Meet Cohort 6 of Careers in Code

Hack Upstate
12 min readMay 29, 2024


Careers in Code Cohort 6 Kickoff Event at LeMoyne College

This spring we started our 6th cohort of Careers in Code! We’re so excited to introduce and welcome the students of Cohort 6 to our community.

Below are some of the amazing stories of our motivated, passionate students! We can’t wait to

Ting Ting Lin

My name is Ting Ting Lin, and my passion for programming ignited during the pandemic when the world came to a standstill. Isolated at home, I realized the crucial role of technology in connecting people. This realization shifted my focus to the fascinating world of programming. Now, I strive to master both front-end and back-end development, aiming to find the sweet spot where user experience meets server-side functionality. In this program, I hope to deepen my understanding of programming. After graduation, I aspire to become a full-stack developer, creating seamless digital experiences.

Sojata Fields

Hello! I’m Sojata Fields, and I have a passion for travel, anime, and video games. With a background in customer service and troubleshooting, I’ve recently been exploring opportunities in the tech industry. I first learned about Careers in Code from a previous graduate who knew of my interest in breaking into the tech field and highly recommended it to me. I hold an associate’s degree in Photographic Technology from Herkimer County Community College.

In my spare time over the past few years, I’ve been drawn to UX design, particularly through my hobby of designing kitchens. What intrigued me about Careers in Code was the structured learning environment with an actual instructor, as opposed to self-paced learning. My ultimate goal is to leverage my background in photography and incorporate it into UX design or front-end stack development.

Wanya Jones

Hey-o, I’m Wanya (WAN-YAY) Jones, but people call me Teri. I was born in Brooklyn, New York but moved to Syracuse when I was two. I am the second oldest out of four on my mother’s side and the fourth child out of six on my father’s side. At a young age I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD with speech delays so learning has always been difficult for me. At the age of four I was exposed to video games (the first game I played was Smash Bros for the Nintendo 64) and at that age I dreamt to become a video game creator. In 2015, after high school, I did some YouTube videos for a bit until I discovered Ren’py where I can create a visual novel game. I worked with Ren’py on and off for about 6 years, and at that point I wanted to improve my coding skills. I learned a bit of python so I could get better in Ren’py, but I still find struggles with reading and wasn’t comfortable enough to start building on my own. I took a break until my brother graduated from the last cohort, and I decided to enroll into this program. My goal for this program is to not only know how to build websites but to also get comfortable building things on my own. Once I graduate from this program I want to find a job, but in the future I want to become a game developer so maybe I can bring some other four year old the same inspiration as I felt back then.

Michael Wilson

Hi, I’m Mike Wilson. I’m in the Careers in Code bootcamp as part of my efforts towards a change in career direction.

Having a Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering, my prior roles have been in related roles ranging from production floor support with jigs, fixtures, tooling and troubleshooting work to kaizen facilitation for designing a new production area to make significant productivity and efficiency gains.

All of that work involved data of various kinds and formats, as well as some interesting problems to solve. Going forward, I want to focus more on the science of business intelligence and overall data-driven decision-making. The Careers in Code bootcamp offered through Hack Upstate is going to help me improve my abilities to handle and make sense of much bigger and more complicated datasets at a much faster rate than I could before. I am excited to be able to supplement the tech stack from my recent Master’s in Data Science. This program will result in a substantial boost to my skill set.

Joseph Smith

My name is Joseph Smith, I am 23 years old. I became an Eagle Scout in 2018, and am currently enrolled in a computer science degree in Finger Lakes Community College. I spent my high school career in engineering and technology classes taking advantage of the Project Lead The Way programs. In my sophomore year, I took my first programming class and it immediately struck a chord with me. For a person who was historically bad at traditional creative pathways I was finally able to express myself through coding. Some of my fondest moments of my school career were working on various software projects with my team members or even on solo projects.

