Academy Alumni Spotlight: Matt Bavosa

Matthew Bavosa is a Web Production Specialist at Money Map Press in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore. In his free time he enjoys jogging and biking, which is actually built into his new daily commute! Recently married, the journey to become a web developer was not the only journey traveled this year and might not be the last. In a technology focused age, Matthew brings a business and sales prospective to a technical world, building the internet one web page and e-mail at a time.

Tell us a little about your professional background before participating in the Betamore course(s).

I was in sales for six year after graduating from Maryland in 2011. I worked for two and a half years doing marketing software sales until I wanted a change. I then worked for three and a half years at TESSCO, still hunting for the right job and considering getting out of sales. With my major being Public Relations, nothing seemed to really click.

Why did you choose to attend a course at Betamore? What about Betamore set it apart from other learning options you were exploring?

It was definitely affordable compared to taking full-time classes. There are no hidden fees. It also worked perfectly with my work schedule; twice a week I would end work at five then drive over for the class at six. Also, the location was awesome. I used to live in Federal Hill, now Canton, but it’s pretty easy to get around here. Other benefits would include the small class environment and the flexibility. It’s not dozens and dozens of people without one on one time. Our class only had nine people, so it is very personal. You get to know the people in the class and the teacher, which fits for someone who needs a lot of attention and asks a lot of questions. Tom is also the right guy to teach this course. It was helpful to know that even though this course only started a few years ago, Tom teaches three classes a year and this was probably his seventh, eighth, or ninth different class that he has done. He definitely knows what he is doing at this point.

Can you tell us a little more about what you’re doing and who you are working for?

I work for this company Money Map Press in Mount Vernon. It is part of a group of companies called the Agora that mostly publishes and produces financial web information. Basically, people pay for a subscription to get these financial publications and advice for investing decisions. My job is entry level, but my title is e-Commerce Production Specialist. When writers and editors write a piece to be published, they send it to us to put into WordPress and with all the right formats. We use Adobe Dreamweaver for a text editor. It isn’t too hard, but this job is a stepping stone for me to grow as a web developer.

Do you have an opportunity to apply what you learned in the course in your current position? In what ways?

The class didn’t focus too much on WordPress because it is a specific platform that some companies use. I wouldn’t be opposed to Tom devoting half of a class to WordPress. I don’t need the JavaScript I learned as much right now, but it will come into play in the future. Overall, just learning the basics of HTML and how work flow operates was very helpful.

Have you gotten involved in any other Betamore offerings, or community user groups such as the Junior Web Developer MeetUp, or Charm City JS?

I haven’t yet, even though I pay attention to them on Slack and online. I know that Tom hosts Saturday meet ups, but I haven’t had any personal time to devote to it yet. I do plan to get more involved and maybe take another Betamore class. The Full Stack course has my attention, but I am not ready for it yet.

Tell us a little about the instructor’s style/learning environment.

It’s very casual, laid-back, and enjoyable. Towards the end of the class, one girl brought in sangria and snacks for everyone. We would always drink beers here in class because part of our fee is stocking the fridge. When you wanted to get serious, to the point, and learn something, Tom had no problem jumping right in and answering questions. He tries his best to get everyone in the class involved. There were some people in my class who were quieter, so over time Tom learned not to pick on them too much because they just wanted to sit back and observe. There also were people who were more active and getting into it.

Did you benefit from the additional supports Betamore provides, such as résumé support, networking, and access to the coworking space?

I think I benefited from the supports more than anyone in my class. From the get-go, with Michele, I was looking for a job; whatever I need to do to get there, I would do it. She went over my résumé and helped me out there. She gave me ideas of where to apply to etc. One time, she posted on slack that later that day there was a job fair at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. I said sign me up, I want to go. I paid the $5 or $10 fee it was to get in and got to talk to a lot of companies, give my résumé to people, and make some networking connections. Even though I didn’t talk to them there, the company I work for now was actually at that fair. I knew the Betamore jobs page had lots of listings especially for people who had little to no experience outside of a Betamore Academy class. Michele connected me with a recruiter at Agora, and I soon landed interviews and a job offer. I looked to Michele for advice throughout the whole process, and she gave me all the tips and advice I needed.

How available and frequent were job fairs and opportunities after your graduation?

The job fair I went to was during the course. It was probably week eight of ten. I actually only had an hour to stay at the fair because I was going to class right after. I was interviewed by the ninth week of the class and got the job a week after the class ended.

Would you recommend this course or instructor to anyone else? What advice would you give to another student looking to take a Betamore course?

I would definitely recommend it — Five Stars. It’s not an accredited course, but this is what you need in this day and age and job market. This class has a set structure, holds you accountable to come in every week for ten weeks, and gives you a chance to become a part of the Betamore community. Talking to Michele and Tom, you can’t experience that while trying to learn on your own. Before the class, I tried to go online through various resources in order to familiarize myself a little bit with things like HTML so it wasn’t as foreign to me the first couple weeks. It is not required to do anything before the class, but I found it beneficial and gave me a jump-start in digesting what we learned in class each day.

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