Enabling Youth Employment: A Conversation with Lawrence Brown

| Lawrence Brown, computer technician and web developer at Resilient Coders

Lawrence-Brown (2)

Last month, we started a conversation on youth employment in the City of Boston. With the help of eight unique panelists from all walks of life, we discussed the importance of delivering employable skills (management, leadership, and coding, for example) to our local youth to drive the economy and uplift our communities. And we know that our youth know the struggle of employment best. So we want to showcase their stories.

Meet Lawrence Brown, a 26-year-old Boston resident who attended Newton schools through the Metco program and is now a computer technician and web developer at Resilient Coders.


How did you learn about Resilient Coders?

I was referred to the Resilient Coders bootcamp through an employee of the City of Boston. They had noticed me struggling to gain employment but saw my determination and connected me with people to get into the program.

What made you get into coding? What’s your favorite part about coding?

I’ve always been somewhat interested in the tech field. But all I was taught about was the stuff you can physically touch and see, such as networking and help desk — those types of things. Coding is just another outlet to be in the tech industry. My favorite part is when there’s something you work on for two hours and you just can’t get it right, then you take a walk around, eat, maybe talk on the phone… and you come back after giving your brain a rest and you fix your problem in 2 minutes. You surprise yourself, like, “wow, that’s all I had to do.”

Why does this work matter to you?

This work is important because people need websites in this day and age to have people notice them. But it’s more of the opportunity that matters, that there is this mysterious field of tech called coding no one knows about. Who are the people who do this? It’s such a mystery to people, and it could be the person sitting next to you on the bus or train — and that’s what I mean when I say that anyone can do it.

What’s your dream job?

When I was young my dream job was to be in the NBA — my first love is basketball. But now that I’m older and wiser, my dream job would be to manage a company that builds websites and employs inner city youth. I would obviously be managing from some tropical island :)….

What’s the coolest coding project you’ve worked on?

I guess the coolest would be working on my personal resume site. A website that showcases my talents. I would pick this because I’m free to do whatever I want and design it to fit me.

Why is it important for youth to learn these skills?

I think learning this skill is important because it will introduce youth to new ways to gain wealth. The future businesses will all be accessible online and they will be in need of our services.

What advice would you give to youth who want to learn tech skills?

I would say to never give up. It gets hard — really hard — and you will hit walls where it would be easier to quit. If you can get around that wall, you’ll make it in the tech field for sure. And always be open to new experiences; you never know what is around the corner.

With the help of Agora Town Hall, we’ve set up a town hall discussion of our own, where we encourage members of our community to discuss, contribute, and act through message boards, polls, data visualizations, and more. We want to help improve youth employment in our city, and that starts with you. Join us in the conversation at theagora.co/townhalls/mcyouth.

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