podcast January 3, 2023

From life without parole to startup CTO (Ep. 522)

Ever wondered what it's like learning to code from an XML file of raw Stack Overflow data?
Avatar for Ben Popper
Director of Content

Welcome to a new year. For our first episode back, we’re featuring a chat with Jessica Hicklin, the CTO of Unlocked Labs. She describes what it was like to enter prison with a life sentence at the age of 16, how she taught herself to code in while incarcerated, and how she turned that into a new role as a software engineer and entrepreneur after being unexpectedly released at the age of 42.

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Episode Notes

If you want to read more about Jessica, you can check out the blog we worked on together for the launch of our Overflow Offline initiative. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like learning to code from an XML file of raw Stack Overflow data, be sure to check this episode out.

You can learn more about the Supreme Court case that led to Jessica’s release here.

Her company’s mission is to build a better justice system from the inside, specifically by educating incarcerated individuals so they can teach the next generation and have valuable skills upon release. Read more about Unlocked Labs here.

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to mx0 for answering the question: How do you extract the ‘src’ attribute from an ‘img’ tag using Beautiful Soup?

Follow Ben on Twitter and if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a rating and review.


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