From Doctorate to Dojo: Healthcare through Code: Redefining healthcare

Dr. Kwame Johnson has all of the education and knowledge necessary to become a neurosurgeon. Instead, he chose to become a product manager at Google DeepMind Health where his passion for health technology now touches millions of lives.
Johnson says, “Coming to Google is literally the culmination all I’ve been working towards.” Johnson says, “Currently working at the intersection of software and medicine, is exactly my dream job.” Johnson credits his 14-weeks spent at Coding Dojo Seattle’s bootcamp, April 2016, for making him realize his life-fulfilling goal. He was able to move from bootcamp to Microsoft to his dream job at Google in just two years.
We met Johnson to discuss his career and to learn how his roots in medicine and our bootcamp are making a real difference for the families and patients he has always wanted to help. He has gone from Doctorate to Dojo and proved that you can make a difference in the lives and livelihoods of others. At the age of 10, he watched his grandmother suffer from Alzheimer’s and then lost her to the disease a few years later. His plans to become a surgeon changed dramatically while he was at Duke University School of Medicine. He realized that the treatment of brain injuries and disorders was still based on some archaic knowledge. This needed to change.
He says, “There’s nothing you can actually offer a person.” “When you have any type of neurological injury, whether it’s stroke, gunshot wound to head, or subarachnoid hemorhage, the treatment plan is to stabilize all organs and wait and hope. This is what you tell your family and there’s nothing else we can do.
He switched gears through a startup competition and a business plan competition at his University. He heard ideas that could transform the industry if they had the right momentum. Johnson realized that pushing the boundaries of what is available to patients was where his heart was at. He completed his doctorate and worked as a medical editor for a few years.
But his dream of transforming the health industry through a hands-on approach was not realized. Johnson realized that he wanted to work on the actual technology, not just writing about it. That’s when he began researching coding bootcamps. “I have the healthcare background, and I needed the technology.”
Johnson initially considered a master’s degree in computer science, but he realized that bootcamps were a faster and more direct way to gain the technical knowledge he needed. Johnson believed that once he had both the background and the job experience, the jobs would follow.
After completing Coding Dojo’s 14 week bootcamp at our Seattle office, he was able leverage our partnership to enroll in the Microsoft LEAP Program. “Coding Dojo was a huge help in getting me into the [LEAP] program. It was a game-changer for me once I got in that program.
“From a networking perspective, Coding Dojo was very helpful in actually enabling me talk to alumni that were doing what I wanted.” Johnson was able leverage Dojo alumni to help him realize his dream to enter the tech industry. He was hired at Microsoft as a Program manager after completing the LEAP program. He worked with iOS and Bing. It was easy to move to Google to become a Product Manager at Google Health. This job was exactly what he had envisioned spending his entire life doing.
Johnson: “Essentially, [Coding Dojo] got my on the path to where I would literally be able to do this for free — and that’s why I don’t look forward Fridays or hate Mondays,” Johnson says. These were the things I had always hoped for in my career, but couldn’t achieve until I became a techniian.
Johnson spent months learning full-stack, front-end and back-end languages, databases, and other coding skills through the onsite bootcamp. The rigorous content, daily algorithm exercises such as white-boarding, and specialized career services offered grads gave Johnson the knowledge and support to get into his current position, which he considers to be the pinnacle in his career.
“The bootcamp’s actual content was clearly very helpful to understand how we got here.

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