To Create A Place At The Table, Go Deep On Research And Reimagine The Future: Google Engineer Brandon Tory

Kwame Som-Pimpong
Written by Kwame Som-Pimpong
Brandon Tory
Brandon Tory is a senior Google software engineer and hip hop artist. Photo: Anita Sanikop

The future is built by people with particular skill sets. In Part 2 of his conversation with GHOGH podcast show host Jamarlin Martin, Brandon Tory shares keys for learning to code and what Black folks need to do to make sure we’re at the table as technology continues to advance. 

Tory is a senior Google software engineer and hip-hop artist. Before Google, he worked at Apple as a senior software engineer.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 58: Brandon Tory Part 1:

Jamarlin talks to Brandon Tory, a hip-hop artist and senior software engineer at Google. They discuss Brandon’s journey from homelessness to teaching himself to code and working with Timbaland and Jimmy Iovine.

Learn to code your own way 

Tory highlighted books as his preferred means of learning to code and continuing his education. He also cited online programs as another way to develop coding skills. Regardless of which approach you take to developing coding skills, Tory advised not to focus entirely on learning a particular language. You want to have an understanding of the underlying way of thinking that can port across languages. 

Here are some resources to move you along wherever you are in your coding journey:

Deep Learning in Python by Francois Chollett

Sams Teach Yourself C in 24 Hours by Tony Zhang

Code.org

Codecademy

Khan Academy

Udemy

Codewars

Coursera

Free Code Camp

MIT Open Courseware

Importance of research

According to Tory, innovation is “the act of socializing a language and then applying diversity to that kind of fundamental language such that you have new perspectives that come out of it.” He argued that Black people won’t be able to fully take advantage of emerging technologies. He offered that people looking to impact technology and create a place at the table for Black folks need to go deep on the research underlying these technologies to then be able to reimagine what the future looks like.

If you’re ready to go deeper than the buzzwords around emerging technology, here are some resources to help take your knowledge to the next level:

Academia

LibGuides

Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence

OpenAI

The insights Tory offers here are golden and could really change the game for folks willing to put in the work to build the future. Let’s GHOGH!

Kwame Som-Pimpong leverages relentless research, a knack for connecting dots, human-centered design approach, and effective communications strategy to help organizations realize their strategic objectives. Over a 10-year career, Kwame has supercharged grassroots political organizing efforts, assessed the effectiveness of U.S. federal agencies, managed an international program, founded a digital media startup, and advised government agencies on delighting their end-users. He earned a BA in Political Science from Davidson College and Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. He can be reached at kwame.som.pimpong@gmail.com.