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Meet Clara – Fashion Businesswoman, Curious Introvert, TechLady

The TechLadies Bootcamp is a 12-week part-time accelerated learning program designed to help women with some basic programming background become programmers. Participants are guided by industry experts, creating products for non-profit organizations. 6 ladies were chosen for the TechLadies Bootcamp #3. In this blog series, we will be sharing more about their backgrounds and learning journeys. Hopefully that'll inspire you to start learning how to code!

Clara Chow

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

A very socially awkward but curious introvert, that asks ‘why?’ too much. It is hard to convince me not to do something once I’ve set my mind on it.

Oh also, I like puns and I struggle with mornings.

What are you currently working as?

I have been running my online boutique selling self-designed apparel for about 5 years now. It is extremely challenging to manage all facets of the business and be 100% self-disciplined/motivated, but has been a fantastic learning experience. I don’t think any office job would have given me the experience and knowledge I gained whilst struggling without guidance through these years.

What sparked your interest in learning how to code?

I guess some part of me always loved web development. When I was a teenager, I built websites on Geocities for my adopted virtual pets to ‘live’ in. I promise this is cooler than it sounds. What got me hooked on web development was the immediate gratification programming provided — I could insert a code snippet and have the result rendered on the page instantly. To this day, I’m still awed by the magical process of transforming semi-gibberish into functional and useful websites that anyone can see on the WWW.

I wasn’t exactly a model student in school, and performed dismally for my A Levels. This severely limited my options in university and I ended up studying Project & Facilities Management – something I had neither passion nor interest in. After graduation, I worked at a desk job for an unfulfilling year before deciding to take the leap and start my own business.

Again, fashion wasn’t an industry I had particularly keen interest in. After 4+ years, my motivation to persist started waning quickly. I couldn’t see myself staying in this industry for the rest of my life. I thought: “Since I’ve always been keen in technology, why not rekindle that childhood flame? It’s time to move into the tech industry as a programmer.”

What got me hooked on web development was the immediate gratification programming provided — I could insert a code snippet and have the result rendered on the page instantly. To this day, I’m still awed by the magical process of transforming semi-gibberish into functional and useful websites that anyone can see on the WWW.

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

“YAASSSS”. I have been trying to pick up rails on my own for over a year now by attending workshops and meetups, but it wasn’t easy without any sort of structured syllabus and guidance. It was hard for me to acquire new knowledge systematically and build on it.

There was also this sense of a lack of purpose — I didn’t know what I wanted to (or could) build. Even if I did, the app would serve no significant purpose. I have toyed with the idea of approaching an NGO on my own to help them with their website, but would always chicken out because I lacked confidence in my own abilities. I didn’t want to take on a project that I couldn’t deliver on. The whole TechLadies initiative and TechLadies Bootcamp was like a sign — there was no excuse for me to not apply.

Why did you want to apply to the TechLadies Bootcamp?

I saw the Bootcamp as a way for me to do ‘disciplined learning’. There was:

  • A clear objective — building a functional app by the end of the bootcamp
  • Structure — weekly meetings with my team and a healthy number of hours I had to put in on my own prior to these meetings
  • A willing, experienced mentor <3
  • The teamwork element — working in a team is obviously more complicated than working solo, involving a whole different set of processes. There is also that sense of mutual support, learning and teaching.
  • A fantastic cause — helping an NGO become more efficient by lightening their administrative load

If you are someone looking to learn how to code, you’ll have to be seriously nuts if you do not at least apply and try to get into the program.

You had to create an app before you could apply to the bootcamp. Tell us more about the app you made!

My app is called The Foodlogger and it’s a meal tracking app. The idea for this app surfaced from a recent visit to the doctor. I have been living with Chronic Urticaria (commonly called Hives) for over a decade now, and recently went for a checkup to see if things have improved. The condition is basically an allergic reaction in the body and the trigger is unknown. Don’t worry! This is not contagious. Feel free to share hugs and high-fives with me!

The doctors did tell me that food is a very likely suspect in causing these daily allergic reactions. They gave me a list of common allergy triggers and suggested that I start a daily food log to find out which food group(s) were possibly contributing to my condition, and so the app was created!

Describe the TechLadies project you’re working on and why you selected this project. 

