Meet Matt Tucker! He is the Co-Founder and CTO of Roost (now Spacer), a Coding Dojo Alumni, and holds a B.S. in Computer Science. As a newly appointed coding bootcamp instructor at our Dallas campus, we wanted to catch up with him to chat about his experience as a Developer in Silicon Valley.
We’ve missed you Matt! You have been a busy guy, working as a CTO! That’s quite an accomplishment… So how did you get into coding?
The first time I started coding was with Microsoft Visual Basic in an advanced computer class in high school. After taking that course, I thought programming was really fun, but I didn’t know it could be turned into a career. It wasn’t until college that I realized all the things you could do with programming.
From high school you went to a university for a degree in Computer Science. After graduation you ended up at Coding Dojo, Why did you choose our boot camp when you were a former CS student?
I chose to attend Coding Dojo after completing my computer science degree because I wanted to fast-track the process towards becoming a developer. Looking at the statistics of students finding jobs after graduating college is a very bleak number, and I didn’t want to become part of that statistic. Coding Dojo was my way of attempting at a more secured and paid, future. Another reason was that I was not satisfied with my college’s web development curriculum. What I mean by not satisfied, is that in 2011 my teacher was adamant about Adobe Dreamweaver being the industry standard (which I had used back in 2002 in high school) for web development, which led to my instructor and I having some… disagreements. Side note, I have never once heard nor seen any other developer using Adobe Dreamweaver. Finally, a big reason for choosing a coding boot camp was that after college I found myself sitting at my computer not knowing how to actually create the ideas that were in my head, well at least outside of a terminal application.
During your time at Coding Dojo, how did they prepare you (and other students) for work outside of the classroom? It can’t be easy to learn those things in 14 weeks…
Coding Dojo is great at preparing students for the industry in a number of ways. The process of Coding Dojo gets students used to working in a fast-paced environment similar to those found in the workplace. Also, I believe that Coding Dojo is great at building up a student’s confidence towards diving into brand new technologies. I believe companies struggle to find developers who are willing to learn new languages and learn them quickly. With Coding Dojo’s teachings of three stacks in a short time frame, they solve this need for the industry.
You finished the boot camp with two black belts and started at Roost, a small startup. How did you end up getting in the door at this company?
I got into Roost through a fellow co-worker/Coding Dojo TA, Bonnie Lai. Bonnie met the original founder through Task Rabbit and brought me along with her shortly afterward. Coding Dojo helped my journey to Roost by giving me the confidence to embrace the startup culture without having a safety net. I had learned to trust in myself and my abilities to research and find the answers that I needed. Which turns out to be an immensely useful talent for any job.
So after about 4 years at Roost, you came back to be an instructor at our Dallas Campus. What brought you back?
I was a previous student of the Coding Dojo, and I came back to instruct because I wanted to give back to other’s looking to accomplish what I had. Previously before moving to Dallas, I was the Co-Founder and CTO of my startup. If you’ve operated or worked at a startup then you’ll know how much of your time is consumed by your work. So the other reason for becoming an instructor is to go back to doing what I love in an environment that is fulfilling.
Now that you are an instructor I’m sure you will be giving this a lot, but do you have any advice for coders who want to develop their skills?
My advice is to embrace the philosophy of dispelling all magic. What I mean by this is, don’t use/write code that you don’t understand. In order to strengthen the understanding of a language, you’ll need to spend time figuring out how and why languages and systems are built the way they are. The most important of these questions is why, if you know why something is done a specific way, then you’ll know better how to use that tool.
Advice for people who are looking into making coding a career? Do you recommend a college, Bootcamp, or something else?
For people that are looking at making coding a career, I believe that everyone’s journey is unique. On the topic of applying to jobs and breaking out in the industry, don’t let the application requirements discourage you as a beginner. Most job applications these days ask for a college degree with 5 years of experience and competent knowledge of 6 different positions in the company. Coming from the company side of new hires, most of those requirements are white noise, and the reason the requirements exist is to discourage people who are not confident in themselves and don’t believe that could provide what the job position actually needs.
As for what to do in order to start becoming a developer, what I have done in my life is definitely not the answer for others. I do believe that completing college is a worthwhile undertaking, even if it is a simple piece of paper and costs a sizable amount of money, the skills, knowledge, and network are worth the investment. I have recommended the boot camp solution to a lot of people, including my own family members, but it is not for everyone. The boot camp lifestyle is for the person that doesn’t shy away from a challenge and possess a mindset that refuses to give up. I have gained invaluable insights and knowledge from my college and boot camp experiences and you will have to choose what options fit your lifestyle the best. The biggest advice I can give is to believe in yourself no matter what, and do what you say you will do, today!
We’re very excited to have a great instructor and a skilled programmer as one of our employees again. If you’re interested in learning from Matt, or any of our instructors, apply for our program today at codingdojo.com