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Mukayila Alao: Software Engineer at The Knot World Wide

Hello, My name is Mukayila Alao. I am proud to say that I am a Software Engineer at TKWW.

I grew up in West Africa, in the country of Burkina Faso and my whole life, I have always been passionate about technology.

However growing up where I did, it was very difficult to pursue this passion due to the lack of access to it. My parents did not have the financial means to provide the technical resources for me.

So, as a kid I started fixing computers to learn how they work. I managed to get my first personal desktop in 2011. It only had 256 MB of ram and 20 GB of disk space which was a few generations behind. But I was happy to have it.

To continue learning, I attended university to study computer networks and computer maintenance. It was a new experience for me because I am the first and only one of my siblings to go to university. College in Burkina Faso is very different than here in the United States. My program was only three years, tuition was 30 U.S. dollars, and I only had 20 classmates in my program. But I was a good student and I liked learning. By my third year, I moved from third to first in my class.

After I completed university, I got an internship fixing computers but I wanted more experience and I wanted to learn more. I kept experimenting with the hardware but really I wanted to understand the software.

"In 2014, I came to the United States in search of the American Dream. I was 24 at the time. I left everything that I knew; family, friends, and my home."
-Mukayila Alao
It was really difficult.

I continued to face hurdles when I arrived. I knew how to write English, but I wasn’t comfortable speaking it. In addition I wanted to learn to code but I didn’t have money to go to university here. Instead I started working as a busboy and doing delivery. Then I started driving for Uber and Lyft to support myself and my family back home. With that, I eventually found a way to finally study English.

For those who have studied and worked at the same time, you know this isn’t easy. I continued to dream about coding. But unfortunately the financial barriers continued.

Then I discovered Pursuit after driving for Uber for five years.

I learned about the Fellowship because Pursuit had a partnership with Uber to turn their drivers into software engineers. I was so excited. Especially because of the financial aspect of paying for my training only after I got a job.

My journey at Pursuit was perfect for my work life balance. I was able to work 2 to 3 days per week, while also devoting my time and focus to my studies. It was my new hope.
I studied full stack engineering and from frontend to backend development. Learning to code was challenging but it was amazing finally learning the software behind the hardware. And I really loved it.


Mukayila (left) & friends back in his home country of Burkina Faso

After Pursuit Core, I had the opportunity to interview with TKWW through Pursuit’s Commit program. The interview process was very friendly and so were the people. A big shout out to Matt, Amir, Parker, Ryan and Kristin for making the process as smooth as possible.

I have a funny story to share: I actually got my green card the same month I got hired at the Knot. As you can imagine, this was a very special moment for me both as an immigrant and a software engineer.

Now, I am so happy to be a part of The Knot Worldwide. What really stood out was TKWW’s mission. The idea of making everlasting memories for couples and helping them with their special moments really resonated with me.

On the journey team, we are working to make couples journeys the best possible experience. For me, I know there is more that I will add to this team and I truly believe the best is yet to come.

There are so many people that helped me on my journey.

I want to say thank you to Pursuit, founders Jukay and David, as well as my instructors Gregory Testo, Anthony and Samantha.

Everyone on the Core Team (Amanda, Nataja, and Lakisha) and the Pursuit Commit Team (Caroline, Jordan, Tim, Billy, and Will) as well as other members who helped to make the Pursuit experience worth the effort, special shout out to Mike and Sara for working with me on those Sundays.

Another special thanks to my friends and peers, especially my manager Kristen, Justin, Vivian, TK foundation and the whole build team.

And now I will ring the Gong

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