He’s a young man on a mission. And there are others like him.
Glyne Gittens, 25, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, (below) played with computers as a child even though his family couldn’t afford them. His love of video games turned into a love of coding as he grew up and enrolled in Brooklyn Technical High School, where he selected an academic focus in computer science.
“I completely fell in love with the idea that you could program a computer to do what you tell it to do, to make things,” he said.
“It blew my mind.”
Gittens enrolled at the City University of New York’s City College of Technology after high school graduation. He did well, but after two years he took a break to earn some money and pay off his debts.
He re-enrolled at Hunter College to pursue a degree in computer science.
A year later, Gittens learned about a program called CUNY Tech Prep that trains students in technology and sets them up with internships. He jumped at it and was able to hone his skills in back-end development and testing, build his project portfolio and prepare for technical interviews.
After Gittens completed an internship at Twitter last summer and participated in the Code2040 fellowship program, the social media giant offered him a full-time job at the company after he graduates.
Gittens aims to use his new gig at Twitter to change the world.
“One of the largest things I want to accomplish is making tech a more diverse and inclusive space,” he said. “Have the hard conversations and tell the stories from all sides, to help people really understand each other.”
Mayor de Blasio and CUNY officials expanded the school’s tech prep in October with the launch of CUNY 2X Tech. The 2X initiative aims to double by 2022 the number of students graduating annually with a tech-related bachelor’s degree.
The $20 million program starts in January, bringing new tech professors, career advisers and internships to six CUNY campuses, and giving a total of 7,500 undergraduate students an extra boost in technology careers.
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CUNY 2x Tech is the latest program begun under the city’s Tech Talent Pipeline, a multi-agency workforce-development effort to place more city students and workers in growing tech fields.
The NYC Tech Talent Pipeline — which de Blasio created in 2014 — connects schools and students with the city’s booming tech sector via internships and job training.
Since then, 454 residents have landed starter jobs with hot tech companies that pay average salaries of $64,000 a year, de Blasio administration officials said.
The programs are operated by the city’s Small Business Services Department and come at no cost to job seekers. Agency Commissioner Gregg Bishop said the program has social and economic benefits.
“We’re helping diverse populations of New Yorkers launch quality careers in the local tech sector,” Bishop said. “And we’re developing homegrown talent to support the growth of this important industry.”
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