Welcome! I am very happy that you chose to be here reading about my Outreach activities.
If you haven't already visited the About page, then allow me to personally introduce myself. My name is Omari W. Dixon. I've been in Info Tech for over 20 years now. My career started in Software Coding in December 1997 when I graduated from the prestigious Rensselear Polytechnic Institute with a Management Information Systems Bachelor's of Science degree. My first job was working for Andersen Consulting, a company that folded after the Enron scandal and re-emerged as an even better firm: Accenture.
If you watched any of my recent Tech Talks, then you've heard the short story of how I along with other programmers, saved the world from the Y2K bug. Well, it was during those early days in my software development career that I realized that an aspect of my personality was deeply unfulfilled as a programmer. My head was stuck in the code all day with hardly any interaction with different teams in the company. The money was great but the isolation was challenging to me. I heard about this new industry called Software Testing that would fulfill my desire for a more socially gratifying experience at work. In 2000 I took a leap of faith and ventured into a new career path called [Quality Assurance].
Here I am, 22 years later, with a plethora of amazing experiences to share with anyone who wants to listen. I also had to deal with many unfortunate events along the way, including a near fatal jeep accident on December 1st, 1999 and my beloved mother passing from Cancer on August 15th, 2001. I quickly learned that regardless of the dream one may have, the reality is that the ups and downs of life WILL happen. That's why its so important to attain and utilize soft skills along the way. It was my dedication and resilience taught by my Spiritual System bestowed by my parents, the ripe culture of Self Empowerment, and Masculine African-American Representation mentors within my QA industry that carried me through it all. Many years later, all I can say is [God is Great!] and I'm blessed to be alive and in a position to return the favor.
Trust me when I say that I know the impact of representation. When I was attending A. Philip Randolph High School, I recall being introduced to the Info Tech industry at a Tech Talk hosted by successful African-American men that looked and talked like me. I remember thinking to myself, "If they can do it, then so can I." It was that inflection point that guided my thoughts when offers to commit criminal acts for short term gains came my way. Knowing that I could [Secure The Bag] with Info Tech gave me a new trajectory; just having the option instilled in my conscience opened a new path that would channel my creative energy in a much more productive way.
That was the intention behind what I along with my co-workers at AirBnb.com accomplished in 2020 shortly after the police killing of George Floyd. His unfortunate death inspired us to present a Tech Talk to high schoolers in Oakland, CA. Since then, I ventured on my own to duplicate that success by offering my own online Tech Talk as my main outreach activity. My hope is to inspire the next generation of QA Engineers by offering a free training for youth and young adults in the community to learn how to create [Software Test Cases].
Reaching my target audience is without a doubt, a constant challenge that I'm constantly brainstorming solutions for. Despite my good intentions, I realized that there was an obstacle to overcome: parents will enroll their teen in my training session and the teen would not show up. Also, even when they did show up, they would behave as if they were anxious for it to be over. This is because while the parent sees the importance of such exposure, the teen feels pressured into attending and really does not want to be there. I decided to tackle this challenge by using a more direct approach to my outreach promotion on social media. While I cannot divulge my secret formula of success here, I am pleased to say that after many trials and errors, I was successful in completing a training session where teen participants attended completely on their own volition, without parental pressure, arrived on time, and were enthusiastic the whole time about being there. With that said, I'm delighted to share the first training session of 2022 featuring my two new trainees: Messiah and Janan!
After watching the first training session, you may have noticed that I moved rather quickly through the segment that highlights my personal life story and career. The attention span of today's youth demand that I jump into the more interactive segment of my Tech Talk: training them to design a test scenario using my industry tested and approved, the [PKD Test Designer] tool. This tool is an easy to use macro driven google sheet that can be accessed from any device, making it incredibly great for corporate Team Building Activities, and even greater for Community Outreach.
There's no charge to the youth to participate in these free group training sessions and obtain access to my tool creation, since its is primarily funded from the personal proceeds of my current client engagement. With that said, I realize that my personal funds can only take me so far. In order to extend my reach to the larger diaspora, I'll need you and others like you to support me in this monumental task by providing a monthly donation on my Patreon page.
This work MUST be done if we want today's youth living in the midst of a multitude of addictive technologies to emerge as tomorrow's QA Engineers & Info Tech professionals. We should leverage the video conferencing tools of today (i.e. zoom, google meets, etc.) to reach into as many homes as we can to Teach, Reach, And Contact Everyone, especially those with minimal representation in I.T. This is the best way we are going to counter balance the negative elements in popular culture that seek to enable our addiction to current & future technologies while also channeling our youth into a criminal mindset that leads them right into the funnel of the prison pipeline.
In closing, I want to direct you to the [Secure The Bag] enrollment page to share with a high school teenager or an early college young adult, so that they can register themselves into one of my free group training sessions available everyday from [Monday - Thursday]. I also want to thank you in advance for all of your encouraging words & positive reinforcement behaviors that acknowledges & rewards them for taking the time to learn something new.
Want to support my Patreon page? Click the [DonateToday] button.