Code + Cybersecurity - how 'bout it?


Remember how I mentioned in my last post that learning to code/program has many benefits and pathways to success? Well, one area of which I'm very familiar is Information/Cyber Security. Some of those skills, such as, being detailed oriented, analytical, and methodical play a major role in most disciplines of Cybersecurity. 

The field requires professionals to have deep technical knowledge, to be eager to examine under the hood, to keep abreast of the threat landscape and prevent (if possible), detect, analyze, and mitigate issues of which one faces. Due to the dynamic and fast paced environment, automation ("automate all the things", as we tend to say) is paramount. Althouth many professionals have coding experience, being that we are stretched thin, we aren't always in a position to code as often as we'd like. So, automating "all the things" becomes automate "some of the things", until we get time for the rest. This does not even include the core development work that we need to enhance our security offerings. 

If one wants to reverse engineer malicious software (malware), it is vital for him/her to understand the code and the way it functions in order to conduct proper analysis. 

Application Security is ever growing, software will never stop having vulnerabilities and adversaries interest in exploiting those vulnerabilities will only increase. So, having the skills to be able to contribute to the secure development life cycle makes you a valuable asset. 

I've only briefly touched on a couple areas where your skills may be valuable, but the list is lengthy, so imagine the possibilities. 

The industry is hungry for talent and there simply aren't enough knowledgable professionals to fill the available roles. So, when considering career paths after learning to code, consider Cybersecurity.

JOURNi is raising $50,000 to make sure that Detroit girls have the opportunity to follow in Quiessence's footsteps and blaze their own trail in tech. By donating $16 to our #DetroitGirlsCode campaign, you can support one hour of coding for a future girl techie! 

Just Like Me

by Quiessence Philips - JOURNi Co-founder

It is not a coincidence that many people pursuing a particular career knew of someone that held a position within. As the saying goes, “if you can see it, you can believe it”. It is possible to envision something you do not know to be possible, but is is rare. This is why it is important to expose our youth to those in positions spanning the gamut of technology and other change making careers. I don’t necessarily view myself as influential and inspirational, but the young ladies I’ve helped mentor have shown me quite the opposite. This is why at JOURNi we not only teach the power of coding and entrepreneurship, but expose our students to folks who look like them and work in all areas of technology or own tech-enabled businesses.

I had the pleasure of speaking to and working with a set of girls who knew nothing about code and were only familiar with technology from a consumers perspective. After my initial speech, the instructor informed me that the girls all left saying “I want to be {insert cool title}, just like {insert cool person}. She looks just like me.” These young ladies went on to build amazing websites and applications, and those at the university level enrolled in the Computer Science program.

Learning to code is not a siloed skill; it is more than a specific technical skill set. The benefits span from critical thinking to understanding methodologies. These skills are applicable to navigating life and it’s challenges. Most importantly, learning to code equips one with the ability to create. There is nothing more fulfilling.

JOURNi is raising $50,000 to make sure that Detroit girls have the opportunity to follow in Quiessence's footsteps and blaze their own trail in tech. By donating $16 to our #DetroitGirlsCode campaign, you can support one hour of coding for a future girl techie! 

More than Code

Our goal at JOURNi is more than teaching computer coding. Our mission is to ensure all communities have access to the skills and education required to compete in today's digital world.

Whether it's launching our House of Technology Project, where software developers from across the globe can come to Detroit and live in our residential technology homes with subsidized rent, freeing them to work on building their startups with little to no overhead; or our Digitize Detroit campaign, that gives the 53% of Detroit business owners who don't have a website access to affordable website development.

JOURNi is ultimately about positioning Detroit as the epicenter of tech and start-up culture for communities of color.

Just as so many of our grandparents and great grandparents came to the motor city looking for work, we envision generations of young people, career changers and entrepreneurs flocking to Detroit to realize their dreams.


With your support we can realize that dream so much faster.


To support, please visit the JOURNi's Indiegogo Campaign


Brian McKinney

JOURNi Cofounder

Quiessence Phillips: Polished Exterior, Techie Interior

Our lovely co-founder Quiessence Phillips is a Cyber Security professional with 10 years of experience working within the financial industry. She is also the creator of Securing Your Path - a community of women in Cyber Security. She is active in the tech community and has made significant strides in exposing youth to the world of technology through previous work with Urban Tech Alliance, Black Girls Code, and Qeyno Labs. Quiessence is a mom, mentor, coder, hacker, strategist, and change agent; and her personal motto is 'Polished Exterior, Techie Interior'. To learn more about her awesome ventures, check out

Interested in how your development skills can catapult you into a career in Cyber Security? Quiessence will speak about her firsthand experience that has helped her become a success with her cyber security career this Friday during our launch event at MASH Detroit. RSVP here and join us for the panel!

Trinity Manning: Leveraging Coding in Non-Tech Industries

Trinity Manning is the cofounder and CEO of OnceLogix, LLC, a business application development company based in North Carolina. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2002 with degrees in Communications and Business. After a chance meeting mowing his lawn in 2004, Trinity saw a need for people to be able to manage their documentation and progress of behavioral health clients online. In one night, after an 11-hour programming stint, Trinity created - a web-based practice management application. Today, Share Note is being used in 12 states by over 400 companies, and generating over $4 million in annual revenue. 

