Perseverance led this engineer to Google on his second try

Can you tell us a bit more about your background?

I grew up as a child of first-generation Haitian immigrants in Denver but by high school was designated an independent student. While at times I felt isolated waking up in foster homes and even a homeless shelter, I found comfort in surrounding myself with good people to keep me motivated. My troubled youth encouraged me to take a “no stone unturned” approach to life, creating every opportunity I could for myself.

In elementary school, Denver’s Gifted and Talented program provided tutoring sessions with a web developer that taught me to code and helped me discover my passion for programming. Then, the summer before sixth grade, I was part of a tech education program that taught me the basics of building a desktop and allowed me to keep the computer afterward. I didn’t otherwise have access to a computer at home, so this enabled me to build my web and UX skills throughout my youth. In college, I focused on learning how people interact with products through classes on consumer behavior, sociology, digital entrepreneurship, web technologies and psychology. But I also worked on my web development skills and taught others to web develop through two coding communities. Beyond that, I attended conferences where I met mentors who shared helpful industry insights. These mentors also provided me with invaluable freelancing and consulting experience.

Did you plan on getting a bit more work experience after college before you applied to Google?

No, I actually applied to Google in the middle of college as a front-end software engineer. But I didn’t make it past the application stage. My first year and a half after college was difficult. I surfed couches while I waited for my first gig in tech. Thankfully, I finally got a break working for a web design agency that helped businesses improve their products through extensive user research and their popular front-end framework library. Although I was barely making ends meet, I was able to learn about modern user interface (UI) concepts and network with web developers who helped me get referred to Google the second time I applied.


Kolaso is a design studio founded in London and expanded our services, and offering solutions Worldwide.