By Nkosi Bourne
Nkosi Bourne, 18, is the oldest of three children. He recently graduated from P-TECH in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where he earned both his high school diploma and his Associate in Applied Science degree in Computer Information Systems from the New York City College of Technology this past December (2015). This public-private partnership is reinventing the nation’s high schools, with 60 P-TECH schools and 200 industry partners this fall.
As my bio mentions, my name is Nkosi Bourne and I am a graduate of Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) and New York City College of Technology. What it doesn’t mention is that I am also a proud IBMer. Currently, I am a Content Experience Strategist on the IBM THINK Leaders team.
I knew plenty of obstacles could get in my way on my road to success so I used P-TECH as a launching pad to point me in the right direction.
Finding my place.
When I first began, I was not exactly clear what my role would be, but my team did a great job of finding projects that interest me, such as preparing their ready-to-be published articles in the right format for our web pages, producing webpages on the THINK Leaders wordpress site, and producing videos on the THINK Leaders YouTube channel.
Integrating to build greater experiences
Recently, I have become part of a larger team, “Strategic Editorial & Creative,” where I have worked on the digital aspects of three different projects. One of the projects I have contributed to is called Board of Directors Briefings. For this project, we create personalized compact content about a particular topic, for instance artificial intelligence, to help IBM board members learn about complex subjects at a glance so they can get back to their tight schedules. My contribution to this project is emphasized through two activities. One which involves finding inspirational content for the design team, and another that focused on creating a prototype in real time in harmony with other members of the development team.
Working on three projects as a developer may seem like a large amount of work, but one thing P-TECH prepared me for is a substantial workload. Between managing high school and college classes, all while actively maintaining a solid GPA in both schools, you tend to become prepared for anything. School was especially challenging because I was also juggling two jobs: an internship at the Department of Education and a job at a local movie theater. This made things tougher, but also made sure I didn’t have to go to my mother for money, who most likely did not have it to give anyway. However, even given the circumstances, I somehow still managed to finish with a GPA higher than a 3.0, have all my necessities and still find time for some desirables. (I collect sneakers by the way.).
Two tips to success at P-TECH
A great comparison to my life at P-TECH is the famous story of “The Jungle Book.” In the book, the main character is stuck in a place he never knew how to manage as a young child. Overtime, he becomes the Alpha Male and dominates whatever life throws at him. For this reason, I would say my first and last semesters were the hardest. The first because I did not know what I was getting myself into—we had a tight schedule with a great deal to learn. The last because I was in the “home stretch” and knew I couldn’t slip up. Over time I learned to manage my time better, and the importance of prioritizing. These were two of a few key elements that led to my success at P-TECH, and which I bring to my work at IBM.
The many opportunities offered by IBM
I knew plenty of obstacles could get in my way on my road to success so I used P-TECH as a launching pad to point me in the right direction. I realized the opportunity I possessed and capitalized on it. By starting my higher education at CUNY, I could finish my associate’s degree at City Tech and then transfer for my bachelor’s degree. I am continuing with this plan by attending Baruch College in Fall 2016, while still working as an IBMer.
Nkosi is a content experience strategist with IBM’s strategic editorial and creative team
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