Software Engineering Cohort 1
Graduates from Kenzie Academy!

By Matt Cummings, Indy Campus Director
January 14, 2018

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Software Engineering Cohort 1 Graduates - January 2019

On January 11th, 2019, the Software Engineering students of Cohort 1 graduated after a full year of hard work and extreme dedication. A year ago, many of these students had little to no coding knowledge whatsoever. Today, they can all officially call themselves Full-Stack Software Engineers. In fact, over half of the graduating class already have job offers — with three students starting their Software Engineering career at DMI on Monday.

Graduation Day this past weekend was particularly significant as it was the first cohort to ever join the Kenzie family. Through the dust, the construction and general “new-ness” of the school, these students took a chance on Kenzie and reaped the benefits tenfold. We couldn’t be prouder of every single one of our students today.

Matt Cummings, Indy Campus Director, Addressing the Graduating Cohort

Matt Cummings, Indy Campus Director, Addressing the Graduating Cohort

Right at 2PM on Friday, Cohort 1, along with friends, family and staff, excitedly took their seats and I took to the stage to kick things off.

After providing my opening remarks, I shared a video of all the Software Engineering instructors offering up their advice and well wishes.

The first speaker was the Head of Software Engineering, David Michael Gregg (or DMG as we’ve all affectionately called him).

“If I can give any advice, at this point, that you haven’t heard me say over and over again — especially for your first couple of jobs — don’t worry too much about what technology you’re working in. Just take what experience you can.” DMG says. “If you’re going to have something be the limiting factor, don’t let it be the technology, don’t let it be the pay — let it be for working for a good team or working for a good person.”


Video showing Head of Curriculum for Software Engineering, David Michael Gregg (DMG) sharing his words of wisdom with Cohort 1

Video showing Head of Curriculum for Software Engineering, David Michael Gregg (DMG) sharing his words of wisdom with Cohort 1


Co-Founder and CEO of Kenzie Academy, Chok Ooi, addressing Cohort 1

Co-Founder and CEO of Kenzie Academy, Chok Ooi, addressing Cohort 1

Next, Kenzie Co-Founder and CEO, Chok Ooi took to the stage to impart his words of wisdom and congratulate the students on their accomplishments. One thing, in particular, that he noted was that each student’s level of confidence had grown significantly from the day they started to the day of graduation.

Following Chok’s speech, John Harden, Principal Software Engineer at Kerauno took to the stage. In his promise to “Pay it forward,” John has definitely left his footprint here at Kenzie; speaking with Kenzie students, practicing mock interviews and providing valuable feedback to us for current and future cohorts.

“I stopped doing New Year’s resolutions about 2-3 years ago — Because I don’t need an excuse to do better.” Harden said. “A lifestyle of doing better is a lifestyle you should always pursue.”

John Harden, Principal Software Engineer at Kerauno, sharing his words of wisdom.

John Harden, Principal Software Engineer at Kerauno, sharing his words of wisdom.

“Part of the Agile Manifesto is really focusing on doing less work. It’s not about doing more work. The way that’s interpreted for me is “do less work means ‘cut out what’s not necessary. Cut out what you don’t need. Cut out what’s not getting you to that next path. Find things that are distracting you from getting from Point A to Point B and cut em out.”

When John hopped off the stage, Cohort 1 student Nick Howell got on stage to talk about his experiences at Kenzie and how he discovered the program.

Cohort 1 Software Engineering Graduate, Nick Howell, shares his experiences at Kenzie

Cohort 1 Software Engineering Graduate, Nick Howell, shares his experiences at Kenzie


“I finally got a career, which was then downsized — and that’s when I heard about Kenzie. I was going through a program that was trying to bring STEM jobs back to Indiana through finding people that were underemployed and getting them in contact with different skills.”

What’s particularly amazing about Nick’s story is that, after being underemployed for so long, Nick was offered full-time employment with DMI because of his extensive training here at Kenzie Academy.

After Nick’s speech, it was time to officially graduate our students. With the help of Butler’s Executive Director of Executive Education, William Gulley, students received a certificate from Kenzie Academy, as well as an official certificate from Butler University.



Butler’s Executive Director of Executive Education, William Gulley presenting a dual Kenzie/Butler certificate to Cohort 1 Graduate, Jake Berg.

Butler’s Executive Director of Executive Education, William Gulley presenting a dual Kenzie/Butler certificate to Cohort 1 Graduate, Jake Berg.

Last, but not least, Kenzie Student Evangelist, Erika Kotterer had a few parting words for Cohort 1 — expressing how proud she was of the class and giving words of encouragement.


And it was after Erika’s kind words that Kenzie Academy’s first Cohort was officially DONE.

A HUGE congratulations to Cohort 1 for all of their hard work over the last year. We can’t wait to see all the amazing things you accomplish. As always, if there’s ever anything you need, always feel free to reach out. Once a part of the Kenzie family, ALWAYS a part of the Kenzie family.



Are you feeling inspired by Cohort 1’s graduation? Y’know, you can be part of the Kenzie family too. If you’re interested in a career in tech, go ahead and APPLY HERE!


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Matt Cummings

Matt Cummings helps people find success at Kenzie through mentoring, life-coaching, and giving structure to help people find their dreams. He graduated from Eastern University with a Masters in Urban Studies, has been married for 13+ years, has two kids, and two rescue dogs. You can follow Matt on Twitter: @mattwcummings