Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Derek Scarlett. I am a pretty laid-back guy. I like playing music, watching movies and hanging out with my friends. I can be quiet at times, but my mind is always racing with ideas and thoughts that even I have a hard time keeping up causing me to stutter. I am someone who doesn’t mind failing so I’ll keep on trying out new ideas until I get a result I like.

I am a first-generation American, my parents are originally from Jamaica and came to the states before I was born. They wanted to give me a better life than how they grew up and expected me to try hard in my studies. Right now I am currently a software engineer at Wayfair and excited to begin this new step in my career. I know I’m probably going to fail a bunch while I am here, but that doesn’t bother me I am not the type to give up.

What are you passionate about?

Right now I am passionate about taking my career to the next step. I currently consider myself a junior-level developer. But with more experience and practice I feel that I can get to a mid-level to even senior level in no time. I have no doubt that I will, it’s all up to me on how long it will take.

What was your journey like to get where you are today?

I graduated UMass Lowell in 2016 with a degree in Music and Theater Arts. After, I was working for about a year and a half or so and realized that I needed a better way to support myself while I make music and the full-time job that I had at the time was not the place that was going to bring me success. That’s when a friend of mine suggested I apply for this scholarship to go to a conference in Atlanta called Blacks in Computing Conference. So I ended up using and received them, so they flew me out there. While I was there, I got to see so many different paths that you can take in the technology industry and decided that this is where I needed to be. So when I came back to Boston, this same friend suggested I sign up for this coding boot-camp called Resilient Coders where they teach black and brown people full-stack web development.  So I quit my job and took a gamble on myself to learn this new craft and signed up. The program ended up being a real success for me, and I ended up getting 3 job offers for internships when the program was over.

After my internship, however, I didn’t get hired full-time and had to find a new job. I wasn’t too worried though because I believed in myself so I wasn’t going to let this set back stop me. I was interviewing for about 3 months for different types of engineering and web jobs but no luck. So I decided to look at myself to see what I can do to improve on myself to be able to pass these interview and spent the next month studying so that I can learn and practice as much as I can until there was no way I could fail. The following 3 jobs I applied for after that I got offers for all 3, and I decided that joining Wayfair would be the best option for me to take the next step in my career.

What drew you to Resilient Coders?

I loved what they are doing for people like me. They saw a growing field with opportunities that can really be a benefit to people of color and give us a pathway to get involved. They provide a way for people to not only learn but become of a part of the technical community and provide them with a chance to get an equal opportunity in a field that is not very diverse. Being able to be a part of this is a chance I would never pass up, and I am glad that I didn’t.

What do you enjoy about programming?

I enjoy that I get to solve new problems every day. I am someone who gets bored really quickly when I have to do the same thing over and over again. So with programming, there is never a shortage of things to learn and do.

Where do you see yourself in 1-2 years?

I see myself hopefully being a senior-level developer how either. In a leading or manager type role. I also hope that I can be at the level that I can work remotely because my ultimate dream is to work from home.

Any final words of wisdom that you want to give to the careerbyte community?

My advice is never to compare yourself to others. Your life is yours, their presence is there’s just remember that everyone walks different paths and that you can’t live your life wishing you can be like someone else. If you want something to change you have to go change it or its always going to be the same.

What’s your favorite spot in Boston?

My favorite place in Boston I would have to say is Ali’s Roti in Roxbury. They have the best Roti in town and put love in all your food. Trust me you won’t be disappointed if you love Caribbean food.

Connect with Derek on Linkedin:

Check out Derek’s Github:

Learn more about Resilient Coders below:

Want to get the latest on stories and career advice, sign up for our mailing list!

About the Author


CEO & Co-Founder of STEAM Boston

View All Articles