Matias is a front-end developer and alumni from Wild Code School’s remote campus. For us, he talks about his passion for music, his career path and what led him to a training in front-end development.
Music, housekeeping and web development: a thousand lives all gathered in one!
Hello Matias, could you introduce yourself a bit?
My name is Matias Espina, I’m 30 years old, and I was born in the Patagonian side of Argentina, lived there all my life until 2019 when I came to settle myself in Berlin.
To go back a bit to my former career path, I worked in two consecutive housekeeping jobs, then the lockdown came and I had to manage to work as a freelance cleaner, cleaning private homes. Then I started working as a freelance developer and now I have a full-time position: I am a front-end developer, thanks to Wild Code School. I got my certificate in 2020, and I just started my first web developer job at Devbite after one year of working as a freelancer.
In your former life, you studied music at the Universidad Nacional de la Plata. Could you tell us a bit more about your passion for music and what motivated you to follow these studies?
My musical journey goes back to my 15th birthday when I bought my first electric guitar. By that time, I was already trying my hand at recording, I had my first band and I was getting into songwriting.
When I finished high school, I wanted to study something focused on music so I tried Music Composition. A few years later, I would change to Orchestral Conducting, a beautiful career. Unfortunately, I had to suspend my studies to come to live in Berlin. But I plan to finish it here if I get the chance. I loved this career!
What made you change your mind and retrain yourself in front end development at Wild Code School in 2020? What did you learn there?
I was always the "nerd" or "hacker" to my friends and family. I always had an aptitude for computers, but it would never have occurred to me to enter the world of programming. I thought I was incapable of it, that it was a totally different world to everything I had been doing, that it would take years to learn, that I was too late to learn it or that I could only study it by doing an engineering degree at the University. I was so wrong about all of this.
Since I arrived in Berlin, I have had very bad jobs trying to make a living. One day when I was fed up with it, I had the idea to get into programming. A friend of mine who is now a Senior Developer told me that he got his first programming job "after a one-year course at his school". Wow, with so little time one can already get trained?
The next day, I was already taking the introductory courses at FreeCodeCamp and that same week I discovered the 5-month remote course to get a diploma as a frontend web developer at Wild Code School. I signed up, took 5 months, finished it, got my first freelance job that same year and almost two years later, here I am!
Music and tech: what is at stake?
Do you think technology has improved the way we are consuming and creating music? Why?
I don’t know if it has improved it in the strict sense, but it has delivered a lot of new tools to make it and new formats to consume it. What has highly improved is the way to access it.
In the 18th century, in order to listen to music, you had to play an instrument, go to a concert or hire a musician. If you were living far away from the city, you probably spent most of your life used to silence unless you had your own instruments. But think about it now, you can be sailing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean or living in the middle of a desert, and still be able to stream your favourite album unlimitedly.
To go deeper in this topic, in which way technology has changed or shaped the music industry according to you?
Music recording and the use of electricity to generate sound is among the most groundbreaking inventions of the last century in my opinion. Radio, television and the Internet changed the way we access and consume it. Synthesizers transmute electrical energy into sound waves, also computers turn zeros and ones into music.
Nowadays big artists can make a song, put it online the same day and reach 10 million people in a matter of minutes.
Technology is also making music enduring. A digital recording can last as long as the Internet will last. We have recordings of musicians of the 20th century playing their own music. There is a very special one of Debussy playing Clair De Lune. It’s available on YouTube. Would Claude imagine someone would be able to listen to what they record that same day 150 years later? And maybe in 500 years or 1,000? Who knows how long the Internet will last and the huge database of human history that comes with it…
What is your favorite tech innovation within the music industry?
A very hard one to choose. But digital instruments, analog synthesizers, discogs, soulseek and vinyl turntables are among the top 5 tech innovations I use the most and my favourite ones.
Becoming a front-end developer with a 5-month training program
Let’s come back to you! After your retraining, you became a freelance front-end developer. Can you tell us a bit more about the challenges you faced and the skills you needed to succeed?
When you work as a freelancer, you have to move around to find your clients. You are your own company, your own boss. That brings some facilities but some difficulties as well. If you don't move, there is no work. You have to find a way to expose your work and attract new clients. You must have the determination to ask for the money your work is worth.
But the possibility of managing your time and being able to work remotely from anywhere in the world is a great benefit. And if you like challenges and learning new things, you can always accept to do jobs that require tools or technologies that you have never used before to learn them and add them to your tech stack.
What are your next projects for the near future?
Thank you for all these answers! One last word for our Wilders and the people who want to retrain themselves and change their lives but don’t know where to start?
Nerds are making the world go round. Join the club! 😄
To go further…
If like Matias you’d like to retrain yourself in web development, try out this free and online intro to coding, and discover another testimony of one of our front-end alumni!