Not many people get to turn their hobbies into a career, but that was exactly what Matthew McKney did. An avid gamer, Matthew used his interest in game development as a stepping stone to learning how to code. So, he went on to complete a full-time 10-week Software Engineering course at Boca Code. Matthew now works as a Software Engineer at SmartX Advisory Solutions, making a career out of his passion.
Tell us about your background. What were you doing before attending Boca Code?
I graduated from high school back in 2020 and took a gap year not entirely sure what I wanted to do but ever since I was young I wanted to learn how to code. The interest stems mostly from playing video games all my life, so I decided I wanted to develop a game myself. I came to Boca Code, where I learned so much and am now living my best life and enjoying every day of it.
What motivated you to explore a new career, and why did you decide to pick Boca Code?
I always wanted to learn how to code since I was young but never took the effort to learn until now. Boca Code has taught me everything I know and the people and community are great. I am glad I chose this path and didn’t waste my time doing four years at a college where I probably wouldn’t learn much. Everything is going great.
How did you finance your education, and what were some of your biggest considerations when making this choice?
I chose one of the financing options that allowed me to start paying after six months, and now I have a full-time job that pays for my student loan.
What did you like about the program? Are there any highlights that stood out to you?
The people and instructors were definitely the highlights. I’ve never known anyone who is truly passionate about teaching people. I really appreciate all they did and for making my time there worth it. I would recommend it to anyone who is passionate about coding.
How did you fit the program into your schedule?
As I had just finished high school, I had a lot of free time. It enabled me to join the cohort without hassle, and I was really lucky to be able to put all my time into it and enjoy every second of it.
Can you give us some examples of the projects you worked on during the program?
We worked on tons of projects including a representative finder and restaurant finder. In the last two weeks especially, we got to create our own project. I made mine about video games. I loved making it, and it is very personal to me.
Do you have any advice for someone considering this program?
You definitely have to be passionate about being in the field to succeed or else, you are not going to feel the same excitement doing this job for 20+ years.
How did the program support you in finding a job?
I was recommended by my lead instructor and a member of the alumni, and I got hired for a full-time job. They were always throwing jobs out left and right. By the end of each cohort, almost every student had a job within one to three months of the program’s completion. It’s truly amazing.
Was the job search process different from what you expected?
Yes, very different. I really thought it was going to take longer but I waited patiently and the opportunities lined up in no time. They also help you decide which of the opportunities are good for you.
How many companies did you have interviews at? How did you choose which one to work with?
I was interviewed by four or so companies. A couple of them were actually part of the hiring fair that the program organized in the last week. They all sounded amazing, but most of them wanted me to do things that I didn’t want to do. In the last job interview, I really liked what I was hearing and I also got to work with one of my alumni.
How are the skills you gained from the course useful in your current career?
The course taught me how to think and learn like a Software Engineer and now, anything I touch I can understand easily. Everything I work on in my job is easy to pick up. I find that I can use the skills I learned to help grow my knowledge in this field effortlessly. Apart from that, I love helping students and anyone that wants to learn, even at my job. I really enjoy it.
What do you think is different about your life now versus before the program?
My life now is 10,000% better than before. I get to do something I love and enjoy every second of it without getting bored or feeling tired. This is a big difference from the past when I was doing nothing after high school, not really knowing what to do, and wasn’t making any money.
What do you find fulfilling about your current line of work?
I find that every day I get to go to work, I enjoy every second and every day seems to be different. I really enjoy learning more and love to help anyone in my line of work because it just helps me better. There is always something to learn and find out.
What do you enjoy about working at your current company? Are there any specific perks you enjoy?
Currently, I enjoy working at my company because it’s remote and I get to work from anywhere and I really only work the amount of time it takes me to finish my tasks. My job is not that demanding which makes it more enjoyable.
Do you have any job search advice for someone considering a career in your field?
Just be out there, go to networking events, and get to know the community. It’s not so much networking down in south Florida, it’s more meeting people and creating actual connections. Make sure to really put yourself out there, so people will remember you and offer things you would have dreamt about.