Ran across this story today. It seems that a young software engineer working in New York City offered a homeless man he sees on the street regularly the option of $100 cash OR a laptop (with 3G internet access) and books on Java programming. The homeless man accepted the offer and will work with the young engineer for the next two months to learn to code and possibly become a freelance software engineer. This looks like a story to follow.

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Yesterday, NYC programmer Patrick McConlogue made internet waves with a post on Medium that suggested he wanted to teach the homeless how to code.


In an interview with Business Insider, the 23-year-old said he simply wanted to give the homeless man he sees on his way to work each morning a choice: He could take $100 in cash or get the chance to learn a new trade. If the man rejected the money, McConlogue would provide him with a laptop and coding books, as well as one hour of coding lessons a day for two months.

The whole thing caused a lot of people in the tech world to blast McConlogue for being insensitive toward homeless people and turning the man into his pet project.

But it looks like McConlogue will get the last laugh.

The homeless man, who McConlogue dubbed The Journeyman Hacker, is named Leo. Today, he took McConlogue up on his offer; he’s going to learn to code.

In an update on Medium today, McConlogue writes:

It turns out Leo is a genius particularly concerned with environment issues. As I sat there becoming increasing stunned, he rattled off import/export prices on food, the importance of solar and green energy, and his approval for “efficient public transportation initiatives [referring to NY’s new Citibike]”. He is smart, logical, and articulate. Most importantly, he is serious. It’s up to him if dedication is also his gift.

The next step? For the next two months, McConlogue will leave for work an hour earlier to meet with Leo for a coding lesson. McConlogue said he overnighted him a Chromebook with access to Code Academy, three levels of coding books, and a solar charger. He said he has yet to find something to “hide” the laptop in.

McConlogue believes that within eight weeks, Leo will have the skills necessary to be able to position himself as a freelancer. It’s an experiment for both men.

Tomorrow, McConlogue says there will be an update from Leo himself on Medium. He also created a Facebook page for Leo and the project.
Thanks for your attention.


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2 responses »

  1. Victoria Murray says:

    Well I think this is very thoughtful of Patrick McConlogue because he helped a homeless man to basically learn something that a lot of people may not know. An ability/ skill that will not pay minimum wage and can get him food to eat. Also to show that not all homeless people are crackhead or people that don’t care about life. He is an example of someone that wants to be given a chance but nobody would want to help him because of the way he looks. So this article is very empowering to not judge a book by its cover.

  2. Barry Rochester says:

    Very interesting

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