BOSTON — Ryan Tillman-French sat at his seventh-floor desk early on a Thursday morning, the skyscrapers of downtown Boston crowding the windows behind him.
On a laptop in the nearly empty office, he worked on code for a webpage he was developing for his employer, the learning materials company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. In half an hour, he needed to join a conference call about changes to the company’s website.
He had been at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for four months. Coding he liked. Meetings, not so much.
“That’s one thing I wasn’t warned about when it comes to the corporate world,” he said. “So many meetings.”
Tillman-French, 26, grew up in a Detroit neighborhood where few people around him had jobs. He received an associate degree, hoping to eventually get a bachelor’s and work as a financial adviser. Instead, he bounced from one unfulfilling job to the next in the hospitality and restaurant industries. In the fall of 2017, he moved to Boston and enrolled in a community college, planning to transfer to a four-year program.
One day, a friend forwarded an email about Resilient Coders, a boot camp that trains people of color for web development and software engineering jobs. On a lark, Tillman-French went to a Resilient Coders hackathon, and the passionate staff there… (continue reading)