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Next up on our latest tech feature series, we managed to catch up with our recent bootcamp graduate of 2020, Lynette Lim, who shares her tech learning journey with us. Let’s get started shall we?
Tell us more about yourself: Well, creating your own blogs from scratch were really popular during my teenage years and I used to dabble a lot with HTML/CSS by customizing the template to my preference. Since then, my interest in web design and coding grew and I realized I could transition these interests into a long-term career as a Front-End Developer. However, I was a little hesitant as I thought that it was impossible for me to pursue this career without a solid background in Engineering/Computer Science till I discovered the existence of coding bootcamps.
What made you decide to take up the Software Development course? Well, creating your own blogs from scratch were really popular during my teenage years and I used to dabble a lot with HTML/CSS by customizing the template to my preference. Since then, my interest in web design and coding grew and I realized I could transition these interests into a long-term career as a Front-End Developer. However, I was a little hesitant as I thought that it was impossible for me to pursue this career without a solid background in Engineering/Computer Science till I discovered the existence of coding bootcamps.
What about coding appealed to you? Through this course, I learnt that the concept of coding itself is so versatile and that’s what really attracted me to it. The fact that you can create anything by just inputting codes and build webpages/applications from scratch, allows me to use my creativity to create what I like and not be subjected to a template.
A huge shoutout to the Trent Global Team in playing a significant role in my short yet memorable learning journey. For putting in the effort to prepare us for the working industry by hosting reverse career fairs, exposing us to potential hirers, company visits and making sure that we’re well-equipped for our technical interviews.
What challenges did you have to overcome during the course? Learning a new skill as complex as coding wasn’t a walk in the park for me. As a relatively slow learner in a fast-paced learning environment, I found it hard to catchup to my course mates sometimes. It was challenging trying to understand various programming languages and concepts and working on our projects simultaneously, especially when we have tight project deadlines to catch up.
How did you overcome them? Practice, practice, and more practice. I found myself dedicating more time after classes to apply the concepts I missed, even though it can be really exhausting coding for more than 8 hours a day.
How has the course prepared/helped you in your career? The course has encouraged me to learn independently by developing self-reliance on my learning capabilities. Resources are provided as well by having keynotes to ensure we are all on track and a teaching assistant to debug our software problems. This has also helped me to identify my strengths and weakness and gave me a clearer picture as to what career path would suit me the most. Personally, I like the idea of creating something and with design being one of my key strengths, it naturally explains why I pursued a career as a front-end developer. It’s a constant learning journey for me as I pick up new skills in my daily life.
How do you feel about the gender stereotype of being a female developer in a male dominated industry? Well, personally I have yet to encounter an individual who came up to me saying that. But I think that your gender shouldn’t hold you back and affect how you perform as a developer. However, I do agree that this is a male-dominated scene, though the industry itself is certainly opening up to hiring female developers as they bring a different angle to the table and highlight issues which are often overlooked.
On this note, do you have any female role models that you personally look up to? Definitely! One of the female role models I really look up to would be Rachel Lim, Co-Founder of Love Bonito. I really admire how she started with a simple idea of wanting to sell pre-loved clothing to earn some extra pocket money to building such a well-known brand both internationally and locally. Her journey as an entrepreneur has inspired me to take that bold step of faith in pursuing my dreams and to even start from scratch if I have to.
What advice would you give to those who are considering pursuing their higher education? As clichè and generic as it sounds, my advice to those who are considering a career change is, ‘To take that leap of faith. You’ll never know if the job is suited for you until you try dipping your toes into the waters.’ On this note, I would like to share a quote that I really like:
“Reserve judgment and expectation until after you dip your toes in the waters you’re exploring, so you can cast the net widely, dispel your preconceived notions, and understand which realities ultimately resonate with you.”
In short, take the leap, get your hands dirty and who knows, you might end up growing in that process and discover new things about yourself.
Lastly, what are your new goals for the future? I’ve really enjoyed my experience as a front-end developer so far, but I would like to work for an e-commerce company in the future and gain more exposure in the area of UI/UX design.
There is a familiar saying that goes “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, an implication that everyone eventually reaches a certain point where they cannot pick up new skills or develop themselves further.
To us, that could not be further from the truth, and our students are excellent cases against it. Take it from one of our students, Jimmy Hsu, who graduated earlier this year from ourSoftware Development bootcamp. Previously working in broadcast media production, Jimmy made a switch after completing the course to focus more on API development and management within his department. But his journey in picking up coding was not all smooth sailing, as we find out from our conversation with Jimmy.
“At the start it was pretty challenging, in my previous work I never really had any exposure to writing code or anything like that. I built a computer here and there at the most, but it’s not really related.” he commented.
“It’s also difficult when you’re not as fast and sharp as you used to be, I often found myself a little slower to grasp and pick up topics compared to some of my classmates.”
At 46, Jimmy’s bold venture into software development is uncommon but not unheard of, as we frequently receive various enquiries from people above 40 about our coding courses. “I wanted to learn a new skill and seeing how technology will very much be a part of the professional landscape, it was something I wanted to understand and appreciate more.”
It was at this point that Jimmy found our bootcamp in August of 2019. “Trent offers a part-time course that is suitable for my busy schedule, a plus point was having the TIPP Subsidy as well to offset most of the course.”
But his aspiration for learning a new skill wasn’t the only thing that pushed him forward in taking the course, Jimmy had a study companion and motivator through his time in the course. It was his wife Linda, who also graduated from the Software Development bootcamp in the same batch as Jimmy.
“It was interesting being in the classroom together. I tended to be the class clown and make jokes every so often, but Linda was the more serious and diligent student, like when we used to work together as well.” Outside of the classroom, Jimmy and Linda also had to accommodate to scheduling dinner and housework, balancing a work life balance whilst taking care of their elderly parents to top it off.
“Linda was my rock and my anchor. She was there to encourage and help me out when I got stuck in my assignments. If I had done this on my own, I think I would have thrown in the towel early on. My classmates were really helpful and encouraging as well, I think the dynamics we had amongst one another was important in my learning as well.”
Now having successfully graduated from the bootcamp, Jimmy is currently working in Singtel as an Associate Engineer. Through the bootcamp, his understanding of application development has enhanced his communication and workflow with his other developers. “It taught me a new way to structure my thoughts and think outside of the box, for there are always going to be 101 ways to solve a problem.”
As we wrapped up our conversation, Jimmy had a few words of advice for those who might be in a similar place, be it making a career switch or picking up a new skill.
“Start now. It does not get easier the longer you wait, in a year you could have gained a whole new skillset that could help you in your career path as well. There are many different paths you can take once you learn how to code, not just in web development. It is a very useful skill and I am looking to take networking and cybersecurity courses next.”
We are glad to see how far Jimmy has come and how he overcame the adversities he faced, we wish him and Linda all the best as they embark on their new journeys in the tech industry.