Matt Herich, From Pizza Delivery Driver to COO of Business Optimizer

I’ve always been an avid learner and I believe the online learning tools that are available today have the power to change the lives of students all over the world.

Photo of Matthew Herich, the COO and Co-Founder of Business Optimizer

My story begins with a decision I made while attending UC Berkeley to completely drop my studies there and pursue a career in web development on my own.

Although I enjoyed the academic rigor at Berkeley initially, I soon became overwhelmed and unsatisfied with my classes. I couldn’t justify the cost I was paying for the sub-par learning experience I was getting so I looked to the one thing that I truly enjoyed in my classes and that was programming.

At the time I had a very rudimentary understanding of programming/web development but I was determined to get better. After some research, I enrolled in an online course for $40 and studied consistently for the next 8 months while working as a pizza delivery driver. Until one day my car chose not to start and I found myself without a job and without an idea of what to do next.

Naturally, I continued to follow my curiosity with the help of edX, Coursera and countless other online learning platforms. Little did I know, that unfortunate event would lead to my meeting Justin Lewis at a Starbucks and a business venture that’s flourished into what Business Optimizer is today.

Photo of Matt Herich at Starbucks

What I’ve been up to

Over the past 10 months I’ve learned about online marketing, SEO and web development by working with real clients and doing real work that will affect the world. In fact, the first website I built was for the pizza place I worked at!

Since I worked on actual website projects I was able to learn the tricks of the trade extremely quick. The $40 coding course gave me the basic building blocks of web development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) as well as the web framework Ruby on Rails but my experience developing websites for paying clients is where my skills were refined. My PHP skills have also come a long way after having worked on countless sites using the Wordpress CMS.

Photo of Matt Herich

In addition to my coding classes, I indulged in various massive open online courses (MOOCs) taught on the edX, Coursera and Udemy platforms including: economics, game theory, set theory, cryptography, solar energy, data science, machine learning and communication technologies.

I hope my story inspires others to explore the opportunities made possible by the ever-growing library of online learning content, most of which is free. I’ll list below some links to my favorite online courses I’ve taken: