In his own words, Jimmy Ellis is obsessed with coding. With a love of computers that began when his dad bought him one when he was 4, Jimmy already has his A+ Certification and his own business repairing computers. But his real interest is in coding, which he’s been doing since he was 12 years old.

“I want to work in software industry and a few years ago, I found out what hackathons were. I started going to as many as I could all around the city. You get real world experience and work with real world technology. I like repairing computers, but found out I love coding.”

A hackathon usually lasts a few days, and is where people who share a love for coding and collaboration work together to create usable software (or hardware) by the end of the event. After his first hackathon, Jimmy was hooked. In October 2018, Jimmy participated in the Factom Smart Contract Hackathon that took place at Northwestern University. He and his team came in third place and won $1,500 dollars.

“I’ve attended more than 12 hackathons, but this is only the third time I’ve won,” said Jimmy.

After he graduated from Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy in 2005, he took classes at DeVry, then went to Dawson Technical Institute to prepare for the A+ Certification exam. Once he passed, he continued to fix computers, work at his family’s real estate business, and volunteered at a high school in Englewood, showing students how to repair computers.

When he decided he wanted to finish his associate degree, he chose Olive-Harvey because it was close to home. With the credits he is transferring in, he will be able to graduate in the spring of 2019 with a degree in computer science. He is president of the STEM club, a Student Government Association senator, and part of the Phi Theta kappa honor society.

Once he graduates, he plans to continue to attend hackathons while he pursues a career in software design. He’s also thinking about getting a bachelor’s in video game design. In the meantime, he already has several hackathons on his calendar.

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