I am thrilled to be on the Touch Young Arrows (TYA) team! Like many other NGOs, they are currently using Excel spreadsheets to store, sort and analyse data. This process can be tedious, causing conflicts when there are multiple sources of info (which occurs frequently) and is prone to errors.

I picked this project as I was really drawn to the product’s complexity — I love a challenge! I watched the pre-bootcamp video of Grzegorz (the coach for this project) teaching basic Ruby concepts and really liked his teaching style. He could explain complicated concepts in a structured, broken down manner that I could understand for once! It made this project resonate with me even more.

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

I’m not sure if I have an unrealistic expectation of the future at this point in time, but I’ll like to be able to build complex, decent looking apps and to deploy on my own.

I also want to secure a job as a developer. Coding been really fulfilling for me and I haven’t felt so at ease with myself in a long time. Well… of course the process is frustrating at times when I just can’t get things to work, but in general, I’m really happy now. It is the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning, and I wake up feeling excited to attack the code! In a completely non-violent way, of course. I’d like to be a programmer at a company that could help me further develop my skills.

I would also love to build apps for more NGOs! They get an app, and I build up experience and competency. Everyone wins! If at some point in the future, I would love to spread the joy of coding by sharing my knowledge with other ladies who want to start coding.

Meet Cornet – Intern, Go-Getter, 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?

If I were to sum it up in one sentence, it will be this: My life revolves around the love for matcha (green tea). You will never spot me without a matcha snack or drink at any point in time!

What are you currently working as?

My current day job? I’m currently interning at Tinkerbox, a design and software development company! I’m working on an app that helps with automating most of their company’s processes. My responsibilities are to assist the leading developers in developing small parts of the application and fix bugs during test runs. It’s been quite a challenge so far. Minor bugs tend to be found on a daily basis and I have to fix as many bugs as possible before they pile up. It can be an arduous task sometimes but I am enjoying it so far. No complaints!

What sparked your interest in programming?

To really understand my passion for programming, I’ll have to start my story from way back before college. I excelled in Science in high school so my family advised me to take up Chemistry Engineering in college because it has great employment opportunities in Malaysia where I’m from. I followed their advice and studied Chemistry Engineering at The Ohio State University in the United States of America.

I was good at what I was doing back in college but I’ve always thought that there’s something more out there – something I would feel passionate about doing my entire life. And I decided to take a break from school to search for that. I was recounting my story to my friend back in Malaysia when he suggested that I pursue programming. It didn’t make sense at first, but then it all clicked.

I remembered how much fun I had when I was taking some introductory programming classes at the university. You may have heard how satisfying the feeling is of being able to create something – anything – you imagine through programming, and that was the exact emotion that I felt back then. It was as if doors of opportunities suddenly presented themselves in front of me, each one leading me to some path towards creating the next big thing!

My friend also recommended me sites like Codecademy to learn to code from but it was not enough. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to intern at Tinkerbox when I met the founders through my friends, and now I’m here in Singapore finally learning how to code!

My experiences with programming, even though it is still in its infancy stage, has made me determined to pursue this as a career path. I’m taking a break from college and fully devote my time to becoming a junior developer.

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

I was elated, surprised, and thrilled! I said to myself, “Oh my gosh, how can such an excellent program exist without having to pay!”

This is the perfect program for me, and this is exactly what I needed and what I was looking for! Since I’ve decided to take a break from school, I knew that an internship alone is not enough to give me all the learning experience I need to reach my goal of becoming a developer.

I was also enthusiastic about being able to meet more women who share this same passion for technology, to be able to connect with and learn alongside them. As much as this was a fantastic opportunity for the women and myself for me to learn and better my programming skills, it was also something meaningful as I will be able to contribute and serve the community. I haven’t seen a single program that offered such a comprehensive syllabus with a greater purpose in mind.

With this knowledge, I know I can create a tool to make a difference, be it to a community or to change people’s lives and perhaps, livelihood. I would like to use this skill to help people in need.

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

Ultimately, I hope to gain enough out of the program to build something that will allow me to contribute to the community. With this knowledge, I know I can create a tool to make a difference, be it to a community or to change people’s lives and perhaps, livelihood. I would like to use this skill to help people in need.