Fast forward 6 years from my sophomore year and a coworker had mentioned that they had just wrapped up with Cohort 4. I thought that was such a cool program but unfortunately due to starting my first semester of college I was unable to apply for Cohort 5. Another coworker was able to and He and I talked extensively about what he was experiencing and working on. It had been a while since I really took a deep dive into coding so I told myself that when Cohort 6 admissions opened up I would give it a shot.

I am so very grateful for this opportunity, and my chance to become more proficient at something I am so passionate about. Bonus is that I have assistance in finding a job in this field with the resources provided by the program. I am not too sure exactly what specific role I want to pursue yet but I am excited to learn more about the different roles and skill sets. My hope is that this cohort can start me on a structured path of becoming a competent developer who can someday pay it forward.

Angel Gomez

I’m Angel Gomez, currently employed as a Tech Support Engineer. My educational journey began at St. Bonaventure University, focusing on Cyber Security, which provided me with a strong IT background. Now, I’m pursuing further education at Western Governors University, delving into cloud computing and software engineering. Transitioning from a previous career as a truck driver, I realized my passion lies in IT and Software Engineering.

In this program, my objectives are to enhance my skills, advance my career either as a software engineer or within the IT realm, and forge meaningful connections with like-minded individuals. Ultimately, my aim is to create a better future for my family — my wife and two daughters — by building a solid professional foundation and progressing in my career. I aspire to create a supportive network of peers and instructors, creating mutual growth and collaboration.

De’Andra B. Taylor

What’s up, I’m De’Andra. I’m 28 years old and I’m a prospective software developer. I’m interested in data and server-side code. However after an HTML/CSS module with Careers in Code, I’ve been enjoying frontend design. I’m planning program and write documentation for my first API, an acronym I didn’t even know existed a year ago.

I’m originally from Harlem, New York City. I went to college in Jamestown, NY and in Buffalo, NY. I finished my six year academia stint with a Masters Degree in speech-language pathology — totally unrelated to creating API’s. I practiced as a speech and language therapist for four years. About 2 years in, I discovered I really didn’t like it. After six years of education, the sunk-cost fallacy was breathing down my neck. Alas, I took a risk and began studying to change careers. I passed the COMPTIA A+ test, built a technical portfolio, applied to 100+ jobs, and scored 5 interviews. Six months ago I proved my skills to a Syracuse based company.

I’m currently thriving as a Helpdesk Technician. With my foot in the door, I enrolled in Careers in Code. I’m learning a lot about web development and how code keeps the world running. I’m eager to become more skilled. I’m excited to become a developer. I look forward to building something creative and functional to solve problems.

Ebere Joseph

My name is Ebere Joseph and up until being accepted to Careers in code I had some experience with programming though limited. My goal for the program is to put all I am going to learn into my capstone project as a way of practicing the concepts. In addition, I am excited to learn about APIs and Javascript. After graduation, I hope to obtain an internship or an entry level position as a front-end or full stack developer.

Harley VanSlyke

Im Harley, a single mom who is looking for a rewarding, yet challenging new career that will allow for financial security and flexibility. I am brand new to coding/programming but I am a fast learner and I am engineer minded. I have an AAS in Criminal Justice and went back to Lemoyne for a Physics/Engineering degree that I did not complete. I have several years experience in construction inspection/project admin, and 10 years outside sales experience. I am still unsure where exactly I want to go from here- possibly software sales? Outside of work I enjoy cooking, hiking, gardening, trivia, history, and of course legos and nerf battles. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity that Hack Upstate has provided and I look forward to the future.

Desirae Trumble

I came to Careers in Code with no experience with programming, A friend in a previous cohort suggested that I apply. I’m hoping that the knowledge and experience I gain in this cohort will allow me to find a job that pays well enough for me to find some stability in my life.

Austin Kline

Hey there, I’m Austin! I’m super excited to be a part of Cohort 6 of Careers in Code as a newbie student. I didn’t know a thing about programming before joining, but thanks to Max, I’ve come a long way. I’m really drawn to the creative side of programming, especially front-end and design. I’m hoping to dive deeper into this field after I graduate.

