This is the fourth edition of a multi-issue Blog introducing and celebrating the successes of Mindteck Academy's current Java "Bootcamp" Trainees in Madison, Wisconsin
Meet Kevin M.
Mindteck Academy Java Trainee
From his small town of Wisconsin Rapids to the busy city of Madison, Kevin has proven to be adaptable to any situation, and when it comes to facing challenges, Kevin is an ‘obstacle crusher’, letting nothing get in his way. Not only has he been a hard worker since his teenage years as a cook, waiter, camp counselor and file clerk, but even more impressive is his volunteer work through his church and with the Arts Council in his hometown. It’s no wonder that upon graduation from college, he was scooped right up by Renaissance Learning as a Quality Assurance Technician.
Although his Bachelor’s degree is in Technical Communications, he found his way down the QA trail and is now looking forward to a brand new turn on that path into software development. Even though he already has his degree, he’s currently back in school to earn an A.A.S. in Web Software Development so that he can achieve his dreams. Kevin was attracted to the Java training class with Mindteck Academy because he knew it could help fast track him to the programming world. “The Java training class with Mindteck Academy is truly a unique opportunity. It is teaching me the layers of the Software Development Lifecycle that I only understood at a high level. It’s giving me a real-world understanding of the different branches of the process.”
His perfect job? One where his writing abilities can truly complement his programming skills and best benefit his team. Teamwork is a very important value to Kevin. Though an advocate for fitness and always trying to improve himself, he is not concerned with being better than anyone else. Now preparing for his third Tough Mudder race (if you don’t know what this is, you have to check it out!), I asked him if he was trying to beat his last time or if he had a goal to reach. His response? “I’m there for my team. I’m out there trying to compete with some much bigger guys. Just crushing the obstacles and finishing the course is enough.” He truly espouses the Tough Mudder Pledge:
· I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.
· I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
· I do not whine.
· I help my fellow mudders complete the course.
· I overcome all fears.
After learning about Kevin’s love of physical fitness, it was no surprise (well, maybe it was a little surprising) that he wanted to be a professional stunt man as a kid. “I saw an interview on TV with Jackie Chan and thought that it would be a really cool thing to do. It seemed unorthodox and like a real adrenaline rush.” By now, you’re understanding how Kevin’s fearlessness has gotten him where he is today. What employer wouldn’t love his drive, enthusiasm and ambition?
When asked what advice he would give someone else trying to enter into the world of computer programming, he said “If you have a curiosity for it, talk to others who know about it; join clubs; do your research. Don’t be afraid.”
Kevin earned his Bachelor of Science in Technical Communications from the University of Wisconsin – Stout where he graduated Cum Laude and is currently enrolled at Madison Area Technical College pursing his A.A.S. in IT – Web Software Development. He received National Gold Certification from ACT (a career readiness organization) and was also a member of the National Champion Cheer/Stunt Team of Wisconsin Rapids. When Kevin is not working out, in training, in college, or learning on his own, he can be found relaxing with his friends online playing Xbox, as well as spending time with his girlfriend.
This is the third edition of a multi-issue Blog introducing and celebrating the successes of Mindteck Academy's current Java "Bootcamp" Trainees in Madison, Wisconsin
Meet Ethan G.
Mindteck Academy Java Trainee
“Go long or go home” – isn’t that what golfers say? Ethan surely is familiar with that phrase, as he seems to have the perfect swing right now. Although a bit of a late bloomer in deciding on his career path, his drive and dedication to becoming a software developer are well above par.
A native of Jefferson, Wisconsin, which is 45 minutes outside of Madison, Ethan fights the traffic every morning and evening in order to get to Mindteck Academy’s Java Training class. On snowy days, this commute can sometimes add up to over 2 ½ hours round trip! So why does he do this? “Mindteck Academy offered me the chance to further my skills with job-specific training. It’s definitely the bridge I needed to get from where I am to where I want to be.” He went on to say, “I’m also learning things that I didn’t know about before, such as Bootstrap”, which is the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web.”
Spending his adult life enjoying the great outdoors in the landscaping business where he has been involved with design, project management and customer service, Ethan knew this was not his life-long passion and wanted the opportunity to create something with his mind instead of his body. When asked how in the world he went from landscaping to programming, he said, “I’ve always liked to build things, and I knew I wanted to ‘build’ without my hands. While out golfing with a friend of mine, he talked to me about programming and that’s when I decided to pursue it.”
An avid sports fan (Go Packers!), Ethan would love to one day work in some sort of sports-related area – perhaps developing mobile apps or creating complex software programs for various sports programs such as Active or SwimMeet. He’s already created his own golf scorekeeping app, so who knows what’s next? What he really wanted to be growing up was a baseball player (he’s a left-handed pitcher if you know of any teams looking for that kind of talent!) While he may not get to fulfill that childhood dream, there’s certainly nothing stopping him from accomplishing his visions now!
What advice would he give to a young person trying to get into software development? “Be resilient. It can be frustrating, but be resourceful. There is always a solution to every problem. Don’t give up. Just like in the movie “Field of Dreams”, listen to your heart and make your dreams a reality. “
Ethan graduated from Madison College in 2014 with an A.A.S. Programmer/Analyst degree, where he achieved high honors and perfect honors repeatedly. He is actively looking into pursuing his bachelor’s degree next! When not on the golf course or programming, he might be found watching a good sitcom with his wife of eight years.
This is the second edition of a multi-issue Blog introducing and celebrating the successes of Mindteck Academy's current Java "Bootcamp" Trainees in Madison, Wisconsin.
Meet Gabriel G.
