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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!