Meet the Hack the Hood Alumni inspired to empower her community by leveraging her tech skills for good

Hack the Hood is committed to helping our young Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and AAPI community navigate and discover pathways into technology careers. Whether it be a direct job placement into the tech industry, an apprenticeship with a tech partner company, or using their skills in tech for good in their communities, we consider it a success when we empower our Alumni to be agents of change in the world.

Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Ruqaiyah Angeles, a Muslim Philippina American and a Hack the Hood Alumni, about her journey into tech, how she’s using tech for good, and what financial independence means to her. We are thankful for her taking the time to meet with us during the holy month of Ramadan. Assalamualaikum Ruqaiyah!

What course and year did you attend HTH?

Ruqaiyah Angeles: Walaikum assalam. I was a part of the Entrepreneurship, Tech and Justice course in the summer of 2021. My overall experience was lovely. As a computer science major, all we do is code and cry all night due to missing curly brackets. Taking the Hack the Hood course was the first time I truly enjoyed coding and my time there was very eye-opening.

Do you remember any events or highlights that made an impression on you?

My favorite part about the curriculum was honestly the interactive slide decks as well as the coding milestones. At Hack the Hood, I felt way more engaged and way more excited to learn! Also something else that stood out was the vibes of the instructors. It definitely made an impression on me because they created a very chill environment overall and brought the community aspect to the curriculum.

Now let’s get into Dev/Mission, how did you find that role? What are you doing there?

My current role is the Community Technology Associate (CTA) Program Coordinator at Dev/Mission, a local nonprofit organization based out of San Francisco, California. I got my position by being involved with the organization for the past 3 years. I started out with their pre-apprenticeship bootcamp in the summer of 2019, 2 years before I was involved with Hack the Hood. Afterwards I became a CTA intern that provided tech support for low income communities. Over the next few semesters I took a break and came back as an Uber fellow, and when my boss, Leo Sosa, approached me about building out a program for the CTA interns, it was something I didn’t understand at the time.. but I needed something to do over the summer so I put in the work and 2 cohorts later, here I am.

How is the work culture? Do you feel prepared and supported at your job?

The work culture at Dev/Mission has obviously changed over the years and that’s mainly due to the pandemic. I’m working a hybrid model: half remote and half in person. My position is more managerial with a lot of meetings, check-ins and documentation. Not very glamorous, but for me, it’s definitely the impact on the community that continues to inspire me to be part of the program and run it.

Do you have a dream job?

Good question, a really good question. I used to have a dream job and wanted to be the first software engineer in my family. It was a really big, hefty goal I had going into college almost 3 years ago. Since then, it’s changed and what I want has changed. My dream job is to be able to work part time at a retail store, like Foot Locker or Nike. You’re probably saying to yourself: “You have so much potential, what are you doing with your life?” But what I mean by working a retail job, is that I want to be able to reach financial stability and independence so I can take a lower level job that doesn’t require so much of me. I’m passionate about sneakers and sneaker culture. The way I look at it, is why limit myself to “have a dream job” when the possibilities of achieving financial independence are endless? So in short, I want to be a boss woman with multiple streams of income and a side job, just for fun.

Do you have any words of advice for new students and alumni at Hack the Hood? Any words of wisdom you want to share?

This is a question I always get and my answer seems to change every single time… my words of advice:

  1. For anyone coming in as a new student, as well as alumni who took the course, “Never allow people to limit you.” In our society, you will be put into a box your entire life: from your culture, to how much you make, where you went to school, what brands or aesthetics that you match, what you watch, and so on and so forth so the sky really is the limit, and being able to break down the barriers of stereotypes and expectations held upon yourself, shows true character.
  2. Also be open minded, be willing to try new things, and be ok with making a few mistakes along the way.

We hope you can come back to Hack the Hood and talk to some of our new students!

Thank you so much for the opportunity, as we muslims say “jazakallah khair!” . It’s been a pleasure catching up. I hope that the Hack the Hood folks are doing very well, and to Hack the Hood or anyone new coming in, thank you for providing these tech spaces. Young people like myself really appreciate the effort you all put into it.

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