack the Hood, I decided to save up money to join a more intensive bootcamp, Coding Dojo. This helped me get more acclimated to the tech scene and continue to network with folks in the industry. It was exciting to notice how my confidence in my technical abilities rapidly grew. After that, I spent time teaching software and robotic fundamentals at an after-school program called CodeRev Kids. In 2019, I became an Associate Systems Engineer for F5 Networks. I am currently working on a Full Stack Engineering Apprenticeship with Geekwise, thanks to Hack the Hood. I was introduced to the organization through Hack the Hood’s Director of Opportunities, Alex Mora, and a great time. I was already looking for work opportunities due to the impact of COVID-19. I’m really grateful that Hack the Hood continues to engage with their youth during these uncertain times. Since I started my apprenticeship, I have been able to work on an app for an international brand that’s available in both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.
4. What do you do for fun?
Work, work, and more work. That’s fun for me, it’s my version of playing video games because I’m so addicted to learning and building my tech skills. I do understand that everyone needs a break, so I like to do activities with my 1-year-old son to help benefit both of us.
5. What are your favorite foods?
Home-cooked meals hands-down are my favorite. I also like a good smoothie for brunch.
6. What are three places you enjoy visiting in the Bay Area and beyond?
I don’t have any specific spots in mind, but I enjoy just being out in nature -whether it’s at the beach, hiking, or places like Yosemite.
7. Who are your top music artists?
I don’t have anyone specific, I really just go on Free Code Camp Radio or Youtube and type in ‘jazz’ and just let it play. Ido enjoy FJK and Masego
8. Who do you follow on Insta?
I honestly haven’t been on Instagram in a while. I’ve been taking a social media detox for the past couple of months. Whenever I am on it though, I would follow public speakers, health and wellness folks, and technology icons.
9. Where’d you grow up? What do you like about the Bay Area?
I grew up in Newark. Growing up, I moved around a lot in the East Bay. I’m currently residing in Tracy with my wife and son. Though I moved out of the Bay Area earlier this year, what I like about it is the diversity. It’s a melting pot. You can learn just by getting to know people and their culture. I believe that’s beneficial, especially today when America is so divided and set in its ways.
10. What’s something you’d like to see change in Oakland? What do you want your contribution to that change to be?
I’d like to change the hue of technology in the Bay Area, to make it more diverse, not just in ethnicity but also in backgrounds. I am doing this by constantly promoting and sharing organization, like Hack the Hood, to other individuals. There are already resources to help you succeed and I want my community to be aware of that.
11. What do you appreciate about today’s technology?
I appreciate the fact that technology is openly available to the public. It can be difficult at times to get in-depth knowledge, but it’s there if you just keep searching for it.
12. What type of technology do you wish you had but hasn’t been invented yet?
I believe the current state of technology has the ability to heal and stop diseases. We’ve advanced so much over the past decades and I feel like we still have a long way to go.
13. What would be your dream job? What do you want to be when you grow up?
As cool as it would be to work in one of the top tech companies, my dream job would be to start my own company and create technology that is part of advancing healthcare.
Photography by Christine Cueto.
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