Lawrence Brown, 26, needed a hand.

When the Boston Center for Youth and Families streetworker program (which works with at-risk youth to de-escalate street violence) met Lawrence, they found a determined young person who needed employment. They referred him to Operation Exit, an initiative under Youth Options Unlimited Boston and the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety. Operation Exit offers incentives-based career training leading to private sector placement for citizens in need of a second chance.

Lawrence opted to learn coding. And after excelling in an 8-week tech bootcamp, he landed a position as a computer technician and web developer with Resilient Coders, the non-profit that helped train him.

In an interview with Microsoft, Lawrence talks about why he enjoys coding, the lessons it’s taught him, and his plans for the future. His reflections on coding apply to life as well: “It gets hard — really hard — and you will hit walls where it would be easier to quit. If you can get around that wall, you’ll make it….”