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Imani Greenidge

As a Code Nation student, Imani Greenidge took every program and participated in almost every event offered. Now, as a Code Nation alumni studying Computer Science in college, he’s staying involved and paying it forward.

 

Brooklyn HS for Law and Tech, 2018

City Tech, 2022

The Vaan Group

PolicyGenius

Imani was attending Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology when he took his first coding class in 2015. It was the Code Nation Foundations course, where he learned the coding basics of HTML, CSS, jQuery, and JavaScript from the volunteer web/software engineers James Ayres, Jane Kim, Jonathan Daily, and Olivia Gresham.

After passing Foundations with flying colors, Imani moved up to the Code Nation Advanced course. His class was held at Bark and Co. in 2016-2017, where his next team of volunteer teachers were Bark and Co’s own software engineers: Becky Segal, Ali Hoefinger, Raman Nanda, Alvin Milton, and Erin Zobitz. They taught Imani advanced JavaScript, Git, and APIs.

A total of eleven volunteers would help Imani through his Code Nation education, each one generously giving of their time to ensure his success. Imani remembers their kindness, and that they “didn’t seem have a problem explaining a concept twice if I had trouble grasping it.”

The volunteers I worked with were always friendly and provided insights into the tech world.

In the midst of this advanced coding study, Imani got the chance to participate in one of Code Nation’s Hackathons, where he experienced one of his most memorable moments: “I came in third place at a Hackathon even though I was going for first place. I was super confident about it, too.” Missing out on the winning spot was disappointing, but it made Imani realize that it’s not just technical skills that get results – teamwork and communication are key. “As a team,” he says, “if we had had that, I believe we would’ve gotten first place instead of third.”

In the summer of 2017, after his Advanced course, Imani qualified for his first of two Code Nation internships. The Vaan Group, the digital design firm that created Code Nation’s website (yes, the one you’re on now!), took him on in their engineering department. “I liked how small the company was and close everyone on the team was,” says Imani. “I felt like the company really represented who I was as a person.” The experience boosted his confidence, and gave him a better sense of what he wanted to do in his future career.

When Imani started his senior year of high school, he already had two years of coding education and engineering work experience under his belt. He started the Code Nation Studio Course at Viacom, learning advanced JavaScript, Firebase, and ReactJS from Viacom engineers Matthew Armstrong and Abraham Peterkin. He also began to work more independently, building up his portfolio.

Imani had his second Code Nation internship after his high school graduation, this time at PolicyGenius. “I felt like I was having an impact on a website that thousands of people visit,” he says of the online insurance company. “I liked working on multiple projects and seeing what I worked on being updated on the live site.” With the support of his engineering coworkers, Imani learned more about the commands and languages he needed to use on a daily basis, like Git and ReactJS.

After completing this second internship, Imani started his college career. He’s currently a freshman at City Tech, where he is majoring in computer systems.

As he reflects on his Code Nation experience, Imani says that overall, the programs, events, and volunteers gave him inspiration. “I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I just knew that I wanted to do something with computers.” When Code Nation came along, it “opened up so many doors for me.” Without it, Imani says, “I would still probably be confused as to what I wanted to be. I wouldn’t even have an idea.”

Imani isn’t done with Code Nation. As an alumni, he’s already taking advantage of opportunities to stay engaged. He gave an inspiring speech at the Code Nation fundraiser in 2018, talking specifically about the Hackathon that taught him so much. Down the line, Imani hopes to become a Code Nation volunteer himself, joining the ranks of the eleven engineers who instructed him and donating his time to mentor the Code Nation students following in his footsteps.