Looking forward, I sincerely hope to start my career path as a junior web developer, and press on to progress on the career ladder, eventually becoming a skilled web developer who will create the next most empowering, life-changing tech product – like Facebook!

Describe the TechLadies project you’re working on now!

The project we are working on in TechLadies is for the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME).

HOME is a non-profit organization that aims to give foreign workers the chance to be heard when they encounter an unfair situation or circumstance, such as unpaid salaries, excessive working hours, work injuries, physical, sexual, verbal and psychological abuse. HOME believes in the principles of equality, non-discrimination, and dignity for migrant workers.

Along with two other talented women in my team, and my programme coach Jaryl, we are helping HOME to create a system that helps their organization and clients to communicate more efficiently. We are currently building the active record model, which is part of the ruby on rails application that is responsible for representing business data and logic. In this project, we focus on a couple of main models such as the users, organization, cases and issues. We work with them to link up and make sense of data.

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

I have big dreams and goals, and I’ll reach them one at a time with the coding skills I’ve learned through my time in the programme!

First and foremost, I’d like to build an e-commerce platform for my sister’s online business. My sister runs a third-generation laksa shop, called Ah Gong Laksa in Johor Bahru, with the aim of modernising a traditional business by selling packaged laksa paste online. I would like to help her create a product to do that. Eventually, I want to work as a junior web developer at a tech company!

Meet Erika – Consultant, Polymath, 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?

My short story about myself would have to be that I am admittedly a nerd, with an insatiable appetite for learning new things.

What are you currently working on?

I work as an independent strategy consultant in the mining and resources industry. I previously worked at Rio Tinto for five years, managing sales agreements and working on strategy projects for the iron ore marketing division.

After that, I joined The Boston Consulting Group and worked there for 2.5 years. I went into consulting because I was interested in developing strong commercial skills set that would be transferable across several industries, this stems from my strong belief that a skill learnt, one that is meant for a specific field, doesn’t mean it can only be used in that particular field.

After leaving the firm, I found that combining my specialised industry knowledge within the consulting toolkit would be the best way for me to add value to my work as a consultant. I mainly work with clients in the mining industry as I am deeply familiar with the industry and its history. After having worked in mining for several years, I find my clients directly through my own network. I work with my clients to develop and implement strategic initiatives to best position themselves over a 5-10 year timeframe.

At times I also delve into a few other industries because I believe that learning about developments in other industries provides me with a fresher, broader perspective, expanding my view on the strategies, capabilities, and ability to execute work with far greater insight for current projects, and the projects looking forward. There are a number of companies that help to connect ex-management consultants to freelance projects so they have made it possible for me to engage in tech-related projects.

What made you interested in coding?

What first attracted me to coding was the love I have for solving logical problems. I found that learning a coding language required me to tap into this part of my brain, and hence, learning how to code drew my attention. I felt that it would give me greater analytical skills and enhance my problem-solving skills.

I am really excited by how technology is rapidly changing the world we live in. It’s amazing to think about how intertwined our daily lives us with technology. We now rely on applications and smartphones to shop, connect, research, eat, exercise – the list goes on. However, a lot of us don’t understand anything about what goes on “behind the scenes”. I wanted a glimpse into this world, to feed my curiosity, and to benefit from it in every way possible.

Also, I often work with website developers, and sometimes found it hard to understand the jargon – it feels like a whole new language. This experience with learning how to code has really made me better appreciate what goes into developing a website, and the costs and time required to complete tasks.

There are a lot of industries women don’t consider simply because they are not traditionally considered “feminine” and it is a great shame because this thinking can close a lot of potentially promising and enjoyable paths.

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

I think it is an excellent initiative to encourage people like myself to take the leap forward with courage. I hold a lot of respect for everyone who has given their time and energy to make this happen. Looking forward, I hope that TechLadies would be engaging in dialogues and collaborate with other initiatives to encourage women to explore non-traditional paths.

