High school seniors are faced with lots of challenging choices that will shape their future for years to come. Among the choices are which college to attend or should they even attend college at all? And how many student loans to take out to obtain a degree? Many young adults follow tradition and enter the workforce or go to college because that’s all they know. This article is about a young man who faced with traditional choices, choose to try something new, and so far it is paying off.

Malcolm Ford first thought of having a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) while attending high school at MLK College Prep here in Memphis.

He was a good student but wasn’t always excited about the school’s traditional curriculum. When CodeCrew offered in-school coding and tech courses, Malcolm figured it was worth a try. He was immediately engaged in the program and took to it like a bee to honey. Malcolm’s inquisitive nature and personality caught the attention of CodeCrew’s Executive Director Meka Egwuekwe who immediately noticed how involved and curious Malcolm was regarding CodeCrew.

Here is a short 30 second video of Malcom from 2016:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTZK_KgNgAw

Malcolm graduated from MLK College Prep in the Spring of 2017 and was accepted to major universities; however, he had another idea for his future. He enjoyed coding, tech education, and computer science so much that he decided to research career coding bootcamps and certification programs. At the time there were no such programs in Memphis but Malcolm was able to find the Nashville Software School, in… well, Nashville, about 200 miles from his hometown.

After taking time to weigh the pros and cons, Malcolm decided to go for it. He applied and got accepted. His family had envisioned a life at college for Malcolm but ultimately, they accepted his decision to pursue his dreams. So, after graduation, he enrolled in Nashville Software School and recently he graduated and has accepted his first full-time position.

We spoke to Malcolm and asked him a few questions about his experiences:

Tell us about how CodeCrew has impacted your life and your decision to forego college, for now.

Code Crew exposed me to a field that I could be passionate about. At Code Crew, I realized that I wanted to submerge myself into coding. While college is still an option, I felt that a coding bootcamp would've provided me with the immersive experience that I was looking for. 

What did you learn with CodeCrew that excited you?

I was able to get my feet wet with real programming languages. The veil of magic that covered my understanding of the Internet was removed, and I was learning to how to make my ideas come true.

When you graduated what made you seek out a coding bootcamp?

My grandmother. She mentioned hearing about a coding bootcamp in Nashville, so I looked them up and found the Nashville Software School. I wished CodeCrew had something like it, but they didn’t at the time.

(Interrupting Malcolm) Well, you know we are launching Code School this summer?

Yes, I was about to say, Meka told me about it and I think it is a wonderful opportunity for someone like me who didn’t want to spend 4 years at a traditional university.

How did you land your job?

At the end of the 6 months, there is a demo day, like a showcase. This is where the students showoff what they have learned and there are employers there as well. I was able to show some of the frontend and backend projects that I had developed. I received some interest and had an interview and was offered the job as a Junior Web Developer.

Last question, do you have any regrets about not attending a 4-year college program?

No, not at all. I will probably go back to college at some point and get an advanced degree but I hope by then I will be able to control the pace and costs associated with college.

To learn more about CodeCrew Code School, go to code-crew.org/code-school and check out our promotional video by clicking here.

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