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Meet our Core Team: Chor Yi

Meet our Core Team: Chor Yi

In this series of blog posts, we will be showcasing some of our TechLadies Core Team volunteers for 2021.

Introduction of Yourself:

I’m Chor Yi, currently working as a Product Manager at Advocado, building digital products to help small & medium enterprises to understand, retain & engage their customers. 

Outside of work, I spend my time between volunteering for causes I am passionate about, finding good food and also sports & fitness. 

What is your role at Techladies and Why Did you Decide to Volunteer?

I am currently in my 2nd year of volunteering with TechLadies. Currently, I am working in the events team, helping to build out the events calendar for TechLadies and supporting any other events by the rest of the core team. 

Previously, I was part of the mentorship team to build and roll out the mentorship program for participants. 

I decided to join TechLadies after coming back from an overseas stint where I benefit from engaging with female peers and mentors. It was then where I wanted to be part of a community that supported women who would want to join or are starting out in the Tech industry. 

Day of Work in Life

I work as a Product Manager, working with engineers, designers as well as our users & clients to build digital products. Advocado is a cloud loyalty and customer relationship management software that helps small and medium enterprises to understand, engage & retain their customers. 

My work day varies from day to day depending on which stage of development we are in. However, I split my time between meeting our merchants who use our software to understand their needs and feedback from our software, my development team whom I work with daily to build out our suite of products, the customer success team who work closely with our merchants to ensure that they are able to fully utilize our solutions for their operations & business, potential partners or collaborators to understand how we can expand our offerings to our merchants and other stakeholders who impact the product roadmap. 

I will also spend time thinking about the trends within our industry and what are the changing needs of consumers & merchants in order to provide an updated and relevant digital offering. 

Ambitions

I am working towards becoming a freelance product manager eventually. I’m still building up my skills to make sure that I’d be relevant and applicable across different industries and products that are in different stages. 

One Tip for New Techladies / Interested in coming into Tech

Reach out! People are very happy to share their experience and advice so you might never know who would respond to you and help you out in your journey! 

Motivational Quote

Not so much a quote person. But I am a strong believer of just asking and having nothing to lose. I tend to put a lot of restrictions on myself but I’ve come to realize that sometimes it is about taking that first step of courage to ask for something you want and there’s essentially nothing to lose. 

Person you Admire Most

Not a particular person per se. But I admire all the women who juggle multiple roles as a mother, a wife, a sister, an employee, a boss and a colleague amongst many other roles. From a friend who recently became a mother, I could see the different demands that she has to manage, from both the environment around her and herself. I admire the fact that these women try to see themselves through all these challenges and that they are such strong individuals. 

How Can we Connect With you

You can reach out to me via my LinkedIn profile – https://www.linkedin.com/in/chor-yi-poon/, drop me a DM and I’d be happy to connect with you privately. 

Meet Our Core Team: Andrew Fam

Meet Our Core Team: Andrew Fam

In this series of blog posts, we will be showcasing some of our TechLadies Core Team volunteers for 2021.

Introduction of Yourself:

I’m Andrew and I am a self-taught software developer. Graduated with a degree in Chemistry and didn’t want to be stuck in the lab 24-7. Through a series of startups, I learnt how to create applications and also how to run businesses. I have varied interests and can pick things up quickly. One of my current hobbies is growing vegetables and other edibles at a half-way house.

What is your role at Techladies and Why Did you Decide to Volunteer?

I will be one of the Bootcamp Tech Co-leads for 2021 doing up the curriculum. I would like to see more people thrive in the industry. Worked with a few really good lady developers and hoping to see them better represented.

Day of Work in Life

I’m the CTO of Straits Interactive where I create privacy related tools that help companies stay compliant with the different regulations. I also freelance on the side working on interesting projects to keep abreast of latest tech trends and gain deeper understanding of how different industries and business models work. My job has taken me all the way to Africa where I did a company registration system for the Data Protection Commission of Ghana.

