For the last 3 years I’ve been actively teaching iOS development to under-represented groups at Pursuit, formerly Coalition for Queens.
Prior to my journey to Pursuit I started my professional iOS development at an app agency in the Chelsea area of New York City called SWARM NYC. There I worked on small, midsize to larger scale apps for companies such as the CBS corporation.
I encountered a few hurdles along the way prior to starting my professional career in software engineering, one of those setbacks was my lack of work authorization needed to work in the United States. This would take the better part of a decade before I received it. I also had multiple breaks between degrees as I sorted out finances needed to continue. Receiving a partial scholarship did help tremendously on my pursuit to completing my undergraduate degree at NYIT.
During those downtimes, and there were plenty I found motivation to keep up with software development through podcasts like Build and Analyze, meetups like iOS Soho and internet live shows such as TWIT.tv
My Pursuit interview process included a 3 hour lecture interview to the class I was interviewing to teach, at the time it was iOS 4.3. I needed to prepare a lecture on using
JSONSerialization to parse
JSON data, back then
Codable was just introduced in Swift 4 and most of the industry was still using
I connected with the fellows immediately and knew this was a job I would be instantly engaged with. As a matter of fact it would be more than just a job, it would be a mission I felt very connected to, as a fellow immigrant and under-represented individual this was a dream job to empower folks that look like me and had parallels in their lives like myself.
Upon accepting the offer I would go on to connecting with each fellow beyond just instructor / fellow relationship, it was a cause, we were family.
My number one goal as an instructor when it came to curriculum content was to provide as up-to-date industry standards as possible.
Ways in which I was able to do this was connecting with industry professionals with years of experience in leadership roles at their companies and get feedback on curriculum.
The ultimate highlight, milestone is being and working with a fellow when they accept their first professional software development job.
Through all my time at Pursuit the fellows all showed determination, hard work and grit in all aspects of their professionalism whether it be a mother with two children and a Mom at home and a commitment to the Pursuit fellowship. The fellowship is 10-months long and is a full time 10 am to 6 pm, 5 days a week.
We now come upon my transition from Pursuit.
New York Times
During my job search for my next adventure and journey I was determined to have a checklist in mind to what such an opportunity should constitute.
Some of those criteria are listed below:
- commitment by the company in regards to its diversity and inclusion
- openness and contribution to open source
- growth opportunities and a clear path to those goals
I was fortunate to have multiple job offers on the table and as in the interview process itself this was quite a challenge. A challenge because unlike high attrition rate patterns in the tech industry I always see myself being part of a company for as long as I am motivated, engaged and growing. So I needed to think through my decision for the long term including what’s best for my family.
I’ve used the New York Times API for many lectures and content in my classes at Pursuit and always admired and appreciated their sense of openness and community. Whether it be the NYT Open blog or engineers at the Times working on Open source software.
I have objectives in my own growth as a developer and see the New York Times and the team as a perfect fit.
I’m super excited about my next journey and at the same time will surely miss the opportunity although unfortunately it won’t happen in the iOS space at Pursuit for a new generation of cultivating under-represented iOS developers in 2021, especially with all the latest Apple frameworks and APIs.
I’m hoping to very much be connected to the community beyond my days at Pursuit and be a medium for change and transformation.
Connect with me on Twitter where I talk about Swift as my day to day coding goes and Zwift where I escape. You can also find iOS and Swift videos on my YouTube channel. Thanks for reading and let’s continue to inspire each other as we drive change.