How did the code that made the killer become a $ 100,000 programmer in Silicon Valley?

After 22 years in prison, now Zachary Moore (38) sat surveying and checking the code in an open-space office in San Francisco with a 6-digit salary.

Zachary Moore, a criminal who was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 1996 (then he was 15 years old) now became a computer engineer at a technology company in Silicon Valley. After 22 years of sitting in a 1.8 x 2.7 meter cell, now Zachary Moore (38) sat surveying and examining the code in an open-space office in San Francisco with a six-figure salary , among the highest of the US workers. His colleagues are graduates of Stanford University.

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Zachary Moore after being released from prison in 2018.

Here is the story of this man and how he changed his life.

Moore was born into a middle-class family, in a quiet neighborhood in Redlands, California. Moore's parents are addicted to alcohol and often neglect their children.

As a teenager, Moore started using alcohol and drugs. On the night of November 8, 1996, Moore's family members got into a big argument. Uncontrollable emotions, Moore was holding a knife stabbed his brother.

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San Quentin State Prison

In September 1997, Zachary Moore was convicted of murder for a life sentence of no release before 26 years.

Three days before his 17th birthday, Moore was sent to a high-security prison. Moore struggled with life in prison and tried to find out who he was and what he did.

In 2000, Moore was frequently in trouble and had to move to solitary confinement almost no human contact and was shackled 23 hours a day. During this time, Moore realized his guilt and decided to fix it on his own.

Later, Moore joined a group of prisoners trying to improve themselves, the group learned about Buddhism, meditation classes. With the emotional support of his fellow inmates, Moore gradually learned how to "remove negative emotions from the mind".

After being transferred to Ironwood State Prison, Moore enrolled in an online university program at Palo Verde College and graduated with an average of 3.89.

One day, Moore saw a brochure in the prison corridor talking about a program called The Last Mile, a program about entrepreneurship held every two weeks at prisons run by Chris Redlitz, a businessman. person and investor in Silicon Valley.

Through this program Redlitz wants to teach prisoners the skills so they can find jobs when they leave prison. And programming is the easiest job search skill in California.

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The prisoners are learning to code.

Moore signed up to participate in a comprehensive code training program organized by The Last Mile at Ironwood Prison in June 2015.

At the time, Moore had only used the computer three times in his life before committing the crime and didn't know what the Internet was.

Despite the life sentence, Moore still hopes he will be released one day and he wants to be prepared in order to find a useful job. Programming work appealed to Moore and he felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Moore must pass The Last Mile's screening process, have a clean record, have not committed any violations within 2 years before applying and pass a logical test.

Moore started the first code learning program with two 6-month courses. Initially, Moore was learning basic programming languages ​​such as HTML, CSS but only allowed to code by hand. When exposed to computers that do not have access to the Internet, he had to learn by himself on instructional videos made by technical experts from Google, Airbnb, Slack and Alibaba in studios.

During the second 6-month period, Moore was taught about back-end coding, combining Javascript and NodeJS. At the end of the course, Moore implemented a project called Capstone, a mock e-commerce website.

Moore graduated with the highest score. Later, Moore moved to San Quentin Prison to attend an additional training course focusing on The Last Mile's advanced algorithms and data science.

Shortly after moving to San Quentin Prison, Moore received unexpectedly good news, and he had the opportunity to be released due to a new state bill.

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Hearings of prisoners for release.

In 2018, after undergoing the council's review process, Moore received a release decision but had to go through a 150-day challenge. During that time, he focused all his attention on the code, completing the final rank of his course. Moore even helped build elements of an actual website for organic bread company Dave's Killer Bread founded by a former convicted person.

On November 12, 2018, Moore was released, after 22 years behind bars. The Last Mile helped him begin to get used to society again as a part-time engineer for the organization.

Six months later, when he felt ready, Moore started applying for technical internships at technology companies in Silicon Valley. Moore said, 'I know no company wants to hire me but I want to be in an interview.'

The CEO of The Last Mile said that technology companies often do not want to recruit people who have been convicted of issues related to legal issues and cultural integration. Especially in the case of Moore, he received severe discrimination from employers for each violent crime and murder.

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Moor's cover letter.

Moore accepted these discrimination by writing his story in the cover letter.

In May 2019, Moore quit his job at The Last Mile to become a technical intern at Checkr, one of Silicon Valley's next unicorns. 4 months later, Moore was employed as a full-time engineer with a six-figure salary.

Now Moore is a man with a stable job and a desirable salary.

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