Benjamin worked as an Apprentice for just over a year and exited MAXX Potential as a distinguished Alumn, making it all the way to level 4.
What were you doing before MAXX Potential? What drew you to pursue a career in technology?
Before MAXX Potential, I was a Licensed Mortgage Loan Originator at a local family-owned Mortgage Brokerage; if you needed to refinance your home loan, or get a loan to buy your home, I was your guy. My decision to finally move into technology, specifically web development/software engineering, came after many years of giving multiple other industries my full attention and energy without really feeling accomplished or rewarded for my time and effort - I was finally burned out. My brother, CTO at goHappy Hub, reached out to me and convinced me that the world of technology, specifically in Richmond, VA, was different. "The water is warm," he said, "Come on in!". I was in.
Can you talk about what you’re currently working on? What are some of your job responsibilities?
At Fuel Digital, I get to be a part of many different projects, deliver various solutions for differing industries and work in many different tech stacks & code-bases. Presently, I'm working with a client who delivers legal SAAS, and I'm building integrations for their services to other products like QuickBooks. What's cools is that some of their clients need integrations with QuickBooks Online, and others with the QuickBooks Desktop Application. So I get to work on Web Api's, Web Apps, as well as a Service Bus and Desktop Programs!
What’s the most rewarding thing about your current role?
I love that I get to have the opportunity to be a leader, to serve others on my team by helping them learn and grow as Software Engineers and Consultants. I'm excited for future plans within Fuel Digital, that will allow me to build a team and help grow our company.
How do you keep your skills up to date? What’s the best way to learn new concepts, technologies, programming languages, etc.?
Find a problem that needs solving. It doesn't matter if it's big or small (maybe start with the small ones first). And solve it using whatever technology interests you. Finish what you start, if you keep working at it and finish your App/Website/Api/Service, you will have learned SO much about solving real-world problems. The critical thinking and application of knowledge that happens during building, you NEVER get from just reading and watching tutorials or blogs.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to someone early in their IT career or looking to get their start?
From a developer's perspective: find an industry, a technology, or a problem to solve that excites you. If you're more people-oriented, look at roles/companies that have good collaboration/culture. It's crazy how two companies in the same industry, in the same city, can have such drastically different models on how their team collaborates.