Written By: Malik Robinson
Before Road to Hire, life was like a non-stop journey of comparing my path to the paths of my college-enrolled peers. I had this idea that I would be able to work a full-time job to help support my family, and be a full-time student to achieve some of my long-term goals. Eventually, I had to pick between the two—I either was going to attend a four-year university or I was going to work to make a living. Unfortunately, the latter of the two won on multiple occasions. I remember laying in bed one day and thinking about what I was doing with my life. I was a receptionist at a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina working both second and third shifts. I was a 21 year old with nothing next to my name besides the fact that I dropped out of college multiple times. I knew something needed to change and decided that rather than just thinking about changing my path, I would actually do it.
I was introduced to Road to Hire by a friend, Katherine Juarez, who actually completed the program a few years before me. The opportunity was presented to her by one of our high school teachers, but back then I was set on getting a degree and becoming a professional photographer. Finally, after witnessing all of the amazing outcomes it had on her and others I attended high school with, I decided to give the program a shot.
While I was in Road to Hire I evolved into the professional young adult that I am today. If I were to compare who I am right now to who I was during the first day of the program, the difference is tremendous. At the beginning of program I was a situational introvert who knew a little bit about coding. I wasn’t comfortable speaking in front of a crowd or giving my opinion during a programming project. By the time graduation came around I was speaking comfortably in front of about ten software engineers during my final code review, which determined whether or not I would graduate.
Seven months after graduation, I am a Junior Web Developer on a product team at Red Ventures. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it weren’t for the skills I developed and the many mentors – including my peers – that guided me during the program. I will forever be grateful for this amazing opportunity and I look forward to helping mentor new students. Road to Hire taught me that being confined inside of my own personal box was preventing me from reaching my full potential, and it showed me how to challenge that by stepping out of my comfort zone.