Life transitions ultimately lead you to where you’re meant to be. When speaking career-wise, the sentiment holds true for Byron Jenkins — a software engineer and content creator.
However, earlier on, the Philly native’s path started in boxing. As his father was a boxing trainer, he would train every day after school. Jenkins being heavily involved in the sport came to a halt after witnessing a tragic event.
The switch in interests led him to look into the technology industry, specifically software. While Jenkins questioned the functionality of computers, he was certain of the opportunities that presented themselves in the space such as creating apps, games, websites, and services.
“During elementary school, my technology teacher brought in a dated Mac and I had a ton of questions, so I always had curiosity in technology,” Jenkins shared with AfroTech. “Once I got into high school, my school didn’t offer any coding courses, unfortunately. From there, I had to use external resources like Code Academy and eventually, I decided that I wanted to pursue my bachelor’s degree in computer science rather than computer engineering. Personally, for me, I wanted to focus on the software side of technology.”
Jenkins’ curiosity turned into action as he started to make steps toward his vision. During his pursuit to receive his bachelor’s degree in computer science at Temple University, he landed roles such as a technology intern at TD Bank and a teaching assistant for iOS Application Development at his school. Then, in 2019, he went from making an hourly wage — $19 to $25 — to a $70,000 salary as an IT Developer III at TD Bank.
Despite having a salary under his belt, Jenkins felt that his growth was stunted. In addition to a stagnated career journey, he moved back home and the COVID-19 pandemic further shook things up. The trials and tribulations he faced led him to go through depression.
Although things were rocky in both Jenkins’ personal and work life for a period of time, he was resilient and his passion for computer science didn’t falter.
In 2020, he became a software engineer at Capital One in New York City — earning him $127,000 a year with a $15,000 sign-on bonus and relocation package. Within the span of nearly two years, Jenkins was promoted to senior software engineer. Currently, he makes $158,000 a year.
Along with handling his duties as a senior software engineer, Jenkins takes time to create content for social media to educate his followers about computer science. On top of the lack of diversity, he knows how there’s gatekeeping to the keys to success in the field and he’s combatting that.
What’s more, doubling as a content creator helps him to stand out in the industry.
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“I started content creation in the middle of the pandemic where I was bored with work and I was depressed,” he openly shared. “During applying to other companies, I would use the content that I created as an additional body of work to the applications because the first thing I think about is, ‘[Which] applicants provide their social media platforms as an additional reference in their application?’ That’s something that I believe that sets me apart from many other applicants.”