Billy Yip and Abdael Mora are skilled coders who specialize in the Python programming language — and they’re launching a gaming studio. Billy is a fan of niche games with elaborate soundtracks who dreams of making his own game. To inspire Abdael to build one together, Billy suggested he play some of his favorite titles from the past decade.
“I sold it to Abdael by saying, hey, listen to the music of this game and see how flawlessly they transition from one scene to the other.” Abdael was in and now they work on their own gaming project every night after work.
They work well together, bouncing ideas off each other and making strides toward their end product. “I play video games as well, so being able to come home every day to actually work on it or even talk about it or talk about what we have planned is just inspirational,” says Abdael.
Billy and Abdael make such a great team, you’d think they’ve been doing it for decades, but they’ve only known each other for over a year.
In the past, Billy worked as an IT specialist, completing short-term employment contracts for tech companies such as PayPal and Silicon Valley Bank.
“Those were just the yearlong, two-year contract roles that they just kept renewing, so I just kept jumping around until I found something I liked.”
Eventually, Billy was recruited by an international real estate company. It was a big job, but he was only there for about one year before the pandemic and he was laid off.
“I spent all that time getting a full-time job and I lost it just like that.”
Billy wanted something more stable and dreamed of one day creating his own game or program, so he decided to give coding a try. He put together a list of 15 coding bootcamps and narrowed it down to the Kenzie Academy from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) program and 4 other bootcamps.
“I reached out to every single bootcamp near me and I scheduled one-on-ones. With every one of them I said I want to learn how to do this, and they just said, yeah, we’ll teach you. You’ll learn that here,” he said.
“It was very low energy. It’s like they were trying to make a sale.” However, while learning about Kenzie Academy from SNHU, he was blown away and all his questions were answered in detail.
Abdael’s experience getting to his Kenzie Academy program was a different path.
“Before I started, I was in high school. I was still a high school student. Growing up, I wanted to get into the tech world by pretty much trying to figure out how to update an application or adjust a phone.”
As Abdael approached high school graduation, he chose to pursue a software engineering education and decided on a university to attend. Unfortunately, he was not chosen for the grant he applied for and was unable to receive a student loan. So, he went back to the drawing board and applied to Kenzie Academy from SNHU to learn about the program.
“One day at work, I got a call from [Kenzie Academy Admissions] and I didn’t know if this was true or if this was too good to be true.”
Abdael chatted with an Admissions Counselor, received information, and considered the opportunities that could come his way. It was an easy decision. He enrolled in the Full-Stack Web Development program.
It didn’t take long for Billy and Abdael to connect. They realized they made a great pair during their first assessment.
“We stuck together because we approach things the same, but we think differently,” Billy said.
They compare their collaboration to throwing a ball. If one of them runs into a roadblock, they “throw the ball” to the other to get a different perspective until they find a solution. This experience led them to create a Discord group where other learners could collaborate. It was an effective way to connect and contribute to the Kenzie Academy learner community.
“I not only grew a relationship with Billy, but created one with other people as well. We learned individually but also in a group, and we got to pretty much just be ourselves.”
For Abdael, these positive sentiments also apply to the Subject Matter Experts, Facilitators, and Coaches.
“They were there anytime we needed any help. Of course, they didn’t tell us the answers, but they were there and they showed us how to think. They showed us how to think more as a developer, but they were also there for us to succeed and also if we had any questions.”
It was at this point that Abdael noticed an advantage that he may not have experienced with traditional education.
“[The Kenzie Academy Team] really showed a side of them where they cared a little bit more. They wanted us to succeed, but all they asked of us was to actually try and do what they wanted us to do. I pretty much got the education and the material that I was looking for … I’m very happy with that.”
Today, after graduating in late 2021, Billy works as a developer at Technology Credit Union and Abdael is still looking for the right fit. In the evenings, when they’ve addressed other responsibilities, both coders put time and effort into their gaming studio.
“We’re pushing each other forward, but we’re also there to catch you when we go down,” says Billy.
Billy reflects on his time as a Kenzie Academy learner fondly. It was an experience full of lessons that may benefit others too.
“You are going to struggle, but the beauty of it is, you’re not alone. You have a Slack channel. You have coaches that are there,” he says. “I think Abdael and I both agree: we thought one year was a long time on day one. But as quarter four was ending, we thought, one year is not enough. I don’t want to leave. We didn’t want to leave.”