Listen to the interview (approx. 57 min.) or download it.
Left Berklee in 2008. (Completed his liberal arts at Bunker Hill Community College 2011-2014, Finished his very last requirement and officially graduated from Berklee in 2016), with a degree in Professional Music. Principal Instrument: bass.
Position: VIP Support Technician at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Matt is on a four-person team that supports technology for the office of the college president and other top-level administrative people. “Everything is done ‘from stratch,’ by hand, and on-side with everything double-checked.”
Overview: Starting at age 11, Matt would make a bit of money by buying computer parts, assembling computers, selling them, and providing technical support. Entering Berklee as a diploma student, Matt transitioned into the degree program, but left in 2008 due to financial issues. Matt searched widely for a job in the Boston area, focusing on both being a butcher and learning guitar repair, but his experience led to him being hired at the then-new Apple store as a “genius” (tech support), where he received good training and certifications for Apple products while making decent money. He worked there for around two and a half years, but grew weary of the long hours and erratic schedule which prevented him from finishing his education, and was sending out resumes.
Nearly a year after he had applied Matt heard back from the MIT-affiliated Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, to support their Apple hardware. He worked there for five years, eventually seeking ways to move up. MIT was doing a shake-up of its IT staff, and he was offered his current position in late 2015.
You can see Matt’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “I like that I get downtime plus access to unlimited sources to learn things. The users I work with are amazing, fantastic people who have incredible stories! On the technical side, I really enjoy finding a solution to a problem nobody has been able to figure out. It’s awesome and I get a real charge out of that.”
“If you want to work in tech support, get lots of certifications. Your certifications are your resume in tech–it doesn’t matter where you went to school, but your certifications show you can do stuff. The Apple Store is a great place to start; there days I do a lot with lynda.”
“Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and treat the people that way you’d want to be treated, and you’ll be better than 95% of support technicians. I got my position because I got a reputation at being really good at working with people, even when they were angry or frustrated.”
“Visualizing something before you do it is the biggest thing I learned at Berklee–where I’d trained myself to figure out where your fingers will go before you play it–that’s just like what I do when I repair a computer. I’ll visualize the problem, consider the possible issues and figure out how to accomplish the fixes while I’m still walking toward the location with the issue. Often I’ll be in and out in a couple of minutes and people will think I’m a wizard.”
“I still play music with a band, Monkeys of a Bygone Era, though with my newborn kid. Anyone who really wants to stay in music, find a lucrative side hustle where you can work less than full time. Learning to code is a great plan–there are so many jobs. Many pay well (at least for the next 5-10 years) and you can do it from anywhere.”