Please welcome our new employee, Matt, to the team!

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It is always nerve-racking coming into a new company and trying to break the ice. Ensuring that new employees feel comfortable is crucial to building a positive transition within a company. We thought it would be fun to ask Matt a few questions to get to know him a little better.

Q: What is your official work title?

A: My official work title is Systems Support Specialist.

Q: Can you tell us more about your professional experience/history?

A: I was a Sr. Budget Analyst (in practice, this title was akin to Project Accountant) for 3 years at a regulated utility company.  As a Sr. Budget Analyst, duties included: routing invoices, opening projects, consolidating data from various applications, budget entry, SOX compliance, forecasting, accrual reporting, and variance analysis.  During this time I taught myself advanced techniques in Microsoft Office and VBA to help reduce workload and improve the quality of the reports that my team regularly provided.

Over time I came to realize that programming and process automation were my greatest passions.  I left my company and began to study programming full-time over the course of one year.  During this time I read several books, participated in courses on sites such as MongoDbUniversity.com, Codecademy.com, and Udemy.com, joined a local Slack technology group, experimented with 3 different microcontrollers, created over 26 software projects in various languages (~1,500 Github commits), and interned in China for a short period as a front-end ReactJS developer.  When I returned from China, I found Percipia!

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

A: Learn code! Lately, I have been attending a number of technology Meetup groups in Chicago to meet new friends in the IT field and learn more about up-and-coming technologies. Sometimes I like to read philosophy books or visit Indiana Dunes.  I am also a registered open water SCUBA diver, occasional skydiver, novice smelter, occasional wood-worker, rock collector, and chess player.

Q: What is your greatest travel experience?

A: My greatest travel experience was a road trip to California that I took with my brother in July of 2017.  He was moving out to Los Angeles and asked me if I’d come along as support, though he insisted on driving most of the way.  Along the way, we stopped in Colorado and saw some amazing scenery including a pristine waterfall tucked away in a small forest preserve. Next, we stopped in Las Vegas to try our luck at a casino and see the fountains of the Bellagio hotel.  When we finally arrived in Las Angeles we hiked around the Hollywood sign which is something I had always wanted to do.  This was my first road trip with my brother and the most fun I had ever had on a vacation.

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Q: Favorite movie?

A: My favorite movie is likely Fight Club.  The acting is amazing, the main character’s personal struggle is very dramatic, and it’s a movie that offers new discoveries every time you watch it.  Other great movies I enjoy include La Femme Nikita, the Alien trilogy, and The Conjuring.

Q: Guilty pleasure music artist?

A: I really enjoy listening to Billy Joel, Steely Dan, and the Beatles.  Not sure if I should feel guilty but my friends have poked fun at me for my musical tastes :).

Q: What is something that inspires you?

A: I am heavily inspired by DIY sites such as Instructables.com and Raspberrypi.org.  I love to learn new things and these sites make it fun to explore new hobbies and technologies; they also affirm my belief that, with the right guidance, anyone can accomplish their goals.  

On that same note, I am heavily inspired by people who are self-taught.  I once read an article about a woman named Jennifer Dewalt who created 180 websites in 180 days in an effort to change careers and become a professional web developer.  By the end of her experiment, she was very knowledgeable in HTML, CSS, and Javascript, and was soon hired as a web developer.  Her experience, and the experiences of others like Jennifer, gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my own dreams.

https://leanin.org/news-inspiration/180-websites-in-180-days-how-i-learned-to-code/

Q: What would you say your professional goal would be now that you are employed at Percipia?

A: My professional goal as an employee of Percipia is to learn as much as I can and become the best Support Specialist I can be.  I am excited to work with Linux systems and hope that my experience in this position will assist me as I move forward with various hobby projects.  I am also very excited to be surrounded by a team of kind and experienced IT professionals that can lend guidance and talk shop.

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