Tell us about yourself
I started my tech journey at 16 years old. I wanted to be a video game developer so I taught myself how to build websites to attract other game developers to teach me how to build one.
I ended up building a specialized career in software development. Now I own tech consulting firm, Soul Theory and I’m currently focused on scaling my online learning platform, Black Tech Academy to teach others who look like me and share my experiences skills to grow their tech careers.
How did you first get started in your career in tech?
My first professional job in tech was a full-stack software engineer role for an insurance company in Nashville. I found the job through a peer in college who recommended I apply for the position and I ended up getting the job 3 months before I actually graduated.
I later worked for a financial services and education company in Nashville as a Ruby on Rails developer and decided to curate my career on two things - finance based companies and Ruby on Rails Developer roles.
To get my foot in the door I Googled everything I could learn about Ruby on Rails, full-stack development and finance. Learning came somewhat easy for me; however, my career really took off when I asked for mentorship.
What are the most important skills in your current position? How did you develop these skills?
Now that I’m a full-time entrepreneur with a solid tech background, the most important skills I think someone needs to have in my position are sheer perseverance and grit, communication skills with business stakeholders and customers, and delegation.
Being a developer made me always want to “do things myself” which isn’t always the best use of my time anymore. In order to develop these skills I had to learn by trial and error of actually running a business from top-to-bottom. One of the best ways I acquired these skills were simply finding new projects to take on by customers.
What are some resources that helped you in your journey in tech?
The Pragmatic Programmer by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas helped me create a great mindset to my developer career.
The Clean Coder by Robert C. martin helped me treat coding as a craft and understand deep knowledge of coding.
E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber helped me understand how to transition from being a developer into becoming a tech consultant and running a business.
The Ruby on Rails Guides documentation is the #1 source for learning how to build applications in Rails.
What difficulties did you face in your career? How did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges I faced in my career was being the only black person in my company (and on the tech team also). This meant I had to work twice as hard to be heard or valued and yet I was responsible for solving many of the companies’ greatest challenges.
When my consulting company allowed me to quit that job and work for myself full-time I realized how important it was that I followed my heart for my career. It was the best decision I ever made. I also learned that I deserve to sit at the table and contribute just like everyone else there which made it easier moving forward to be my own boss.
Looking back on your career, what advice do you wish someone had given you that would have helped accelerate your career?
I wish someone would had given me advice on how to negotiate what you want. Even at a 10 year career span I am just now learning how to negotiate things that I want in the opportunities that present themselves.
I also wish someone would have told me to say no to working overtime. It is not in my best interest to work so hard for someone else when my heart was to work for myself all along. Companies will try to get you to work overtime but I would not recommend it; value your time.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. How can we support you?
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