Cheryll: Start with An End in Mind

Written by Audrey Ling
Posted on 29 June 2016 in Students' Stories

“Think of long term goals like what sort of business or product you would want to build. Research that to fuel yourself with motivation to complete the course and to give you some direction to work towards.” 

Cheryll-WongName: Cheryll Wong

Hometown: Johor Bahru

More about Cheryll:

  • Originally from Johor Bharu but is currently working in Kuala Lumpur
  • Juggling between social enterprises and startups
  • Was schooled in JB then later at the Arizona State University in the U.S., where she graduated with a Political Science degree (a proud Sun Devil! – university mascot)
  • Interned at a top international shipping firm in Singapore and had an extensive history of being in the gaming industry during her tertiary education in the states
  • Reviewed, blogged and steamed online and eventually entered the realm of gaming review and competitive gaming
  • Ran her own counterstrike server and was sponsored by Alienware and Madcatz for an all professional women’s gaming and cosplaying team

Now, I’m getting a heavy dose of startup culture. It’s exhilarating and very rewarding.

I intend to continue to learn different subjects like finance, but practice coding at the same time. I’ve been in the startup industry for the past year or so, and I get a rush from being in this sort of environment. I would love to continue building and innovating new products, perhaps build another startup after this one scales.

How did you hear about the Web Development Bootcamp?

I’ve attended and set up various events for MaGIC and decided to go onto their website to check out what other things were under their belt. I saw the Stanford program and the coding bootcamp. So, I applied for the latter. But before this, I was not exposed to coding; not one bit. I have a long and exhaustive list before I kick the bucket. Coding was one of them and I wanted to just “try” it out. When I was accepted into the program, I was baffled. I thought I had screwed up during the interview process and was kicking myself about it, then lo and behold, I received an email telling me I had been accepted and was rewarded a scholarship. It’s like winning the lottery.

What are your thoughts on the Web Development Bootcamp?

I had mixed feelings during the entire duration. I had occasional panic attacks and the feeling of wanting to cry during the duration of the course, but at the same time I thought it was an awesome skill to have – to be able to build whatever you want. It’s definitely a challenging course and not for the faint hearted, but the mentors there are extremely caring and encouraging. Not to mention our seniors! (Josh, Fung, You Jing, Rizal, Estelle) But yeah… Coding is a b*tch. Cruel and unforgiving, but once you tame it, it’s fulfilling.

Did you finish the bootcamp with any notable changes to yourself?

I’ve always been quite confident with myself, but now, even more so. I’ve made it through the course and even though I’m one of the weaker students, I thought the experience to be priceless. There are some things you’ll take longer to learn or may not necessarily have a strong inclination and passion for, but that’s okay, what matters is if you start something and it gets tough, keep at it and always ask for help! Yes, you will feel stupid sometimes (or all the time in my case), but set aside your pride and learn from others!

What were some of the most challenging parts of the bootcamp? And how did you overcome them?

I thought tackling the challenges day to day was extremely difficult especially since I didn’t have a strong foundation in it (NOTE: Drill yourself with the prep work!), but boy was I wrong! I think the final project was quite frustrating in a lot of ways for me, since you need synergy and not everyone can code as well as others so the pace was an issue. The main qualm was that there were extreme differences in views. We were supposed to be building a MVP (Minimum Viable Product), but some of us were so engrossed with the project that we started worrying about the minor details instead of concentrating on the bare necessities. The people in the web development bootcamp are the nicest bunch of people you could ever ask for! We were each other’s family. From cracking highly inappropriate jokes to trying to 1up each other in ping pong – the people is the main reason why I have no regrets joining this bootcamp and am proud to call them lifelong friends. I f*ckin’ love you guys!

Any advice on how future participants of the bootcamp can prepare before joining the bootcamp?

If you finish the prep work, do it again. I failed to finish my prep work and struggled the entire duration, but I was kept afloat by very caring mentors who were top notch at their expertise. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have completed the course. Think of long term goals like what sort of business or product you would want to build. Research that to fuel yourself with motivation to complete the course and to give you some direction to work towards.

What are some of the principles/life lessons you stand by and is there is story behind this?

I’ve learned that it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know. Your networks and social circles are extremely important. It’s important you surround yourself with people you want to reflect and be, but it’s equally important to give back to those who are less fortunate and able.

Do you have a role model? And why did you choose him/her?

Ask anyone and they will tell you that my dad is my hero. He’s a self made man (entrepreneur) and is not only multitalented but extremely giving. He’s a competitive marksman that hunts, deep sea scuba dives, cooks extremely well and does muay thai. He started from nothing and build himself up. He’s a bad ass and I chose him because I want to be a bad ass like him.

Any shoutouts?

Shoutout to our Josh, Rizal, You Jing, Fung, Estelle for being there to guide us through a challenging journey and never giving up on us. Also to the entire batch, you guys are like family to me and please, please, please never lose touch!



At NEXT Academy, our students come from all walks of life. This is the reason why we strive as a community – we learn from one another and are all united with the desire to do better and have a common goal of wanting to make an impact on society whilst growing ourselves especially in our career and in our personal lives. Cheryll graduated from our November 2014 intake.

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