Alon is 23 years old, and graduated from the Trafigura Work & Learn (W&L) Center’s computer coding class in June 2015. After graduating from the W&L Center, Alon was immediately selected to participate in Hack Reactor, an intense coding bootcamp geared at nurturing young software development talent. Hack Reactor, based in San Francisco, has a graduate job placement rate of 99 percent, with an average starting salary of $105,000.

Alon says of his experience with the W&L Center’s coding class, which YEP holds in collaboration with Operation Spark--a New Orleans-based organization dedicated to empowering New Orleans’ at-risk youth with software development skills: “The classes were cool—I especially liked the time spent with web developers, one-on-one. “

Alon also loves the creativity that comes along with computer coding, saying: “Just the idea of one day being able to create something that’s uniquely mine—it means I don’t have to rely on others, I can rely on my own imagination.” Alon also sees the relevance of computer coding in issues around national security, something else that interests him, saying: “I’ve been reading a lot on cyber security—it’s interesting to me because it’s been in the news lately, and it looks like a huge puzzle to solve. Businesses and even governments have to be concerned about information leaks and security issues, so I think there will be a lot of work in that field.”

Alon is excited about a potential career in computer coding, not only because of the new skills he will learn but also because of the financial security it will provide to him and his family, saying: “this work will open a lot of doors and give me the opportunity to give back, which is important to me, because I grew up around a lot of poverty. I’ve had a lot of people believe in me and support me, and I’d one day like to do the same for someone else. I’d like to pay it forward.”

Alon attributes his success to being humble and acknowledging he still has much to learn, saying: “People second-guess themselves and their abilities, and get frustrated—I’ve felt it myself—but I have to accept my shortcomings. Once I accept what I don’t know, I can start figuring out how to do it.”

We are so proud of Alon and cannot wait to see what the future holds for this talented and driven young man!