With nearly two decades of experience under his belt, software engineer Amir Reavis-Bey definitely knows his way around the industry. After spending a decade on Wall Street in various engineering and system analyst roles, a fellowship with Code for America led him in a new direction. This prompted the Brooklyn native to co-found a civic tech startup designed to connect local governments with the software and digital tools needed to keep citizens informed about changes in their communities.
After getting his feet wet in the public service sector, Amir decided to dive right in and join Technology Transformation Services (TTS), a federal tech organization whose mission is to design and deliver a digital government with and for the American public. It’s a career trajectory Amir had no way of predicting since technology has evolved into a field with few voices and figures that look like him to offer any guidance — an ongoing hurdle for many Black professionals just hoping to get their feet in the door.
For Amir, finding the right opportunity meant channeling a love for math and science into a tangible skill set. “I wanted to be like my dad (my dad was a cop), so as a kid I also wanted to be a cop,” he said. “But as I started getting older, like in middle and high school, I really started acknowledging my love for math and started thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I should try something in that field. Maybe when I go off to school I’d like to study physics or mechanical engineering.’”
Amir added, “In high school, I happened to take an elective in computer programming, and it was learning how to code in BASIC, which is really ancient, but I found it to be really, really fun.”
Since transitioning to TTS within the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), Amir has excelled in his new role as the product lead for Federalist, a simple and feasible open-source web platform that enables government agencies to quickly and efficiently deploy websites designed to educate the public.
While working for the government may seem daunting to some, Amir proves how tech careers can be fluid because even federal agencies are (finally) embracing new technology and finding ways to engage an increasingly digital and diverse audience. According to Amir, “I see software and technology in pretty much every facet of life. It can be applied to almost any and everything.”
In an interview with AfroTech, Amir recently revealed how he started in the industry, ways TTS continues to serve the public, common misconceptions about working for the government, and more. Watch the full interview below and let us know what you think.
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This editorial is brought to you in partnership with TTS.
This editorial was produced in coordination with the General Services Administration (GSA). The posting of this editorial, as well as any advertisement shown before or throughout this editorial, does not constitute an endorsement of the source or advertisement and does not reflect the official policy or position of GSA. GSA has no control over the advertisements shown.