NEXT Academy is Southeast Asia’s leading school for aspiring entrepreneurs, freelancers, software engineers, and digital marketers

Meet the Mentors: Matt

Meet the Mentors - Matt is one of NEXT Academy's coding mentors. Get to know him!

Zoe Lim
August 29, 2019

Auto enthusiast-cum-coder 🏎💻

Matt is one of NEXT Academy's acclaimed mentors. When you join our Part-Time coding bootcamp, you would have a chance to land him as your assigned mentor! ✌️You can meet him onsite or online to support you through your coding journey with us.


Tell us about yourself...

I'll start with the usual "get-to-know" stuff. My name is Matt, I'm 28 years old and once upon a time, I was born in England. I moved to Malaysia at the age of 15 (it was in the year 2006) and have been refusing to leave ever since, you could say I quite like it here.

I love cars and motorsports, it has been a passion of mine ever since I was a little kid, it started with my obsession of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars that I would race around my living room, as I grew older, so did the size of the cars. You can regularly catch me at Sepang watching racing and occasionally driving on the track myself. Either that, or, you will find me go-karting at one of the great tracks surrounding Kuala Lumpur.

My goal is to one day use my coding skills to build a community centric Automotive platform for people to share and discuss their experiences and love for all things automotive.


What is your background before coding?

Before I made the jump over to code I worked in the Automotive industry for 5 years as a Technical Advisor cum Workshop Manager. 

I am a University drop-out, I studied Automotive Design Technology at Sheffield Hallam University for 2 years but I was eager to get into the working world and wasn't enjoying the learning structure of Uni so I stopped after 2 years.


 Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.


I have always lived by this philosophy and because of this, I realised that I didn't love my job, that is when I decided I needed to make a change and so something about it.

At that point I realised that rather than losing my passion for cars, I should just keep them as my hobby and pursue a career in a different field.


What was your coding journey like?

I started out learning to code through online materials, I began with front-end which consisted of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. At first it was very tough, it was something so completely alien to me and I was way out of my comfort zone. 

It took a lot of me pushing myself and driving myself to understand what I was dealing with and start to develop a programmers mindset, that in itself is the hardest thing to do, but once you do, everything becomes so much easier to understand. 

Think of it like a marathon runner "hitting the wall", you reach a point where you want to give up, but once you get over that wall, you can make it to the end.

One of the biggest gripes I had when learning to code was when I would face issues with my code. 

It was very hard to know where and how to look for answers to solve the problems I was facing. There are a lot of places to look for answers but that isn't always great if you don't understand what it means, that was what I was always lacking when trying the self-learn approach.

When I finally had access to someone else who knew coding in and out, a mentor who could take the time to explain to me about the problems I was facing and make sure I was fully understanding what the code was doing, only then could I truly unlock my potential as a coder.


What are your thoughts on how people can learn to code and should learn to code?

Learn via Books

There are many means and ways to learn how to code, head on down to your local bookstore and you will find an abundance of books that scream and shout they can teach you how to code. 

However, technology evolves so fast and so does software, sadly, books can become outdated pretty quick. I once made the mistake of buying extensive and expensive books for learning to code, only to find out they were too old. They will still teach you the concepts and usually in great detail, but just be aware the tech could be a little bit old.

Learn Online

Online is the most accessible to anyone around the world. There are so many great resources online that will provide the latest up-to-date material covering whichever programming language you are trying to learn. 

Of course learning online is difficult, it requires a huge amount of self-discipline and you can find yourself deflated and unmotivated when you hit bumps and humps in your learning path and don't have access to the right resources to give you the much needed answers to your questions.

Learn Through Bootcamp

Bootcamps are by far the best and most effective method, their curriculums are constantly kept up-to-date with the latest features of languages as well as the best practices in how to write code. 

Being around like minded people who are also trying to learn for the first time means you have others you can turn to for help, or, maybe you can even find yourself helping them.

Why learn to code?

Most importantly, let's look at why you should. When I decided to change career, I searched and searched for all the possible career paths I could take and it struck me just how much technology consumes our daily lives, whether we consciously realise it or not. 

Just think about it; in a morning we wake up thanks to our alarm, through an app that someone coded, we catch up on news through Social Media, in an app someone coded, we order lunch, through an app someone coded, I think you are starting to see the trend here.

When I started to look into coding and software related jobs I realised the abundance of job opportunities available and started noticing an awesome trend in the job listings, "Beginners welcome. No degree required."

It's a no brainer that this industry is becoming a more and more popular choice of career path to take, but right now there is still one huge factor that makes it accessible. 

There is a huge demand for developers all over the world, but the market is lacking qualified developers. The greatest opportunities are staring you in the face and waiting for you to take them.


Any final words of advice?

YES! If you haven't considered learning to code yourself yet, DO SO NOW! 

The rate at which this industry is exponentially growing, so is the need for software developers/coders, prepare yourself with the necessary skills for the future, you are depriving yourself from the best opportunities if you don't.

There are a lot of great resources online that can help you get a head start in coding, but the best experience will be that at a bootcamp. You will be surrounded by others like yourself that are striving to make that step into the tech industry.

I believe everyone has the ability to learn to code, and the great thing about coding is that there is something for everyone, be it front-end, back-end, dev-ops or security. You might not know what your direction will be at first, but that's fine, give everything a try and figure out which suits you best.

If you are not sure if coding is for you, try it out first, there are plenty of free online short courses that you can take in a few days and see whether it is something you have an interest in. Hey! Even we have some material for you to try out here.


Message to mentees

I am looking forward to mentoring you through your coding journey here at NEXT. I'm not gonna lie or sugarcoat it, it is going to get tough and quite often confusing at times, but rest assured you are in good hands and I will guide you through and make sure you enjoy your journey to becoming a Software Developer.

Always remember, the more effort you put in during your learning process, the more you will get out. You will be ultimately rewarded for your effort and sacrifices. 😬💻


Ready to learn?

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