Summit alum, James White, joins IT department as assistant instructor
Application Development Program Graduate
James White '22 is an army veteran and Summit Academy OIC alum who graduated from the Application Development program. He served for four years in the military before he worked for the state of Minnesota and eventually enrolled at Summit.
"I was in a position where I didn't feel fulfilled or challenged and didn't have upward mobility. But, in that position, I ended up studying a little about IT and the software/web development field," said White.
Inspired by his partner, who recently made a career shift, White networked with members of the Equity & Justice Black Caucus in search of new opportunities for himself. One colleague knew of White's interest in IT and shared that his son graduated from Summit's IT program, obtained a position at U.S. Bank, and had worked there for a year.
"I've wanted to get into IT since I was a kid. What kept me out was that I didn't see a lot of representation of people that looked like me or had backgrounds similar to mine in the field. So, it ended up being a dream pushed back," said White. However, once he stepped foot on Summit's North Star Innovation Center campus, he felt encouraged to learn from top-level instructors who were Black and had been working in IT for years.
Throughout White's 20 weeks of training at Summit, he quickly realized that pursuing a career in IT means constant learning and teamwork. He learned about iterative development processes, professional communications, customer service, how to code in Java, and build applications from start to finish.
"The group projects give you an idea of what it's like working with people with different levels of expertise. It helps us understand how you communicate with other people outside yourself," said White. "Thankfully, there's a lot of team communication work in the army, so I already have that experience, but it helps to apply that to a different environment."
Graduating from Summit drastically changed White's attitude toward learning and school. Formerly a high school and college dropout, White is now an assistant instructor for Summit's IT training department. He is also pursuing an Associate of Arts and Science in Computer Software Engineering at Minneapolis College and wants to continue his education at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
"It's nothing short of an honor to be a part of this ongoing endeavor, not only as a student and product of it but as a new team member, dedicated to forwarding his vision for our often-underserved populations across the country," said White. "I look forward to providing service to the community and helping others to help themselves on their own journeys in learning, building, stability, and finding fulfillment through personal and professional achievement."
As an assistant instructor, White strives to act as an example for other aspiring IT professionals—stepping into a role where he can encourage others like him so that they can thrive in Big Tech and create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workspaces.