Ambitions

I’m working towards having enough money to start my own social-entrepreneurship fund that works with the poor in third-world countries to create simple programs that have meaningful impact.

One Tip for New Techladies / Interested in coming into Tech

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take on things that you may not know as that’s one of the best ways to accelerate your growth. There are so many readily available resources like tutorials and mentors out there which can help you with any of your issues. Over the years I’ve done different projects where I didn’t have the requisite skills but learnt so much through the process of doing them.

Motivational Quote

 “Do or do not there is no try”. The tech journey can be really tough but I’m now reaping the rewards of sticking it out and not giving up.

Person you Admire Most

No one in particular but I do admire people who make the most of their limited resources to create something beautiful. One really poignant example is The Landfill Harmonic Orchestra which used trash to make musical instruments and went on to perform worldwide.

How Can we Connect With you

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-fam-cipt-1029784b/

Email: andrew@intuitive-ux.me

Meet our Core Team: Alexandra Mercz

Meet our Core Team: Alexandra Mercz

In this series of blog posts, we will be showcasing some of our TechLadies Core Team volunteers for 2021.

Introduction of Yourself:

My name is Alexandra Mercz. Originally from Hungary, I have lived in six countries, and I can speak four languages. After spending my youth practicing classical ballet, I studied and started a career in international business. Since the start of my career, I have been passionate about technology. Today, I am especially interested in the transformational power of cloud technologies, and the importance of securing the platforms that impact every aspect of our lives. I am immensely proud that I have found my vocation as a leader in technology and cyber security. In my free time, I foster and mentor young female talent in technology and cyber security.

What is your role at Techladies and Why Did you Decide to Volunteer?

I am a Mentorship Programme Lead at Techladies. I joined to make a real difference in the lives of young women in tech. I am committed to building the future technology and cyber security talent pipeline, with adequate female representation. Mentorship plays a key role in this. 

Day of Work in Life

I hold a global role in Information and Cyber Security at an international financial institution. I work at the intersection of Technology and Business, helping both to reach a shared understanding and make the right choices. I am a real people person and I enjoy working with a large group of diverse stakeholders.

Ambitions

I will continue to be a role model for women in technology and security. I want to build a cohort of strong female leaders that support and challenge each other. I think that women in technology are still woefully underrepresented, and we need to stick together in order to break through the glass ceiling. 

One Tip for New Techladies / Interested in coming into Tech

The amazing thing about the technology industry is, how fast it changes. As old technologies fade out and new technologies appear, it is never too late to get started in tech. You can always enter the industry, and if you are passionate and work hard on developing your skills, you will succeed. Always keep yourself up-to-date and never stop learning—you snooze, you lose!

Motivational Quote

“Everyone can learn something from anyone” is my motto. Always go through life with an open mind, and you will be surprised how much you can gleam from even the most mundane interactions.

Person you Admire Most

My personal hero is Ada Lovelace. In a time when there were little opportunities for women beyond being mothers and wives, she recognised the immense potential of the computer and developed the first algorithm. If we all were more daring, and less afraid, just like Ada, I think the world would be a better place.

How Can we Connect With you

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandramercz/

Meet Xin Tian – Dropout, Customer Service Rep, TechLady

The TechLadies Bootcamp is a 10-week part-time accelerated learning program designed to help women with some basic programming background become professional programmers. Participants are guided by industry experts, creating products for non-profit organizations. 9 ladies were chosen for the first batch of the TechLadies Bootcamp. In this blog series, we will be sharing more about the background and learning journey of these ladies. Hopefully that’ll inspire you to start learning how to code too!

If you could tell a story about yourself in a few sentences, what would it be?

I was extremely lost and my self-confidence fell tremendously after being kicked out from NUS Master programme two years ago. Today, I am here standing up again to pursue my new-found dream.

What is your current day job? 

I am currently working as a customer service officer in MyRepublic. I’m not sure if it is still considered a ‘startup’ company, but my role revolves around handling all sorts of issues that the customers of MyRepublic face, such as billing, order processing, and technical related support. My technical skills are geared more so towards hardware-related technical support, such as router or Internet-related troubleshooting.

