Breaking into Startups: How a 16-year-old dropout became a senior engineer at Slack

by admin February 28, 2017 at 6:08 pm

7,000 people drop out of high school every day. The reasons why these students drop out are complex, but society tends to perceive these individuals negatively.  However, many of these people had to leave to support family or care for a member of the family, or faced other pressures that justify their decision.

Many of these students still want to learn a skill set that prepares them for the high-skilled careers that are the backbone of today’s economy.

This week’s Breaking Into Startups episode features Rodney Urqhart who talks about how he acquired the skills to become a Senior Engineer at Slack after he dropped out of high school at 16 years old to work at Burger King, Sears, Best Buy, Comcast, Thoughtworks, and Microsoft (Yammer).

He also talks about what life was like in North Philadelphia vs. culture at Slack. In the next twenty minutes you’ll hear Urqhart talk about survival, interracial dynamics, negotiation techniques, Thoughtwork’s 2-Year engineering program focused on Agile software development (STEP), social justice, and more.

Everybody performs differently in different settings and Rodney talks about interview screening tactics to find someone with his background, soft skills, and his role in the A* program at Dev Color mentoring other Black Engineers that want to break into tech.


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