Newbie Feature: Desmend Jetton / Software Developer

Monday, December 7, 2020

WHO: Desmend Jetton

WHERE: Chicago, IL

WHAT: Junior Software Developer(Codemoji), Career Coach-Tech & Data(IIT), Co-Founder (Tech(10)X

He considers himself a Newbie, Blerd, and Techie

SALARY EST.: Overall about $56,000

Now that we've gotten the basics out of the way let's get to Desmend and his journey to tech.

I was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. Was raised primarily by my mom with an older brother and younger sister. I moved to LA in 2009 and then moved to Chicago in 2016.

I got into tech through national service. My first encounter with technology was working as a City Year Corps Member in Los Angeles where my team trusted me with some technical challenges. Further, while working under the Application Support Manager at Occidental College, I volunteered at a LA based non-profit, Teens Exploring Technology, where inner-city high school boys were exposed to coding and technical entrepreneurship. About 75% of participants major in Computer Science and 100% matriculate into college. It was after this experience that I applied as an Americorps VISTA for Illinois Tech's Global Leaders Program. Using my Segal Award and WOIA, I finished a post-bacc in Web Application Development at IIT. What I love about tech is that it allows you to build a better world one byte at a time.

How did your traditional education (or non-traditional) prepare you for your current job?

My post bacc in Web Application Development gave me a good foundational footing for application development, but I still have more technical knowledge I need to know. What makes the field rewarding is that no one knows everything, and there is always new things to learn. Before I focused on web development I dabbled in Android Development. Now, I deep dive in front-end web strategies but bolster my knowledge with data structures and algorithms.

What do you do to stay up-to-date on your technical certifications and knowledge?

A great resource I use all the time is Educative. There are also cool cohort programs out there like CodeBreakers, CodingPhase, and others give you a community and dedicated resources to help you break into tech. 

NIT Staff: Desmond currently uses two coding languages: Javascript and Python

What is your biggest challenge working in tech?

The challenge for tech, which is both good and bad, is that there are many pathways into technology. Growing up in Vegas, the construction industry is vast, however, there are clear pathways for one to become certified as a carpenter, welder, etc. What I love about construction and tech is the teamwork involved into making a great experience. 

However, in technology, especially developers, there isn't a clear certifying "pathway" to become a developer. Most of my coding mentors are self-taught.

What the coolest project you have worked on?

I'm working on a web project that will allow students to find some great resources for the tech career pathway. Another favorite was a new front-end video player for Codemoji, an ed tech startup that teaches kids coding fundamentals using emojis.

What are you passionate about outside of tech?

My co-founders and I received a grant from UChicago's I-Corps grant to investigate how to educate, attract, and retain black and underrepresented software developers in Chicago.

Got any favorite tech jokes or embarrassing stories?

I always love the one when I am stuck on a problem for hours, I give it to a senior developer and they solve it in a minute.

NIT Staff: We all know the Geniuses are always there to save the day! We thank them for their service.

What are your goals for the future?
Launch Tech(10)X and keep growing as a developer.

Who’s your favorite Tech celebrity and why?
Mercedes Bernard, Byron Woodfork, Deja Baker, Brittney Braxton, Livio Bolzon, Neal Sales-Griffin, Lupe Fiasco. All are dope and inspirational.
Best advice you have for Newbie trying to get into tech?
Find a mentor and keep shipping code.

Best place you would consider for resources online? 
Codebreakers, Educative,, Traversy Media

Where can Newbies connect with you online?