My Hack.Diversity Journey

An alumnus perspective

German Martinez addresses ~130 leaders across Boston’s philanthropic, civic, education and innovation sectors at our Oct. 24, 2017 Fall Celebration.

The following narrative is the Keynote Remarks from German Martinez, 2017 Fellow, at Hack.Diversity’s 2017 Fall Celebration

Before I start I just want to say that I feel privileged to be speaking in front of you.

A little background about me. I was born in El Salvador, a small country in Central America ruled by gangs and poverty. I moved to the United States when I was 14 years old. It was hard to get used to a different culture, a different language.

When I graduated from Chelsea High School I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go to college because of my immigration status. I resolved my immigration status on May 22, 2011 and enrolled in Bunker Hill Community College that September to study general business.

I didn’t get into technology until my last semester at Bunker Hill, when I took a computer science class and was fascinated by it. I next enrolled at University of Massachusetts Boston where I studied Management Information Systems to learn both the business and the technical sides for a career in the technology industry.

During my last year at UMass Boston, I looked for internships. I applied to at least 50 companies. Of those 50+ companies that I applied for, only two invited me for in-person interviews. From everywhere else, I got a nice email saying that “I didn’t quite match what they were looking for. ”

I got involved in Hack.Diversity when my professor from Systems Analysis and
Design told me about this new organization who sought Latino and African American talent, with the promise that such talent would be placed into paid technical roles at tech or life science companies. I applied. When I learned I was accepted to participate, I was happy, but at the same time a bit skeptical; it sounded too good to be true.

Hack.Diversity provided a series of events that prepared us Fellows for getting an internship with one of the participating companies. The first event was Mock Interview Day, where recruiters from all participating companies gave us tips and feedback to prepare us for the real interviews. Hack.Diversity helped us present our skills. My favorite part from all this preparation was the actual interview day where I had four back-to-back interviews, feeling more and more confident with each one. My other favorite part was when they sent me the email saying that I have been matched with the company I wanted to work for: Wayfair!

I felt very lucky for making it through the interview process, but I was still afraid about the actual internship. I had doubts about my skills and how I would perform up to expectation. I was so surprised to learn that the help from Hack.Diversity didn’t end once my internship started. Instead, they provided career coaching classes throughout, which were essential for my
success at Wayfair. They also provided me with a mentor, David Rodríguez, an entrepreneur from Mexico who inspired me every time we talked. I felt so lazy when I learned about all the things he was involved in! All this preparation and support prepared me tremendously, which was one of the reasons I got an offer for a full time position by the end of my internship.

I want to thank Hack.Diversity not only for opening a door for me, but also for preparing me for a career that I can be proud of.

There is this quote that reminds me of what Hack.Diversity is doing: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” — Milton Berle

German is now a full-time QA Analyst at Wayfair through Hack.Diversity.

Are you a Black or Latino coding, computer science, or IT student? REVIEW eligibility and SUBMIT an application by 11:59pm EST Mon. Nov. 13, 2017 to participate in our 2018 Cohort of Fellows: