At the beginning of his Senior year, Ahad’s friends asked if he was going to join an after-school program that was returning for its second year at Hendrickson High School: Code2College. Those who it participated the previous year shared that it involved visiting companies on weekends, working with Tech industry volunteers, after-school coding and even the possibility of paid, summer internships. Ahad was on-board from the first time he heard of the program; soon after, he applied and was later accepted to Code2College.
“On the first after-school session, I walked in the class and the first faces I saw were the Code2College Volunteer Instructors,” shared Ahad. “They were arguably the most valuable aspect of the program because they gave me perspective on what was actually happening and relevant in the software development industry: a field that I wanted to enter after graduating college.”
Another aspect of the program that Ahad enjoyed was the series of monthly professional skills workshops held at Code2College corporate partner offices. During these Saturday workshops, students learn various professional development skills like resume building, elevator pitches, interview skills, and more from corporate volunteers. “My favorite workshop was the design thinking workshop at IBM. I enjoyed learning about the design side of software development. I had never really heard of, or been exposed to, that area of the industry,” explained Ahad. This level of exposure and real-life experiences were all new, challenging, and insightful for Ahad.
After developing his technical interview skills during a workshop last December and several additional weeks of support from Code2College volunteers, Ahad was surprised with the chance to put his skills to the test: he was invited to interview for a Code2College Summer Internship.
He interviewed with that internship host partner in March. “The interviewing experience felt quite good for me. They white-boarded with me and asked questions about my work and academic experience,” shared Ahad. “Unfortunately, I did not get the offer, however my interviewing experience didn’t stop there!”
Ahad was later invited to interview with another Code2College internship host company – Kendra Scott – for an internship in their Information Technology (IT) department, and he received the offer! “Kendra Scott was willing to provide me with valuable experiences that I needed to succeed in the workforce.”
Failure is not fatal and Ahad proved that by continuing to persevere and use his first interview experience as an opportunity to build upon, he was able to secure an offer after his second summer internship interview.
Code2College plays a vital role for the central Texas tech landscape. “Too often success in the tech scene is reliant on well-connected parents, good schools, and other factors out of the control of the student. It’s no wonder why the American tech scene struggles with diversity,” shared Ahad. “Code2College might just be the intermediary that we need to finally diversify the workforce and create a more unified country in which all, not just a few, can achieve the American Dream.”
Ahad will be attending The University of Texas at Dallas this fall, majoring in Computer Science. He hopes to work as a Software Engineer. After graduating from Code2College, Ahad hopes to contribute as a volunteer, as he enjoys teaching and mentoring other students. He shared that after college he will continue to support the Code2College program through mentorship, raising awareness, and donating. We can’t wait to watch Ahad develop and grow!