I work in mining & resources and management consulting – two areas I have thoroughly enjoyed. However, like coding, both areas are very male dominated. I ended up working in mining because I was in the right place at the right time. I was returning to Perth in 2006 at the beginning of the largest mining boom in history and my background in law and Chinese placed me in a strong position to manage the sales agreements for Rio Tinto. If it hadn’t been for this fortunate set of events I wouldn’t have considered entering the industry. There are a lot of industries girls don’t consider simply because they are not traditionally considered “feminine” and it is a great shame because this thinking can close a lot of potentially promising and enjoyable paths. After my time at Rio Tinto I spent a bit of time working in retail, thinking that as a female I would enjoy it more. What I found was that the retail space was very reactive and fast paced and that my personality was unexpectedly more suited to mining. At the end, perceptions of which industries were more feminine and masculine had absolutely nothing to do with what suited me better – and I’m sure that women who give programming a chance would be able to resonate with this.

Every industry offers boundless of knowledge and experience for both men and women to gain and benefit from. I just know that when all industries leave themselves more open being inclusive and diverse, the perspectives, discussions and solutions made would benefit everyone.

Why did you want to apply to the TechLadies Coding Programme?

I love learning new things. I think we should never stop learning. The tech scene is such a vibrant and exciting one and everyone is so welcoming and friendly so it was also a great chance to meet new and inspiring people who are doing great things.

I also strongly believe that learning how to program would not only open more doors of opportunity for me, but it would also improve my abilities in both my career and life. This fed my drive to applying for the TechLadies’ flagship 8-week coding program that I was fortunately accepted into. I’ve never regretted it since.

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

I started learning python in my spare time and want to understand what else it could be used for. I feel somewhat like somebody who’s just learnt a new language, who’s looking out for someone to practice it with so that we will both benefit from it.

After working with TechLadies, I found myself spending more time understanding Django, a Python framework, and I’m proud to admit that I can now see how Python can be used to create a website.

This process and discovery have opened my eyes to understand that the applicability of coding languages is exceptionally broad. Python can be used to develop websites, games, and conduct predictive data analytics. The possibilities are seemingly endless, and that’s what excites me and I believe, excites other programmers as well.

Describe the TechLadies project you’re working on and what parts you’re building on now.

We’re developing an online platform for people in the Asian Film Archives (AFA) to submit to have their films archived. I’ve been working on the contact form, which will allow people to contact Asian Film Archives directly with the queries they may have.

How do you see yourself using your coding skills?

With this new set of skills, I can not only develop basic web applications, but I may also use it to better communicate with web developers, which is a huge bonus for me, seeing as I am required to speak with them fairly often.

Looking forward, I’d love to work on creating platforms to help teams work more efficiently and effectively in the workplaces of different industries and fields.

Meet Kate – Idealist, Problem Solver, 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, what would it be?

My big loves are travelling, the outdoors, hiking, people and good ideas that inspire the world to be a smarter, better place.

Someone who I look up to is Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund. Acumen’s mission is to change the way the world tackles poverty through patient capital – it is the marriage of the smart-headed businessman and good-hearted philanthropist. Over the last 15 years, they have helped to bring affordable water, light, food, healthcare, education and technology to the poor, through supporting and investing in businesses.

I hope to be able to bring positive value to someone else’s life through my work.

What are you currently working as?

I am currently looking for new work opportunities, preferably in a startup or technology.

After graduating from SMU, I was at a loss of what career path to pursue. I had a couple of internships but I don’t feel fulfilled in those industries. If I had to spend so much my time at a job, it had better be something I love. I joined Singapore Airlines to do what I love, travel. It paid well, I was excellent at it, I got to see a lot of the world and I learnt a lot. Amazing as it was, that life lost its shine eventually.

I left to join a pharmaceutical company as a sales representative. Hit the sales targets of course, but thankfully I was tasked to work with different stakeholders to help patients reduce their medical costs and educate the medical community. It paid well enough, I was good at it and I brought some value by making good medication available and slightly more affordable for patients who needed it.

Still, I wanted more.

A friend put it clearly into 2 words – “Finding Ikigai”. Work should have a purpose that is in line with the self.

Ikigai
Call it your love, passion, your belief system, whatever. In the words of Steve Jobs: “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”

Learning how to code has made me feel empowered to create something that can be of real value to others. I want to be part of the tech world that can bring real solutions that people need and empower them too.

Knowing how to code is empowerment. It puts the power to create in your hands!

What made you interested in programming?

We had this course in university, Computer as an Analysis Tool, and that was really my first taste of writing codes. We were doing a project with Excel VBA and knew nothing about it. I’m not even sure if you can really call it coding, but the 5am brain-cracking late nights and then finally getting an A+ got me feeling really ecstatic.

