Kris Lee is a network engineer at a law firm. He attributes his success in making the switch to a community of Black tech workers.

The meeting that Lee stumbled upon was led by a software engineer who taught others how to code. Lee works for a software company.

Lee said that he experienced what a community does for you.

We build black started with small meetings to help people learn how to code. Jackson believes that career-development programs are more effective than diversity panels to break down institutional barriers that keep Black people out of tech. He wanted to create an organization that would help Black people, especially at-risk youth and women, build community and land high-paying jobs in tech.

Jackson told Insider that he used to be annoyed that certain opportunities weren't given to him. I wanted to make a complaint. I wanted to do something concrete.

The Brooklyn-based nonprofit has evolved from a one-man operation into a volunteer-run group that has raised millions of dollars to support more than 3000 members in their career advancement.

Jackson got into software engineering from a non technical background.

Jackson sold graffiti t-shirts and comedy tickets on the streets of Times Square, unlike most software engineers. He left the streets to attend coding workshops, receive scholarships, and study for professional IT-skill certifications.

He got his first job as a full-stack developer at a boutique-software firm in Brooklyn after starting his tech career as an IT help-desk intern. Jackson is a technical product manager at LeafLink.

He said it was crazy. I said I'm never doing anything else except for this.

We Build Black hosts coding meetups for Black tech workers to network and learn new skills 

We build black offers coding classes, mentorships, and networking events to Black workers looking to pursue tech careers similar to organizations like Black Women Talk Tech and Black Boys Code. According to data from a career-building platform, less than 5% of software engineers in the US are black.

We build black looks to differentiate itself by taking a community approach to programming When a member comes in with a goal, attendees with that skill can offer their help.

"You talk to someone in our community and they say they don't have the money for that or they can't do it, nine times out of 10," Jackson said. There is no excuse when you provide resources.

Hackathons, conferences, coding contests, and even a recidivism program have been hosted by We Build Black. Jackson said that the programs have ended indefinitely due to timing and financial constraints.

The next step for We Build Black will be building out its job pipeline

Jackson said that we build black is focused on building out its workforce-training programs.

Out of hundreds of applicants, the program chose ten black students to enroll in its fast-track program. The students are rewarded for completing the training with perks such as computers, smart phones, and cash.

After finishing the course, students work on a coding project for their portfolio and interview for internship atshopify Students who don't get an internship are matched with jobs at other tech companies.

There are new programs that will be rolled out. Crowns and Code will be a game that will match high-school seniors with mentors from a game-developer firm. Lee, a former student, has helped the organization grow through partnerships and other efforts.

Jackson wants to make sure that people don't have to go through the same financial issues that he did.

If you want to walk through that door, you need to keep trying to break it.