Writing the Code to Success

From not knowing how he would get to class every day to gifting his little sister a Jeep, former West-MEC student Jose Gonzalez has found success in coding. 

Despite having minimal experience writing code before he joined West-MEC, he has been a Full Stack Developer at Encore Capitol Group for the past five years. He is also on track to graduate from Arizona State University next Spring with a degree in Computer Science. He will pursue his Master’s Degree after that.

“West-MEC prepared me by giving me the experience and the knowledge of how to utilize my skills, by the professors pushing us outside the box and wanting us to explore how we could take projects to the next level,” said Gonzalez.

If not for a flier he was given in his sophomore year at Verrado High School, it is possible Gonzalez would never have come to West-MEC. His counselor gave him one, and the coding program immediately caught his eye. Gonzalez figured he always loved technology growing up, so there was no harm in trying it out.

Gonzalez didn’t know what to expect, but he loves to learn, so he was excited about the opportunity. Little did he know the experience would change his life forever.

“The people I met at West-MEC helped guide me into becoming the man that I am today. They were always looking to help me move forward,” said Gonzalez. 

Gonzalez was a member of the first graduating class of the coding program at West-MEC. Because he is in a great position in his coding career, he wants to give back and help the next generation of West-MEC coders. To do so, Gonzalez is a part of the West-MEC coding advisory council, where he can give his point of view on what students should be learning to help guide them to a career in the technical field. 

He is the first member of his family to attend West-MEC and is also a first-generation college student. But, starting with Gonzalez, West-MEC now runs in the family.

His cousin is about to enter her second year at West-MEC, also doing the coding program. His sister, a sophomore in high school, is going to attend West-MEC next year but is unsure what program she wants to do. 

With Gonzalez’s help, it should go a lot easier for his sister. He gave her his Jeep and bought himself a new car to help her avoid the issues getting to class he faced during his time at West-MEC.

“It was difficult for my family when I was going to West-MEC to have enough vehicles for myself to attend class because both of my parents were working. I would always be looking for rides,” said Gonzalez. “It came down to either someone paying the bills or me going to class, so it was hard to get to class sometimes. I’m very happy and proud to say that I can help my family now. That’s why I gave her my vehicle so she can be comfortable going to school.”

Gonzalez now lives in Mesa and works remotely at Encore Capitol Group, writing code so that the call center runs smoothly and efficiently. By working remotely, he has found it possible to go to school and work full-time. 

It takes a tremendous work ethic to go to school and work at the same time and Gonzalez has excelled in both. He was also awarded a $5,000 scholarship earlier this year from the Hispanic Scholar Fund at ASU. There were thousands of applicants.

“I love to learn. I want to see where else I can go within this field, so that is why I am pursuing my Master’s,” said Gonzalez. “I want to make a positive difference in the world, and that’s the whole reason why I am doing the things that I do.”