Alongside my job as a cabin crew, I’ve also dabbled in e-commerce selling coffee and branded goods on eBay, Instagram and WordPress. Learning how to create your own website and making that extra cash was another high.

There are so many apps out there that makes our lives better. But there are still many occasions that I wished there was another app. Here’s my wish list.

  • Please, someone do an online platform that can help a mentoring program like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America reach more people
  • Please, someone do an app for SQ cabin crew, so it wouldn’t be a pain every time we want to change flights with a colleague to be around for a class, exam, family event or wedding
  • Please, someone make an app so I could get my manuka honey for a reasonable price after I quit (cheers to AirFrov)

The final straw came when I heard stories from two of my close friends who took a year off their 9-to-5 jobs to set up a web and iOS app. They are both smart people with a great idea, but they are both non-technical. One of their developers disappeared and another charged $20,000 to create a prototype.

That was the point when I realised, that having some knowledge in coding will allow you to test ideas quickly without a huge initial investment (in either money or time). This will give you an idea of whether the idea is feasible or how it should be tweaked to satisfy users’ needs.

Knowing how to code is empowerment. It puts the power to create in your hands!

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

The TechLadies ad on Facebook I came across a few days after speaking to my friend, was really just serendipity.

I saw that there are so many other individuals who are interested in learning to code and being more involved in the tech community. I realised that I was not alone! Also, I’ve never been part of a for-ladies-only group, so this calls out to the little feminist in me.

Why did you want to apply to the TechLadies Coding Programme?

A supportive community, like technology, is an enabler. The TechLadies Coding Program supports us in learning how to code while working on a project for an NGO. Having a shared vision, a goal, and deliverable that has real-life application is a huge motivational force.

Learning something together as a group is very different from learning on your own. This programme provides a community that can understand the challenges we face and learn from each other. The motivation and support from the coaches and community is invaluable to the learning journey!

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

Mastery of a programming language is an even longer journey than I first imagined – maybe deeper and more expansive than the ocean is.

My learning goal is to learn how to code in Ruby on Rails, in order to build an effective web app for HOME (Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics). Creating a solution that solves a problem is the goal here. By working on a real-world application, this gives me a good knowledge base to further explore Ruby’s capabilities in the future.

Describe the TechLadies project you’re working on!

HOME is a society and charity that serves to uphold the rights of migrant workers in Singapore. I chose to work on this project for 2 reasons:

  1. I have a very good relationship with my domestic helper who has been with my family for more than a decade. My parents have brought me up to treat her like family. She has sacrificed watching her children grow up and cared for my sisters and I as we grew up.
  2. There are bad people in the world who think that position power and money translates to a right to take advantage of others. It’s unbelievable.

We are currently building a web application to help HOME better manage and update their cases. What excites me about this project is how some features of the web app will help HOME to look through their database more efficiently. For instance, it can highlight which companies or individuals have a repeated history of abusing and violating the rights of migrant workers in Singapore. They can also better track what are the common issues migrant workers face and provide the press with requested data.

So, to the bad people: watch your backs if you don’t want to land on the front page.

What do you see yourself using your coding skills for?

Right now, I am working on ideation for a friend’s business idea and as practice for myself, hope to use Ruby to create a prototype to help her get funding.

At the same time, I am currently looking for new work opportunities and believe that my coding skills will complement roles in tech startups and companies. I’m looking for an opportunity in programming and am open to sales and marketing positions, as long as I’m in the tech industry.

Meet Vina – WordPress Developer, Musician, 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?

Hi, my name is Vina! I lead a life filled with spontaneity, with a belief that there is always something new and meaningful for me to learn.

Currently, I freelance as a WordPress developer. But that’s not all I do. I’m quite musically inclined and can play by ear! The keyboard and the guitar are my favourite instruments to work with.

What is your current day job?

I’m a freelance WordPress developer so that I could make time for myself to learn and pick up a new skill. Recently, I’ve been trying out a few gigs as a music facilitator and I’ve enjoyed it very much.

