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!
Editor’s Note: Maggie has struck me as a shy lady who probably gives herself less credit than she deserves. I sat down with her for this interview and learned that despite being keenly self-aware, she also exuded a sense of quiet confidence. This is her story.
If you could tell a story about yourself in one sentence, what would it be?
I’m an introvert who discovered technology through my introversion.
I’m intrigued, tell us more! What sparked your interest in technology?
When I was in my teens, I knew that I’m not as outgoing as my peers. I struggled with low self-confidence and have difficulties expressing myself eloquently. So while other kids were joining CCAs such as uniformed groups or sports that rely heavily on interacting with others, I picked a CCA that required the least amount of human interaction. *laughs*
Under the recommendation of my teacher, I joined the computer club in secondary school where I discovered and fell in love with technology. I love how technology makes things efficient – a document can be easily shared with multiple people which cannot be done with paper.
Why do you love technology?
I believe that technology is a blessing to solving problems and streamlining processes. Moreover, solving problems with technology goes beyond writing code, it’s also about getting people to work with technology. This enabled me to look at problems and solutions from different perspectives.
I find dabbling in technology to be deeply comforting and that’s where I feel most at ease. After secondary school, I pursued a diploma in Multimedia Infocomm System and a degree in Information Technology.
Are you currently working in the tech industry?
I’m currently working as a Digital Project Manager at a retail company under the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) offered by Workforce Singapore. I signed up for this program as I’m craving for a new challenge and at my age, there aren’t plenty of programs to help me transit into a new industry. I’ve transited into the retail industry from the entertainment industry where I’ve worked for 5 years on improving internal processes with technology.
Actually, I got my new job thanks to the TechLadies Bootcamp! My employer was looking for someone with Ruby on Rails skills and found my experiences gained from the bootcamp vital.
Before I found out about this community, I felt really alone – all my female peers from school have left the industry.
What was your first thought or reaction when you heard about TechLadies?
Before I found out about this community, I felt really alone – all my female peers from school have left the industry. I didn’t know where to go to further develop my technical skills or bounce ideas with. So I was delighted when I came across a TechLadies ad on Facebook! It’s amazing to see that there is a community of women, people just like me, who are in the tech industry and are open to learning new technologies.
Why did you want to apply to the TechLadies Bootcamp?
I knew that I wanted to be in an environment to upskill myself, and I knew that the best way to learn is through a hands-on process of working on a project. The TechLadies Bootcamp provided just that and more! In the bootcamp, I get to work in a team under the guidance of industry practitioners and this provides a chance for me to interact with people like me while gaining some real-world experiences.
Tell us more about the project you’re working on for the TechLadies Bootcamp #3!
My team is building an application process for the TechLadies Bootcamp, which allows the TechLadies team to streamline the process of selecting participants for future bootcamps. It is a blessing to have a community like TechLadies for ladies who are interested in tech, and more so to be able to work on this project that contributes back to our community.
The TechLadies Bootcamp #3 has started quite some time ago, how are your experiences so far?
I’ve really enjoyed my time in the bootcamp! My experience in the bootcamp resembles that of the real world – I have to work in a team to create an app that will be used publicly. Being in a team, we need to communicate the features we are working on and how we think about solving technical problems. This allowed me to practice my communication skills and has helped me in building confidence!
The lessons I’ve learned at the TechLadies Bootcamp have also benefitted my current job – I could now better communicate with and understand programmers.
Before the bootcamp, I don’t know about Github, Trello or Slack (important tools used by developers). I used these tools at the bootcamp and that has helped me to be a better project manager. Moreover, I now have a better understanding of code and could decipher what my teammates are writing!
All in all, I feel confident about my future with the learnings I’ve gained via this bootcamp. Plenty of friends have been asking me when the next batch will be!
Since technology is used everywhere. I can use this skill no matter what industry I am in. With my new coding skills and newfound confidence, I’ll love to be a product manager who creates tools that improve productivity and streamline processes.
How do you see yourself using your coding skills for in the future?
Since technology is used everywhere. I can use this skill no matter what industry I am in. With my new coding skills and newfound confidence, I’ll love to be a product manager who creates tools that improve productivity and streamline processes. I want to share my love for technology to more people, getting more people to adopt better technologies.
Not just for a career, I’ll like to continue learning by creating tools to solve my problems. I love traveling and I face a pain-point where photos, maps, and itineraries are on different tools and it’s a mess. I’ll like to create an app where I could pull all of these data into one place and I think I’m poised for this challenge.
Thanks for taking time out to share your story with us. Last question to end this interview, what is one advice you will give to ladies who are thinking about learning how to code?
Be bold and courageous! Just step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to learn how to code. Coding is just logic thinking, it is only 1 or 0 (binary) and it’s not intimidating!