The Power of Ideas: David Delmar

He’s helping kids code their way out of poverty. —By Karen Weintraub

david delmar resilient coders

Photograph by Trevor Reid

Every year, the gap widens between the thousands of 21st-century jobs opening up in tech and the thousands of inner-city kids who are still being educated for an industrial age. From that seemingly intractable problem sprang former PayPal employee David Delmar’s solution: He founded a startup that teaches kids from Boston’s toughest communities how to code.

Last year, Resilient Coders trained 80 teens in programming. Give me four hours, Delmar told them, and at the end you’ll have launched a simple website. Give me eight hours and you’ll produce a better website with CSS. Give me more time and you’ll get better—maybe people will pay you to do their websites. If you get even better you might turn it into a career.

Resilient Coders’ biggest success so far, 19-year-old Micah, now codes for the Boston Globe. Two of Micah’s friends recently bragged about how much cash they’d hustled that day selling drugs. Micah just smiled: He’d outearned them both.