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William Hill Uses Technology to Give Back

When William Hill first arrived in California, he knew right away he wasn’t in rural Mississippi anymore. “Moving here was a shock,” he says. “It’s a world of difference from where I’m from.”

He’s also come a long way from playing Nintendo in the small Mississippi town where he was raised. At a young age, Hill developed an interest in how games were made. After receiving a computer for his 14th birthday, the deal was sealed. “I knew software engineering was what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to get started,” he says. He didn’t end up learning software engineering until college, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science at Mississippi State University.

Now, Hill works as a software engineer matrixed to Global Security (GS), and he has worked at the Lab for the past three years. Hill first found out about the Lab when he met then-Computation Workforce Manager Tony Baylis at a computing conference in Washington, DC. The meeting led to an interview at Lawrence Livermore, after which he was hired and jumped into a data visualization project for GS. “I like the constant challenge at the Lab,” Hill says of his experience thus far. “It was overwhelming at first, and the work was challenging. There’s always something I can do better.” Hill says he wants to continue learning and moving up in his field—a goal he’s found attainable here. “I see how much more I’ve learned and how my skills have increased,” he says.

Hill is also using those skills to give back to his community. During the week, he teaches at the Hackbright Academy, a coding bootcamp for women. He’s taught at the bootcamp for a little over a year and feels it’s important to give others, particularly minorities, opportunities in technology fields. “That’s something important to me because when I was younger I had nobody to guide me. There may be someone out there that needs a point in the right direction,” he says.

Besides the Hackbright Academy, Hill has also engaged in other outreach activities such as Black Girls Code, in addition to helping Tony Baylis (now director of the Office of Strategic Diversity Programs) with Lab recruiting events. Hill is also involved in the African American Body of Laboratory Employees (ABLE) and Software Improvement networking groups (SWING).

When he’s not working or engaging in community outreach, Hill enjoys reading, volunteer work, and staying active. “Basketball was my first love,” he says. He also has some advice for those interested in computer science. “Just get on the internet,” he advises. “Technology permeates every aspect of our lives. Now there is software in cars so they can drive themselves—it’s not going to stop anytime soon.”