Mindteck Academy Java Trainee
Gabe is a real adventurer and traveler, and no stranger to the Carolinas, Hawaii and Colorado. So making the move from Eau Claire to Madison, WI to attend Mindteck Academy’s Java training class was a total walk in the park. He actually started his college career at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and knows the lively city like the back of his hand, which helps a lot when going out with his classmates for a little fun on the weekends!
Gabe has always “had kind of a thing” for computers. Back in middle school, his mom brought home their very first PC – a Windows NT 4.0 – and that’s when it started. In high school, he got even more interested after getting his first graphing calculator, and then later joined the programming club. Growing up with several dogs in childhood, Gabe once thought he wanted to be a veterinarian and “save all the animals”, but he now would love the chance to work in robotics and artificial intelligence. Maybe Gabe will one day help develop a robotic medical device that veterinarians use in surgery. The great thing about technology? It allows us to marry our dreams together!
While very confident in his core programming skills (especially Java), Gabe was drawn to Mindteck Academy because of its ability to teach skills that are typically learned ‘on the job’. “I have a strong base of knowledge and a Computer Science degree, but this training course is a practical application of skills. We get to see how things work in industry.”
Outside of Gabe’s prowess as a software developer, he is quite talented at a few other things! As a swim team member throughout high school and much of college, Gabe is known for his distance freestyle abilities. In fact, these skills propelled him into ocean lifeguarding in South Carolina for many summers! On the other side of the weather spectrum, Gabe is also an avid skier. What is most impressive, however, is his coveted Eagle Scout ranking. Many years ago, he led his Boy Scout troop through a project in which they built and painted benches for a nearby camp using donated wood from a local lumber yard. He is a real leader in the making.
Gabe occasionally likes to take risks, as evidenced by his decision to ride an actual bull on a farm in North Carolina! “I had never done it before. My roommate introduced me to the idea. After falling off, the bull actually stomped on my leg REALLY hard, leaving a very dark bruise.” Taking risks, however, is what got him to where he is now. His advice to others pursuing a career in software development? “Start learning on your own. There are a ton of resources online. Grab the bull by the horns!”
Gabe graduated from Coastal Carolina University (where he served as a science and math tutor) with an ABET accredited Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Making Dean’s List several times, he graduated with a 3.45 GPA and was a member of Upsilon Pi Epsilon (International Honor Society for the Computer and Information Disciplines.) In addition to his love of the water and the slopes, Gabe enjoys reading in his free time and has been known to disappear for hours hidden behind the pages of a good work of fiction. One of his favorites? “A Song of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones.” With an imagination like that, there’s no telling what Gabe can do.
Meet Chase M.
Mindteck Academy Java Trainee
This is the first edition of a multi-issue Blog introducing and celebrating the successes of Mindteck Academy's current Java "Bootcamp" Trainees in Madison, Wisconsin.
Trekking all the way from Apple Valley, California (where the temperatures in February remain comfortably in the 70s) to the arctic town of Madison, Wisconsin (which is ranked as the Top 100 Best Place to Live in 2015 by Livability!), Chase M. is welcoming the steep climate change, as it is all part of his plan to elevate his career as a Java developer with Mindteck.
The trip, which took three days, allowed Chase to go through seven new states and see a side of America he never really knew - “I got the chance to see just how large and vast the farming industry is in the Midwest.” When asked how he is adjusting to life in Madison, Chase beamed, “Other than the cold, it has been amazing. The people are courteous, the town is clean, and the sites are beautiful. I’ve never seen frozen lakes before. There are quaint places to eat and drink on every corner, which is nothing like my home in California where there is a McDonalds every few blocks” (insert chuckle). “I’ve eaten at a new restaurant every day!” When asked if he’s met any new people outside of class, he said he really hasn’t found the time. “I get to training about 90 minutes prior to the start of class and get work done. I spend eight hours at training and then go home and code for a few more hours every night. I eat, live and breathe Java right now. I’m putting everything I’ve got into these two months of training.” Upon further discussion, Chase did reveal that he and his classmates have found some time for some fun – whether it’s playing darts at a local pub after class or eating lunch together – they have all really bonded.
As a youngster, Chase wanted to be an Astronaut. His grandfather was actually a part of North American Rockwell and was on the Saturn V missile project that put man on the moon! Asked if given a chance to fly into outer space now, Chase said he would go in a heartbeat. Here on earth, however, his passion is now for programming. He always knew he liked technology and computers, but I wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to do. In college, he chose a general technology major and after a requisite programming class, he never looked back. “The first time I wrote a program and the computer did exactly what I wanted it to do, I was hooked! Everything clicked and it felt completely innate.” As a long-term goal, Chase would love the opportunity to work in the sphere of Artificial Intelligence.
When asked what attracted him to Mindteck Academy, Chase quickly replied “This was an opportunity of a lifetime. As someone who ‘only’ has an associate degree and has opted not to unduly burden myself with student loan debt, it has been hard to get my foot in the door anywhere – or even to get my resume evaluated. I have been perpetually stuck in the philosophical ‘chicken-or-the-egg’ situation and this was the chance I needed to break that cycle.” Chase went on to describe his experience with Mindteck Academy as ‘phenomenal’. “The Java training is completely preparing me to work as a software developer at the enterprise level. The instructor is amazing; he is unwaveringly focused on teaching us the skills we need to be successful. It has been the perfect bridge for me.”
What is Chase’s advice to a young person trying to prepare to be a software developer? “Just keep doing it. As much as you can. It can feel overwhelming at times, but just keep doing it. Just like we forget how to solve math problems if we don’t keep doing it, the same can happen with programming.” His mantra? Practice makes perfect.
Chase has an Associate of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Victor Valley College, where he graduated with a 3.9 GPA, Academic Distinction, Dean’s Honors and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He is an avid soccer player and coach, known for his leadership skills as a center midfielder both on his high school varsity team and college intramural squad. He also enjoys playing football, drums and video games.