Our Charlotte summer cohort kicked off this month with a bang at one of our favorite places to find awesome, innovative people - Packard Place. With a new classroom full of fresh students eager to code, we can’t imagine a better start to the summer session. We figured we’d keep the good vibes going and feature a recent Charlotte graduate, Josh Hollingsworth. Nowadays you can find Josh teaching kids at Tech Talent South’s free Kids Code Tuesdays, interning with Charlotte startup Podanize, and finishing his graduate degree in Conflict Resolution. Pretty impressive, right? Not only is Josh impressive in his work, he is also a funny guy and kept the class laughing during his time with us. Case in point, he said at the end of his TTS session, “I think from the class, I’ve learned enough to be Prime Minister of the Internet.”
We caught up with Josh to talk about his time at Tech Talent South and to dive a little deeper into his experience in our code immersion program. We discussed how he knew the program was right for him, his favorite aspects of what he learned, his plans to continually keep in touch with his fellow alumni, and what he’s up to now! One thing we know for sure, it is always wonderful to see our graduates so eager and excited to stay a part of the TTS community!
What were you up to before Tech Talent South?
I have been working as an Asst. Principal for almost three years at a small private school here in Charlotte. Altogether I have been teaching school, helping build the community, and coaching soccer for about 9 years. I am also currently in graduate school working on a degree in Conflict Resolution focused more specifically in Education and Business. My goals are basically to help transform the world from destroying everything and each other, to asking the right, or better, questions that will hopefully bring about more unity, ideas, answers, and solutions.
In my daily life, I watch a good bit of the English Premier League. I am a massive Arsenal Football Club fan. I grew up playing soccer, played in college and also a few years of semi-pro. I have definitely been watching the World Cup this summer!
What’s your story on becoming a part of the TTS community and what made you feel like it was the right fit?
I was introduced to Tech Talent South through two good friends, one of which worked at Skookum Digital Works. They both attended a Skookum Tech Talk that Betsy [one the TTS co-founders] was giving. I was already interested in some of the tech world and have been a Google, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk kind of fan. After the tech talk, my friends basically pushed me over the line into Tech Talent’s world with their excitement and tech magic. I loved Tech Talent South’s community right away. I knew it would give me the skills to bring out more of what I wanted to do in my future.
How do you feel about your decision of learning to code now that you’ve completed the program?
I am very happy with my decision to learn code now that I have finished the program. I would do it over again and again. It has created a whole new world of interest and excitement that is much bigger than I ever imagined. I hope to stay in touch with the Tech Talent South community for a long time and am excited to dive into the tech community at large.
You were a part of the first Charlotte cohort, you would say it was:
Charlotte is a growing tech giant that will soon enough rise out of the South. I am very proud to be part of the first Charlotte Tech Talent South class and very much enjoy Charlotte’s tech community. I know that I will be on the front end of a growing tech community that has many great people and ideas. The first Tech Talent South program was a lot of fun. We were a bit of a family rather than a class. I feel I made a dozen long term friends.
What were a few of your favorite parts of the program?
A big part of the program for me was actually learning how to set-up and build a web application. So much goes into a web application. In this class, you get a strong foundation in coding, and you get immersed into many, many areas of building that stir up your interest to learn more. The thing is, without a good foundation, you can’t do very much and are limited in the short and longterm. Probably my favorite and most vital part of the immersion program is that it gives you good community from the get go. You need collaboration to help you learn, grow, and build. Plus, you never know how these new relationships will carry years down the road.
How did you feel the last day of class? (Crying is totally an option, we won’t tell anyone…)
The last day of class, I felt proud to have finished the program. I was surprised at how much I had learned in a short period of time. I was also ready to do more with the skill set I had acquired. I am not much of a person to hang around idle about what I have just learned. I like to apply as much as I can as soon as possible.
So we know you have some pretty awesome opportunities this summer, tell us a little more about your plans now, and some long-term plans now that you’re a TTS graduate:
Now, that I have graduated I am working with Podanize at Packard Place on building their new site, I am jumping into connecting with the tech community in Charlotte. I am teaching youth coding because I think there is a lot of talent that will come out of and grow up in this city. In the long term, I will probably continue more schooling and development. I will definitely stay involved with Tech Talent South alumni. I also have a few ideas that I was chewing on during immersion program. I have tweaked those a little bit, and will try to start working on them again now that I have a better handle on things.
Thinking about joining our program? Don’t forget to head over to our Tech Talent South Graduates page and read more about what our Alumni are up to after completing our program!
Ready to learn to code and do something BIG? Applications are currently open for Atlanta, Raleigh, & Asheville! Apply here.