From plans to study law in Japan to a gratifying career in software engineering
Bass Toure had grand plans to study law in Japan, but life rarely follows the paths we lay out for ourselves. In fact, it has a funny way of sending us in directions we couldn't have planned—something that's worked out for Bass.
In the months leading up to his move to Japan, Bass helped his parents relocate from Senegal to the U.S. During that time, the 2011 tsunami hit Fukushima, causing a nuclear accident and a power blackout. The fallout convinced Bass's mother that Japan wouldn't be a safe place for her son to study. So he pivoted, planning to attend the University of Southern California. But Bass hadn't taken the SAT, delaying his acceptance and move to California. In the interim, he decided to take general education classes at Kennesaw State University near his parents' home in Georgia.
“I loved the school and met teachers that inspired me in ways I had never experienced before, so by the time I got into USC a year later, I turned it down," he says. Instead, he earned his Bachelor's in Computer Science from KSU. Following his first job in tech, Bass planned to move to Germany for a job in manufacturing, but an interesting opportunity surprised him.
“A friend from college asked if I wanted to interview at Leidos. I didn't know much about it, but he mentioned that Leidos works in healthcare which is a big passion of mine," Bass says. When he met with the manager, Bass shared that he was looking for work with a purpose. After learning about the project and meeting the team, Bass joined Leidos as a junior developer.
“I was hooked. It was a no-brainer," he says. That was nearly seven years ago. Since then, Bass has been promoted twice, to software engineer and then data engineer. He's also gotten married and welcomed a baby.
4 Reasons Bass enjoys working at Leidos
As a data engineer on the Software Engineering team, Bass supports the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network. He and his team create automated systems that clean and package healthcare data to help build data-driven public health solutions that can be proposed to lawmakers and facilities across the country.
This meaningful work is one of the reasons he's happy to have joined Leidos. He also enjoys the flexibility, supportive culture, and opportunities for professional development that come with working at Leidos.
1. Meaningful work
“It's very diverse. You rarely have to do the same things week after week," Bass says. “Every time we solve an issue or finalize a deliverable, we can feel good about making the country's healthcare infrastructure that much better. I love the work I get to do at Leidos and the people I get to do it with."
2. Flexibility and respect for work-life balance
“I have never gotten pushback on a request that supports my work-life balance," he says. “My manager supported me when I asked to work a different schedule to accommodate personal needs. Plus, I have only gotten three work calls during personal time while I've been here. Each one started with a version of, 'I am so sorry, I had no other choice but to call.' That greatly acknowledges how much our leaders respect my free time."
3. Supportive culture
“I have gotten fantastic support throughout my time here. Everyone is always willing to help, including professionals who have been in this industry for longer than I have been alive," Bass says, noting that he and his peers also feel secure pursuing new skills. “Everyone feels safe to say, 'I don't know how to do X and would love to learn it.' An environment where it's safe to make mistakes and learn new things promotes learning and growth."
4. Opportunities to grow through professional development and training
“Every time I have asked to do something outside of my responsibilities, the answer from leaders has been, 'Let's figure out how to make it happen.' There is also great support for training during work hours so we can keep learning and pursue growth opportunities," Bass says. “It's a truly great place to learn and perform. I went through our upskilling program, which was fantastic, and I plan on joining the next cohort of the CAPM training to get that certification in the books. Overall, there are a lot of opportunities to support career development."
Bass's advice to others in software engineering
Bass notes that, in an ever-changing industry, technology standards will continue to evolve—and tech professionals must evolve with them.
“Adapt and stay flexible. Take some risks! Put yourself out there and volunteer for things, even if you're not an expert," he says. “You will be surprised by the opportunities that will open up for you. Experts in the newest technologies are being made as we speak. There are no limits to what you can achieve."
Bass looks back on his plans after graduation and believes he angered a witch, he jokes. However, she must have been a merciful witch because Bass is quite happy with how things have turned out.
“There are very few opportunities in one's career that are irreplaceable," he says. “I believe that, for me, working for Leidos is one of them."
Want to learn more about Bass's career journey? He'll be a guest speaker at our virtual Leidos Collaboration and Career Event to take place on Thursday, December 7, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. EST. Register to attend and, in the meantime, check out our open software engineering jobs.