Oh, The Things You'll Learn | Matthew McCord - Cohort 16

Mar 1, 2018
Mandy Arola

mccordinatorWe’re catching up with some of our alumni and they’re sharing advice for our students and recent graduates.

It has been almost a year since Matthew McCord graduated from NSS as a part of Cohort 16. Prior to NSS, he was a touring musician and worked in food service when he wasn’t on the road. He started programming as a hobby, but kept running into roadblocks. “Getting a dev environment set up for JavaScript, or even Ruby on Rails, was a process that I failed at over and over until I gave up,” shared Matthew. “NSS helped me put those pieces together, and showed me how web development works compared to just making a single app that never connects to the internet.”

Ten months into his first tech job at Bernard Health as a full stack developer, Matthew hasn’t stopped learning. Matthew has learned PHP and Laravel framework, the back-end language and framework for BerniePortal, along with Vue.js, the front-end framework for BerniePortal. He’s also been able to explore Objective-C and how XCode works when he pitched in to help troubleshoot a few issues with their mobile app. The development team and lead developer, Charlie, have taught Matthew Unix commands to help with debugging and pulling information from their terminal or vagrant box. He’s also recently been included in deployments and other DevOps items, helping him to grow even more!

Matthew shared, “It’s been tough adapting to all the new syntax and programming patterns, but well worth the headaches! I feel like in the past ten months I have already leveled up a lot. As a junior, it definitely helps that I get a weekly one-on-one with my lead dev, and even beyond that, great mentorship when I am struggling. Being familiar with OOP (object-oriented programming) concepts definitely translated across to PHP once I learned the syntax and got used to the flow of it all.”

Development is not just a 9-5 job for Matthew. Outside of work, he loves to spend time working on game development through projects and tutorials in JavaScript, GameMaker Studio 2, and Unity. He also attends meetups every month and explained, “there is always someone who can teach you something new, and you can always teach someone else something new.”

If we keep this a collaborative community, versus a competitive one, everyone wins!

Matthew encourages recent graduates to “keep coding, but make sure to keep it fun. Even if you think that what you are interested in isn't ‘cool,’ or ‘will never make me money,’ or ‘isn't going anywhere,’ you are still leveling up as a coder! Seeing different perspectives in coding only helps to broaden your skills and knowledge. Experiment with other languages, game programming, or whatever interests you!!”

Starting a new career can be a tough transition, but it’s all about having the right attitude. Matthew advised, “Never think of your past or your past career/job as a ‘waste of time,’ no matter what you were doing. That attitude only leads to negativity and unproductive thoughts and feelings. If you try hard enough, you can apply skills from your past to your present and your future. Life teaches us great lessons, if we just pay attention. The world of software development is a lot more than just being able to sit down and write some code that works!”

You can connect with Matthew on Twitter or his website.

Topics: Alumni, Learning