OnceLogix has been featured in tech blogs and magazines including Black Enterprise, has received awards for Share Note, and been recognized as one of the best employers in the Southeast. Trinity has had the opportunity to speak at churches, schools, colleges and other venues all over the country - all while mentoring young black men. 

When he's not programming or running his company, you can probably find Trinity riding a motorcycle, on the golf course, or day dreaming about his true calling: being a world famous R&B singer! (insert laugh here)

Are you interested in coding to enable better business decisions or to leverage it in industries outside of technology? Trinity will be joining the panel at our launch event on the evening of Friday, July 29th, to discuss how he was able to infuse coding into his business concept. RSVP here.

Peta-Gay Clarke: Creating Pathways Through Computer Science Education

Peta-Gay Clarke is a well rounded professional with broad experience as a Business and Information Technology leader, coupled with a passion for providing S.T.E.M. education to underserved youth. In 2015 she joined Google's diversity team to serve as Community Manager, focusing on creating sustainable communities to cultivate more Black and Latino Computer Scientists. Prior to Google, Peta served as the Deputy Director of IT at the Columbia University School of Journalism. Peta also has over 10 years of experience as a Programmer, working for companies including the Federal Reserve Bank, NYC Department of Education, New York Magazine, and COACH Inc.

Peta holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Programming from Farmingdale State University of New York (SUNY) and earned her Masters Degree from Pace University. She was awarded the Civic Engagement Award for Academic Excellence and Community Service in May 2015. 

Are you an educator interested in understand how Google sees computer science education and the pathways it creates? Come hear from Peta-Gay Clarke this Friday, July 29th during our launch event - The JOURNi to Revolutionizing Tech - at MASH Detroit. RSVP here.



At this point much has been written about the lack of representation of minorities as employees, venture capitalists and venture capital funded start-up founders within the tech sector. In all fairness, we could take the same statement and replace “tech sector” with “finance” or a host of other sectors, and the truth of the words would still be paramount. Thankfully in large part to the coverage and work of so many across this country, there is a real movement to increase minority representation within tech.


I, along with my JOURNi cofounders Quiessence Phillips and Richard Grundy, have been fortunate to work on local and national initiatives that have introduced computer coding, design and other tech related opportunities to young people who normally wouldn’t have had the opportunity. Through such work over the last few years, along with juggling our daily jobs as either tech founders or in their case software and security engineers, we’ve realized that increasing access to real tech opportunities requires long-term involvement within the communities with the least amount of access. In short, we realized that we had to repair to where the greatest challenges lie, iterate what we learn works and scale nationally from there.


Being that two of the three of us happen to come from the place that has the highest percentage of minorities (African Americans 84%) of any major city in the country, we decided that it made the most sense to launch in our native home, Detroit. However, we did not choose Detroit merely because of it’s a minority-majority populated city or merely because the majority of us were familiar with the inner workings of the city. We chose Detroit for a much more complex reason.


For at least fifty years, Detroit has been a place where African Americans could see themselves in all aspects of opportunity. Whether it was political aspirations or owning a business, you never got the sense that you couldn’t be whatever you wanted to be. One has to look no further than Black Enterprise magazine’s annual list of top performing businesses to find many highly ranked black-owned businesses across all industries coming out of the Motor City. Yet, in a city that has always provided infinite opportunity for its residents, it has struggled with some of the nation’s highest violent crime rates and even recently found itself housing the country’s poorest census tract. Our decision to launch in Detroit wasn’t merely about hometown pride or the “Detroit vs. Everybody” mantra. It was more about our unwavering belief that the elements of becoming a great hacker or start-up founders can be found amongst Detroiters.


The city itself is in the midst of a rebirth. That much has been written and reported about. You can go downtown or to midtown any day of the week and see how vibrant the city has become. There is definitely much to be excited about. Political and private sector leaders alike have made a concerted effort to make Detroit’s rebirth include a more tech centered, start-up economic ecosystem; yet for any start-up ecosystem to be truly sustainable, it must produce or attract a steady crop of capable hackers/engineers, designers and innovators willing to create often against sound reason and judgment.


And it is to fulfill that need why we chose Detroit, and launched JOURNi. At JOURNi we are teaching youth, young adults and career changers alike more than how to code. We’re focused on ensuring that our students learn what role software development plays in their everyday lives and how they can utilize what they learn to impact the world in which they live. At JOURNi there will be no shortcuts. No coding lite classes. Each student must develop her or his skills to the ever-evolving standard required to compete in the global tech environment. Anything less would merely be setting students up for failure. But if we’re only half right, we’ll make lifelong learners out of those we encounter. At JOURNI our mission is to help shape a generation of technologists who produce apps, websites and software that solve some of the biggest problems our society faces.


Whatever our impact ultimately is, you have our word that we will always be dedicated to making tech look more like those who depend on it every day.


Brian McKinney Sr.

JOURNi Co-founder

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