After Working for Some of the Biggest Names in Tech, Steve Tucker Brought a Senior Perspective to His Boot Camp Experience
Steve Tucker’s career is something many techies would envy. He’s worked at Apple, ATARI, AT&T, Sony, and Deloitte. He was one of the first 10 employees at a dot-com tech startup that raised $300 million, went public with an IPO, grew to upwards of 2,000 employees, and generated over $300 million in annual revenue. His past projects have included the $30 million game The Matrix: Path of Neo (a spin-off from the film franchise) and DirecTV Now, which he helped launch. He’s spent the last 15 years running a tech consulting firm. In short, he’s had a big professional life — with stories, travels, and experiences to show for it.
Looking at his impressive resume, it’s hard to imagine Steve needing to add any new skills to his repertoire. But that’s exactly what he did.
“I had a career in software development and marketing, but I realized I needed to evolve and elevate my skills,” he said. Technology was evolving as well, and he decided it was time to master a modern tech stack.
Reading casual articles was all well and good, but Steve wanted to learn through hands-on experience. After reading a newspaper article about coding classes, he did a Google search and came across the Georgia Tech Coding Boot Camp. Since he lived two blocks away from Georgia Tech, it was the perfect opportunity.
Going into the boot camp, Steve brought a different perspective from his more junior classmates. “There were amazing coders in my boot camp, no question. But where I brought a lot of value was with the big-picture thinking. I always asked, not just how are we going to complete these assignments, but how are we going to master these concepts?”
That perspective sometimes put him at odds with his fellow classmates. “I was probably the guy who said ‘no’ the most. The more junior folks liked to bite off more than we could actually finish.”
In the end, Steve and his classmates used their differing perspectives to help each other succeed, and those relationships continued after the boot camp.
“After the program, I started a software development startup called theCodrs as a side hustle with some of the people in my course. In the past year, we’ve done almost six figures in revenue.”
Prepared to learn
His business experience and global network helped that startup lift off the ground, but Steve wasn’t content to just sit on his laurels.
“The boot camp gave me the renewed confidence to continue learning at a deeper level,” he said. After completing the program, Steve continued his Cybersecurity education, and is currently studying for various certifications while taking courses to become fluent in Portuguese and Japanese.
Finding the silver lining
When it came to his next career move, Steve found that his unique perspective posed both an advantage and a disadvantage.
“Going through coding interviews, I realized there is definitely some age bias. But there’s also a silver lining to that, because cybersecurity — especially on the strategy side — favors people with more experience. Employers want you to have tech skills, but even more importantly, they want you to have soft skills like big-picture thinking and problem-solving.”
In the meantime, Steve kept running his consulting firm. Then, one day, he got a call from Sony. They wanted to hire him for a role in their global cybersecurity department.
“Now I’m a senior cybersecurity strategist in their planning and strategy group. It’s a lot of fun. I dig it,” he said.
At Sony, Steve gets to work with a global group and participate in big-picture planning. Having worked with many startups, he appreciates the company’s sophistication and maturity. “They’re very much thought leaders in cybersecurity,” he said.
Patience pays off
According to Steve, the keys to his success were patience and action. “I started learning new tech stacks in 2018, and it was almost two and a half years later before something really grew out of that. So you have to have patience. I had a lot of really cool projects in between, and I kept taking action toward what I wanted. Eventually, that paid off.”
Steve acknowledges that he’s led a star-studded career. “I’m fortunate,” he said. “I pinch myself every day.”
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