Before this, I was enrolled in a chemical engineering masters program, but that only lasted for a while. It was funny how it happened, now that I think about it. I made my naive decision to join the chemical engineering masters program out of my passion for chemistry, and I enrolled myself in the course thinking I would have the freedom to choose my modules. It turns out that I couldn’t. What’s more, most of the modules resolved around physics, not chemistry. Of course, I was disappointed. Because I didn’t fair well, I was kicked out from the programme. I then began my career in MyRepublic as a customer service officer. I enjoy working in an environment so vibrant, where everyone had to hustle, be agile, and take up different roles and responsibilities. It is a very exciting and engaging experience!

During this period of time, a close friend of mine introduced me to the concepts of programming by showing me what could be created with code. It intrigued me, and eventually sparked an interest in me for all things tech and startup. I began researching almost obsessively, and with each new startup, each new tech-related service or product that I read up about, my passion and appetite for tech grew.

To me, the thing that attracted me to code is not coding itself, but the magic that coding can achieve.

What made you interested in programming?

To me, the thing that attracted me to code is not coding itself, but the magic that coding can achieve. The magic of being able to turn any idea into a real product amazes me, be it for business purpose or for the sake of helping people, was what drew my attention to coding and learning how to code.

What was your first thought or reaction when you heard about TechLadies?

Excited, like really excited! I’ve been keeping an eye out for coding bootcamps for a while, but time and financial constraints kept me from enrolling in them.

A couple of months ago, I joined in one of the workshops held at HackerSpace SG. Since then, I kept up with the news and posts on their Facebook page. During one of those days where I did my mindless scrolling through of my social media channels, I chanced upon a post from HackerSpace SG’s Facebook page that mentioned TechLadies. I decided to check it out, out of curiosity, and pleasantly surprised myself when I found out that it was exactly what I’m looking for all this while – something I don’t have to pay an expensive tuition fee for and don’t have to quit my full-time job to do.

Why did you want to apply to TechLadies?

I had been learning to programme by myself through all the online courses for the past one year during my free time after work. I did an HTML and CSS course with Treehouse and Code Academy, and bought a course off Udemy as well, in my attempt to learn how to code on my own.

However, I couldn’t really progress much without real life experiences. I would easily forget all the theories that I have learnt after a while since I have no chance to apply them. Moreover, I spent most of my days in a job that has nothing to do with what I really want to do, which was to code and create.

What do you hope to gain out of joining the TechLadies Coding Programme?

I hope that I would gain enough knowledge and experience that will enable me to get a backend developer job, which hopefully I will spend most of my time learning and improving my coding skills through hands-on experience. I decided that I wanted to work on backend development as I was genuinely more interested in the creation of the ‘skeletal’ structure of a working program. So far in my journey with TechLadies, things are going pretty well. With practice, I’m confident that I will achieve my goal!

Describe the TechLadies project you’re working on now!

The project I’m working on right now focuses on revamping the Engineers.sg website, and currently we are working on the newsletter subscription module. I am in charge of the newsletter subscription form, which I mainly work on rendering the view, error message and link them to the controller.

How do you see yourself using your coding skills in the future?

One day in the future I would like to use my coding skills to build my own tech startup/social enterprise. I am also actively picking up some entrepreneurship skills, too. This passion ignited after participating in the UNited We Hack hackathon organised by UN Women. I joined that hackathon with two of my friends who were backend and frontend developers themselves.

I represented my group as a pitcher as I didn’t have prior programming experiences then. Our hackathon topic revolved around empowering women, and so my group went ahead in developing a mobile app named “Her Voice”, that uses voice recording to share women’s stories virtually. We open sourced our work and you can find the codes on Github.

The hackathon ended on a bright note for us, because we won first place! This experience triggered something in me. After the experience with the masters degree course, I was slowly and surely building up my confidence and hope for my future. Her Voice’s vision and mission left me with high hopes of building a community where one woman’s story inspires another, leaving women in the community with high hopes and courage to dream.

