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Lessons from the past

Gabriel Lee
December 15th, 2020 · 3 min read

It’s the end of the year as we know it.

2020 has been a tumultuous year for many people, myself included. It has been one that not only made me look forward to the possibilities but also afraid of the uncertanties that lie before me. Like many who has had family commitments, taking a dive into the unknown tend to leave some with second thoughts.

Looking back

There were many choices that I would take differently if I could miraculously turn back time. From my junior years in Primary school, to the rebellious years in Secondary school, and finally the naive years spent thereafter. But all these choices, made me who I am today. It has been the hardest lessons one could take in life, but knowing how it has shaped my thinking. I would not change anything about it but to look forward and continue doing what I can as best as I possibibly can.

The Journey of the year

The person who lighted my path

Before I started to learn the language, my very first programmming was only limited to HTML/CSS and copying Javascript solutions. Not much of actual “Programming” I would say. The turning point was the realisation one afternoon while having a talk with my colleague JK. He was 8 years younger than be, a Rhodes Scholar and a brilliant person. He humbled me and pushed me to improve for the better, to be able to actually do something worthwhile.

The start of something good…

I started first by taking up CS50, which taught me the basics of C. I couldnt find the drive to learn the complex language throughly as it was really hard finding the answers to the questions I had. Back then, I still had not learn what Stackoverflow was or even Quora, Reddit and the likes of others. I forced myself to be in a situation where I would feel the pain of spending money to learn a language.

After much searching, I found 2 paths. First to fill the CS foundation, I pursued a degree. Second, to learn a new programming language. The answer was to learn Python as it was “the” up and coming language. I paid for both paths, and I would say that it worked out well enough.

Learning Python with SMU Academy gave me an understanding of how a computer language works. During that 6 month course, I struggled to complete the tests and really worked hard like I never did before. Back then, I couldn’t even grasp the concept of a for-loop, function, returns, class, methods. (yes, that all happened 12 months ago.)

Bootcamps?

After completing the Professional Certificate in Python Programming, I was ready to take over the world ! (not!) While the course provided me some level of understanding. It only gave me the basics concepts of programming, I needed something that had more depth. Originally I thought a bootcamp could be useful, as it gave someone who had no foundation a chance to become a developer. But I realised that, under the beautiful picture painted by the all the Bootcamps. The reality is that, either you are really really good or you have some sort of degree existing already. And I was only starting my degree path.

COVID-19

COVID totally changed the dynamics of the working environment. The biggest single reason that changed the entire world, a pandemic that pushed the IT revolution forward. Forcing many old school companies to implement digital solutions, it was a situation where they had to keep up or risk being obsolete scenario.

Many opportunities were introduced, the #SGUnitedTraineeship, Mid-Career Pathways and many more support programmes launched by the government enabled many who lost their jobs to find alternative solutions.

SGUnitedTraineeship by NYP

4 months ago, I managed to qualify for the traineeship programme. This program was launched to train more developers in Golang for their hiring partners, Shopee, Sea Money, Garena, Zalora, Foodpanda. Our lessons were conducted fully online, 3 full days followed by a week to complete the module project and another week of break before the next course. Recently, we’ve concluded all our modules and embarked on our individual project work.

The project I was working on is a Telegram Chatbot written purely using Go. In the next upcoming post, I will touch on how I built the project.

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