When I’m not coding, you can usually find me jamming out on the drums or strumming my guitar. I’m also a big fan of tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons. Can’t wait to see where this coding journey takes me!

Asma Abdulkadir

Hello there!

My name is Asma. I was born in Kenya but grew up in Upstate, NY. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Public Communications/PSY a few years ago and briefly worked as an Amazon Area Manager before discovering Hack Upstate’s CiC program. I gained some exposure to coding while at Amazon and wanted to learn more about the world of Software Development. I believe that when opportunity knocks at your door, you take a leap of faith. I quickly pivoted into this new role as part of the program’s sixth cohort — and I’m glad I did! Granted, there’s still lots to learn, but I’m enjoying the process thus far. My goal is to land a rewarding career in tech after completion of this program and to give back to the Syracuse community. I am very thankful for the opportunity to learn valuable tech skills and I hope to put them to use very soon.

Shaudia Peterson

Hi 👋 My name is Shaudia. Born and raised in the City of Syracuse. Mother to a beautiful 1 year old. Graduated from high school in 2016 and was unaware what I wanted to do with my life. Did a semester at OCC in Psychology & Spent a year at Bryant & Stratton for Business, didn’t think either of those majors were something I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. I worked at Syracuse University for 6 years. Where I was giving the opportunity to take a free class and decided to take Information Technology and that’s when I realized the tech career was something I wanted to do and that’s when my desire for this career started. I was looking for an apprenticeship when I was recommended to apply for the Program and the day I sent in my first part of the application was the last day they were accepting all parts. Being a full time mom to a toddler, working full time and also doing this program 12+ hours a week is hard and a struggle. But my daughter is the reason why I am working and pushing myself so hard to be the better version of myself that I know I can. To give her a better life that I had.. to be able to live financially stress free.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Zakeem Orr

Hey my name is Zakeem Orr. Currently, I am a Careers in Code student at Hack Upstate with an interest in Web Development & Design. Luckily I came across Career In Code and thought it’d be a Great Opportunity to Develop Skills and open doors for a new career path in life.

Anwar Abdulkadir

Hi! My name is Anwar, which means “luminous” in Arabic, a somewhat (at least I hope so) reflection of my aspirations and enthusiasm. Though originally from Kenya, I have called Syracuse my home since I was three, cherishing childhood memories like playing on the swings at Schiller Park. I completed high school in Minnesota and returned to Syracuse to pursue a degree in electrical engineering at Syracuse University. My fascination with coding reignited upon learning about this coding bootcamp from my sibling. The thought of developing my own website fills me with boundless joy, and I am incredibly excited about the opportunities this program holds. Through this journey, I aspire to not only enhance my technical skills but also to empower others by sharing the mentorship and knowledge I have longed for. Though it may be an ambitious dream, I believe this program can be the gateway to a future where I can make a meaningful impact on my community and beyond!

Monté Lawhorn

Life is a lot like The SIMS game. Your main mission is what you focus on the most but you can not forget about the side quest! My name is Monté; Visual Artist, Musician, Writer and overall creative because vertical impairment kept me from being in the NBA. Professionally the route to arrive in Tech has been an adventure. Art and music cultivated the imagination. Sales and Marketing taught me how to engage and inspire people. It tested my competencies of interpersonal communication and problem solving. I like to think Full Stack development is allowing me to display those talents simultaneously. Giving me the skills to build the very things my imagination can create. I look forward to what I will do!

Hazard James

Hello, I’m Hazhad James I’ve come to upstate from a small town in South Carolina by way of Timmonsville. I’m hard working and always considerate of those around me. I’m always looking for ways to meet new people and converse so I’m stepping into the tech field.

Careers in Code is a bootcamp in Syracuse, NY for women and people from marginalized backgrounds. To learn more, go to