After TechLadies, I will be working towards building a sustainable social enterprise. How I will do this, I’m not so sure now. But I believe that every little step I make now will count!

Meet Sharon – Entrepreneur, Student, TechLady

The TechLadies Bootcamp is a 10-week part-time accelerated learning program designed to help women with some basic programming background become professional programmers. Participants are guided by industry experts, creating products for non-profit organizations. 9 ladies were chosen for the first batch of the TechLadies Bootcamp. In this blog series, we will be sharing more about the background and learning journey of these ladies. Hopefully that'll inspire you to start learning how to code too!

If you could tell a story about yourself in one sentence, what would it be?
A 22-year-old believing in the possibilities and beauty of life.

What are you currently working as? 
I’m a final year student at SMU (Bachelor of Business Management) graduating this May. I’m also working on my own startup called Protégé that provides mentoring software for organization to better manage learning & development. Protégé helps organisations better develop the potential of their people and connect with their employees (especially the Gen Y millennials) through internal mentoring. It is a B2B mentoring software that matches mentors with mentees, track the relationship & mentoring sessions, as well as collect real-time feedback on learning value. This comes as a native mobile app for mentors and mentees and web portal for the mentoring programme administrators.

​As a student and an entrepreneur, I tried to stack more modules in the earlier years of university so I’d have increasingly more time for my start-up as I approach graduation. On the day-to-day basis, I focus most of my time on my start-up but just make sure my time is planned out so that I complete school deadlines in time.

(Psst, a note from the TechLadies team: Sharon didn’t want to brag, but we wanted to. For her work at Protégé, Sharon was awarded the Youth Entrepreneur Award 2015 by Small Medium Business Association (SMBA).)

What made you interested in coding?
I first encountered coding when we had to develop the MVP for our startup. That’s when I started exploring different courses and online tutorials, such as Codecademy. My first coding lessons were on Codecademy! Coming from a business background, going into the tech start-up space was a really steep learning curve. However, it was always fascinating and intriguing to see the infinite possibilities that coding could create. Having the ability to build what I could only previously imagine is a skill so powerful and life-changing!

What was your thought or reaction when you first heard of TechLadies?
“OMG This is so cool!”
*checks to see how much it is*
“OMG IT’S FREE! :O”
*immediately signs up*

Why did you want to apply to the TechLadies Coding Programme?
I’ve been wanting to attend an in-person coding course for the longest time ever. But all the courses I’ve come across so far have been way beyond my budget as a student. Hence, the substitute is online courses that I’ve done on Codecademy, Udemy and individual websites. However, I’ve always felt that I’d reach a certain point where I hit a wall and can’t continue forward without consulting a fellow coder who is more experienced. The learning always stagnates there. TechLadies is honestly a dream-come-true programme that offers the wonderful value proposition of the following core benefits:

  • In-person lessons with a high teacher-to-student ratio (2 coaches to 3 students on my project)
  • Actual practice by building something for a real-world “client”
  • A community of both coaches and fellow students you can learn from and together with — the help they extend throughout the week on Slack is mind-glowingly amazing. It’s like they are always “online” and will answer any questions you have almost immediately.
  • It’s FREE – what more can I ask for 🙂

What do you hope to gain out of the TechLadies Coding Programme?
​To be able to be sufficiently proficient in Ruby and Ruby on Rails to code something from scratch. I’d love to try building something just for fun to practice developing in Rub, maybe something useful that I can use — like a to-do list, or journalling tool of some sort? Otherwise, I’ll also love to contribute to coding the administrator portal of my startup as it is web-based (rather than the native mobile app).

Describe the TechLadies project you’re working on!
Our team is building new features and functions for the Engineers.sg website. Currently, I’m working on building a Mailchimp integration with the existing website to for the purposes of a providing a newsletter subscription service where readers can leave their name and email addresses to receive updates.

What do you see yourself using your coding skills for in the future?
Definitely in my start-up or any other projects I’ll be working on in the future!