If traditional university education was the only route into tech, Willie Sanders Jr. wouldn’t be in the field right now.
“I’m a professor at the school I dropped out of,” the founder and executive director of Pass IT On told Technical.ly. This detail encapsulates the non-traditional journey Sanders took to his current role, through which he aims to get more people into tech.
Sanders knew he wanted to work with computers since he was 14 and his mom brought home the family’s first PC. He was so obsessed with them that he dreamed in pop-up windows. This passion remained with no outlet until his first semester at Towson University.
Back then, Towson’s only tech industry major was computer science. These courses involved coding and software programming Sanders had no prior experience with. The material his night class professor taught was going over his head, and nobody cared. The frustration boiled up and he eventually dropped out.
“Now I get to be a professor at the university and make sure anybody that’s drowning can at least have one professor who knows what they’re going through, and can give them that life raft to pull them back in,” Sanders said. He’s now a full-time professor at Towson teaching computer networking and cybersecurity.