Successful Berklee Alumni #146: Kevin Orlando

Kevin Orlando

Listen to the interview (approx. 49 min.) or download it.

Graduated in 2014 with majors in Music Production & Engineering and Music Business.  Principal instrument:  guitar.

Position:  Software Engineer (official rank:  “Associate Software Engineer” — essentially the middle level) at Red Ventures, marketing firm which builds interactive websites for other companies, mainly very large ones.  Kevin is one of 200-300 engineers at this 2,000-person firm, and is one of a half-dozen engineers on the 20-person “Product Team.”  He mostly does back end programming, building databases and APIs.

Overview:  After graduation, Kevin moved home to Charlotte, NC.  His initial plan was a get a masters degree and he took classes at a community college that fall, but by the end of 2014 decided he’d rather work.  He scoured Indeed, applied and got a job with Mood Media (formerly “Muzak”):  initially an administrative-type job, but in the spring of 2016 he was promoted to design engineer, designing speaker layouts, wiring diagrams, etc.  The job was good, but it was a 90-minute commute each way, which grew tiresome.

Meanwhile, in early 2015 Kevin decided on a whim to learn coding, taking free online courses at Codecademy, Udacity, etc.  “I don’t know why I started it. It just sort of happened. Someone told me about it and showed me what they did and I just started doing it and never stopped.”  Spending nearly all of his spare time developing his coding skills, by the middle of 2016 Kevin felt ready to look for a job.  It took a while, but in December, 2016 he was hired by his current company as a Quality Assurance (“QA”) engineer.   In February, 2018 Kevin was promoted into his current role.

You can see Kevin’s LinkedIn profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “I don’t want to say I replaced music with programming, but it has that same kind of feeling to me. It’s easy to get lost–code for 3-4 hours and not really care about anything else.  Also, like guitar, you can always get better–there’s always something to learn.”

“I have a logical, problem-solving mind, and there’s always that problem to solve or way to make something better. That’s just kind of natural for me.”

“It wasn’t easy to move into full engineering from QA. I made friends with a lot of engineers and worked my butt off and kept taking online classes. At least I’d see them and know what I needed to know.”

“Berklee was a tough school in general, and with two majors I was always busy. It turned me into a really good worker and a really good learner. I used those entrepreneurial skills to better myself. and got really into just learning.”

“In your career path, don’t be afraid to say no. Pick things that you want to do and really excel and don’t just do a bunch of things that you won’t do well.  Also, don’t pick a career because you think it’s going to make you a lot of money. Pick something you’re good at and have an advantage and can enjoy doing.”

See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.