While many of us are familiar with glamorous Palm Springs and lively music festivals, our story begins where tumbleweeds blow and the hot sun scorches the desert floor; welcome to Desert Hot Springs, California. Terrance Lyttles spent most of his life living in Coachella Valley before he packed up his things to pursue his passion for software engineering. Inspired by the opportunity available in San Diego, Terrance headed west to start the next chapter of his life. He sharpened his skills by enrolling in a coding boot camp and completing an internship before being introduced to MK Decision (MK).
How do you like San Diego?
I love living in San Diego. It was nice to escape the heat and to live in a place where I can enjoy the beach. I had the means to move out of the desert, and I took advantage of the opportunity.
What do you like to do on the weekends?
The food scene in San Diego is diverse, which encourages me to try different restaurants. My favorites are pizza and Mexican food. In my free time, I hang out with friends, play video games, jog, watch movies, and go shopping. I like to go to the beach and hike at Torrey Pines.
How did you start your career in technology?
I started my education at the Art Institute, where I learned to draw humans. I honestly got pretty good at it, but it was expensive, and soon realized it was not for me. My passion was always video games, I wanted to create video games, and I thought if I could not do it through art I should try it digitally with technology. I soon learned that I loved programming. When you are faced with creating a function, it is like a puzzle that you need to put together. It motivates me to come up with a strategy and problem solve.
What is your role at MK Decision?
In March of 2020, I started as an intern in MK’s Time for Experience “TFE” program and was later hired on as a software developer. I primarily work on the user interface.
When did you realize this was what you wanted to do?
When I started programming, I loved designing and creating beautiful user interfaces. I ended up liking working on the user interface more than the back-end because I got to turn the data into something creative and visually appealing.
How would you describe your job to a child?
I talk to computers.
What are some of your responsibilities as a software engineer?
As an engineer, I am working to fix bugs where something in the code was implemented incorrectly, styling the user interface, creating functions, and displaying data.
What has it been like working at MK?
It has been amazing! I feel so lucky because I work with such a smart team. Guru Dharam shows he cares about his employees just as much as he cares about the product. It motivates me and makes me want to make MK great.
What changes have you seen within the company?
I have been at MK less than a year but I have seen positive change at MK. We restructured our team and changed how we are project managing in an organized and thoughtful way. With thorough sprint planning, I saw immense improvements within myself and my team.
Why did you want to join an innovative FinTech Startup?
I wanted to dive more into financial technology, it was different than what I was working with beforehand. MK worked with a lot of the technology I already knew and I was able to expand on my knowledge base. The TFE program helped with my understanding of Moqui which made me successful upon employment.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My cats love food and they will annoy me until I feed them. They will scratch on the floor and the walls to force me to get up.
How did you know MK was the right fit for you?
Being here feels right because MK never made me feel like they wanted more from me than what was expected. I was at my own pace to learn, develop my skills, and see the results of that. Their encouragement and patience made me feel like I fit right in.
Has anything surprised you while working here? Whether it be about yourself, MK Decision, the people you work with, or all 3.
I was surprised by how much we have improved in such a short amount of time. Our executives made responsible decisions regarding our team management, structure of tasks and standups, and acquiring new customers.
Do you have any advice for people who want to be a software engineer at MK Decision?
You have to take time to learn, progress, and understand what you are working on. At times it may seem difficult, but there will be a time when your previous difficulties are nothing in comparison to the new challenges you overcome each day.
What is your proudest moment at MK Decision?
My first accomplishment at MK would be the donation form and payment system I built as a TFE in Moqui. My most recent accomplishment I am proud of is a service I developed in Moqui. It converts a dollar amount on a check and changes the value from a dollar amount to words that will be featured in MK’s Indirect Loan Origination System (ILOS) agreements.
What attracted you to the financial tech industry?
It seemed like a great work environment and a team where they wanted to see you improve.
Describe MK in one word
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned here at MK?
MK has a “dive in and just go for it” mentality. If you don’t know it, start somewhere and learn.