I started my adult life on a track that wasn’t my own. So many of my family members were cops, I just thought it was what I was supposed to do. In between my shifts at a shoe store I started studying criminal justice. After awhile I realized I wasn’t sure if this was what I wanted, but I knew that I didn’t want to work at the mall the rest of my life either. I wanted to find something to do that I could feel excited about in the long run – something I could be proud of.

My friend got me interested in Year Up after she completed their training and started interning at LinkedIn. I thought to myself, “That’s such a big company. Maybe someday I can get there too. But I had to work for it.”

The biggest challenge was learning how to manage my time. The professional training I got at Year Up also taught me to be open to meeting a lot of people and how to carry myself with confidence – skills that helped me get an internship at Twitter.

The Twitter team treated me exactly like a new hire and threw me right in. I learned so much from my team. Truthfully, I never saw myself hanging out with people who have college degrees, but now I call them my friends. During the last month of my internship, my entire team was encouraging my manager to hire me – even at meetings! They would ask, “Are you going to hire this guy or what?”

Two days before my last day, my manager offered me a full-time position as an IT Administrator. In that moment, I made up my mind to work as hard as I’d ever worked. I was going to prove to Twitter that they didn’t make a mistake by hiring me. And now I’ve done that. I’m taking on bigger responsibilities and managing more junior employees. I even helped manage a new Year Up intern.

I’m continuing to set new goals for myself and accomplish things that will help me in the future. Aside from my job I’m also working toward my Computer Science degree, taking night classes for AMCT certification and learning hardware for Apple at Diablo Valley College.

I accomplished so much once I decided to create my own path. I never thought I could go this far, but after the Year Up program pushed me, I knew I could do it.