Jordi Becerril didn’t see a lot of Latinx people working in technology when he was growing up. An avid gamer, the South Omaha native enjoyed taking apart XBoxes and Playstations to study how they worked—and to see if he could put them back together again.
But, because he never noticed any programmers he could really identify with, he assumed that an IT career path was simply off-limits.
It wasn’t until a representative from AIM Code School visited his class at Omaha South High School that a revelation hit him.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from,” he said. “Just put the work in. That’s one of the things that propels you forward.”
He’s right. The 22-year-old now works as a technical specialist for Mutual of Omaha, providing production support on application development. He also does freelance front-end projects, such as this website he made for his former soccer team.
“I knew I had the drive, but sometimes it’s good to ask for help,” he said.
The move paid off. Becerril used his newfound skills to teach computer programming classes for low-income high school kids in the summer of 2017. Then, in July, he landed a sweet gig as a front-end developer with Appsky, a local creative agency specializing in software, design, and consulting. He flexed his skills on e-commerce websites and mobile apps.
He loved the job. Unfortunately, agency life is famously topsy turvy. A year-and-a-half into the job he loved, Becerril had to leave Appsky last February.
So he found himself back at AIM Code School, taking a Java course. He wanted to become a full-stack developer—someone professionally skilled in both front-end and back-end development. After finishing the 14-week class, he applied for a technical specialist job at Mutual of Omaha and got it.
Now, not only is he putting his full stack abilities to work, he enjoys support from experienced mentors, as well as great career resources and advancement opportunities.
“This is a huge deal for Jordi,” said AIM Code School Student and Employer Engagement Coordinator Nate Decker. “We’re all very proud of him.”
“I used to wash dishes for a living,” Becerril said. “And now I code.”
While he’s not knocking dishwashers—he respects anyone working the position—he knows that programming is a better fit for him. And, as a first generation American of Mexican descent, he wants underrepresented youth to know that programming might be a good fit for them, too, even if they’ve never imagined themselves building technology before.
“You don’t always get the same opportunities as other people. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try,” Becerrill said. “My parents both came here with nothing.”
Aside from work, Becerril enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and continually learning and improving his development skills. His main goals are to become the best programmer he can possibly be, and to find a way to give back, preferably as a teacher educating the next generation of coders. He wants to help build a community that propels youth to achieve their dreams, no matter what situation they come from.