Tell us about yourself…
Hello, I am Mei. I have a degree in psychology. I have an extremely common name so my SEO is terrible. My hobby is coding and thus I am very fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living.
What is your background before coding?
I had been living in Singapore for a decade prior to joining NEXT. I used to be a civil servant working for the ministry. However, I was miserable. I could not see myself staying in that job for the foreseeable future, so I sought a change.
What was your coding journey like?
Upon graduation, I saw that a lot of the job vacancies were in tech and I got intrigued. I looked into learning programming. I started with HarvardX's CS50, which is a course that I cannot recommend enough to anyone. I fell in love with programming and wanted to transition into the tech industry.
However, since the course is an introductory one, I was not job-ready yet. I tried to hone my skillset on my own, but I wasn't improving fast enough. I also wasn't disciplined enough. While Google and StackOverflow were helpful, I wasn't able to get an answer for my questions fast enough. I simply wasn't learning enough, so I started searching for courses that would help me jumpstart my career.
Many bootcamp providers were charging an arm and leg (think about USD 10k- 15k). Then, I stumbled upon NEXT Academy, and the rest as they said, is history.
What are your thoughts on how people can learn to code and should learn to code?
There is an abundance of free resources to learn coding out there, so go ahead and try to see if it's suitable for you. Learning to code on you own is doable. I've heard of many self-taught programmers who managed to get a tech job. That being said, it's definitely not for everyone. If you're someone who needs more structure, then attending a course may be suitable for you.
Any final words of advice?
Coding is not brain surgery. No one gets hurt if you make a mistake, so do not be afraid to try. It is okay to make mistakes. You may not get it right the first time; in fact, almost all of us don't. Do not be discouraged, as mistakes help you learn.
Message to mentees
Don't worry if you feel uncomfortable. Most of the learning occurs outside of your comfort zone. The best advice I received when I just started to learn programming was to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is okay to not know how to do something as long as you're constantly working towards your goal.