Prior to being a freelancer, I worked in an advertising agency as their last-standing developer. It’s a long story to how I ended up in that position. I graduated from the University of Wollongong with a degree in Computer Science and I received a full scholarship from S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research to pursue an MBA. That’s why I came to Singapore (from Indonesia), completed my MBA, and realised that while I have a foundation in business and computer science, I don’t have a specialized skill.

To hone in on my technical skills, I joined in this advertising agency as the 3rd developer on the team. After my team members left the company, I became the only person to help the entire team transit smoothly from being a traditional print-based agency to a full-fledged digital marketing agency. It was SO hectic! Because we were short on time and resources, I had to focus on using WordPress to build websites for our clients since it was the fastest way to do so. This went on for five full years before I realised that while WordPress is a fantastic tool, expertise in WordPress isn’t the skill that I wanted. I want to learn how to build an application from scratch, but the heavy workload at my job means that I wouldn’t have the time to do that.

An opportunity came when my professor from S.P. Jain approached me to help him create a website for a soup kitchen he’s helping at. That was my first freelancing gig and gave me the confidence to leave my job to make time for learning the skills I wanted.

What made you interested in coding?

When I was a kid back in the 90s, I used to watch my dad used word processors like WordStar, Lotus 123, and MS-DOS, despite not having a background in computer science or engineering. Watching him work away during the evenings fascinated the little 8-year-old me – he would type something on the keyboard and the computer will magically display something! While I couldn’t comprehend the mechanics behind it at that point in time, it was etched into my memory. Soon after, computing became a subject taught in my school. I got to learn and understand the same programs my dad used, MS-DOS!

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

I got to know of the TechLadies program during a Ruby meetup in Singapore where I spoke to Elisha, the TechLadies founder. The idea of making a coding program which focuses on building a real, scalable project available to women (for free!), was so appealing!

I had my reservations, though. Based on my experience, completion of a project would usually take much longer where the number of hours spent working on it is concerned. What’s more, the course covers a mix of both theory and hands-on work. I wasn’t quite sure if what that entailed – and was unsure if we would get to do much of the project ourselves.

When the announcement of the flagship 8-week coding program was made, I was pumped to hear that this was actually happening, and went ahead with the application, fervently hoping that mine would be chosen!

Why did you want to apply to the TechLadies Coding Program?

After I’ve left my job, I started looking out for languages to learn and avenues to learn them. I’ve attended community-led workshops and meetups for Ruby on Rails and Objective-C but found that those languages didn’t resonate with me, and while the workshops were good, they don’t provide enough knowledge for me to understand what I’m doing.

Then I found out about PyLadies, a series of workshops to teach women how to code with Python. I attended a few and realised that Python “clicked” with me. That’s why when I’ve heard that one of the projects for the TechLadies Coding Program will be done with Python, it was a no-brainer for me to jump at the chance!

What do you hope to gain out of TechLadies?

Initially, my goal was to learn enough to build something from nothing, and gain new friends who shared similar passions. Now, and increasingly so, I want to become a full-stack Python and Django developer!

Describe the TechLadies project you’re working on!

We are working for Asian Film Archive to develop a web application that accepts film submissions. Think of it as the IMDB for Asian films, it’s a very interesting idea!

The best part of the project is to work with our mentor, Martin. Martin is a fantastic developer that never ceases to amaze us. He’s someone who breathes, walks, and sleeps Python and Django; it’s crazy! Through the process so far, he’s given us great guidance and advice on Python, Django, Ansible, Mkdocs and more. Learning directly from his thought-process was super helpful when we’re building new things from scratch. I think this is the best value of joining the TechLadies Coding Programme.

Right now, we are working on implementing the Django models for our app. My task is to create the Event model, which basically defines how the database table looks like. We need this to eventually build a timeline of events so that the administrators can see how a film submissions’ status has changed over time.

What do you see yourself using your coding skills for?

I would like to build a portfolio with a large selection of applications that people can benefit from and enjoy using, with an unlimited budget and fair deadlines proposed. Perhaps, if I can indulge in this thought, I would set up a company that provides healthy food for my team and work with a bunch of adventurous, exciting and forward-looking people.

Since technology is always changing, I will let myself adapt and keep up with it. I’m thankful for the large programming community in Singapore that looks to give so much to anyone who’s hungry to learn. This naturally makes me want to reach out to those who want to learn and help them out, too, regardless of their background!