Andy | Jr Full Stack Developer
Pivoting During COVID: From a Businessman to Full Stack Developer
Meet Andy, a mid-career switcher who harnessed the sales lull brought about by COVID-19 to pivot into the world of IT. By chance, Andy came across an ad in the paper, which led him to apply for Generation’s Junior Full Stack Developer Bootcamp. This course provided him with the opportunity to have one foot in the door of an industry he already had a significant interest in – sparked by simple lessons on Pascal and HTML he had previously sat through in school.
Learning from Scratch
“You know what they say about technology moving so quickly that whatever you learn one week might just be obsolete the next.” Thankfully, to help reduce all that whiplash, during the Bootcamp, Andy notes that they were exposed to many different technologies right from the get-go. As a mid-career switcher in his 40s, he said that he wasn’t the odd-one-out. Together with his fellow tech-savvy classmates from all walks of life and backgrounds banded together by their passion for tech, they were guided to not just form but also hosted websites.
“Because most of us have been working for quite some time, this was the first time in many years that the majority of us are back in the classroom.” Andy highlights that lessons were fast-paced but thorough, with lecturers taking students through technical concepts as well as installations of all kinds of software – from Ubuntu, Visual Studio Code, IntelliJ. and Microsoft .NET
With the help of their lecturer, Jean, who always made sure to cater to the slower learners so that everyone could keep up with the syllabus, within three months, they were sufficiently well-versed in the concept of basic coding across the entire full stack spectrum.
Transitioning to Apprenticeship
“We were invited to apply for two or three companies – of which I managed to get an interview, and an apprenticeship, with Activate Interactive Pte. Ltd. (“Activate”). I had a good time working with them because they were supportive and friendly. Additionally, the manager-in-charge was knowledgeable and tried his best to guide us through as much as possible. At the start, we were not given strict deadlines. Rather, we were allowed to tag along on large projects and do as much of the front-end code as possible. Then gradually, we were assigned to do a little more of the harder back-end codes like microsoft.net. Through this process, we progressively learned a lot during the apprenticeship.”
Fortunately, Andy picked up quite a few languages taught during the bootcamp that came in handy during his apprenticeship. However, he recognises that there is still a lot to learn – which he is excited to pick up on the job or learn from his mentor. “My mentor is very experienced and guided me through general concepts, the important know-how, and what to look out for when starting a career in tech.”
Holistic Experience and Support
“The Generation team was great. We were engaged and further equipped for interviews, mentorships, as well as apprenticeships. The programme has been very comprehensive – a lot of things were covered, be it technical, or soft skills.I find that Generation has done quite a lot to prepare us for the role. It was quite a holistic experience overall!”
Journey Towards Becoming a Full-Timer
“It was challenging at first because while many adverts might say they are looking for a junior developer with no experience, they might favour those with some. So I decided to stay with Activate when they offered to convert me to a full-time junior programme analyst five months after my apprenticeship. It’s great because there’s still so much to learn here – and they offer us the empowerment to contribute to projects and flexibility regarding workload.”
When asked what he thought gave him the edge in getting a full-time role, Andy cited the importance of a teachable attitude and a positive mindset towards learning and applying whatever you learnt on the job.
After gaining experience in Activate, Andy has now explored a new role as a software developer in another tech company.
Advice for those interested in IT
“Working in the IT field, there’s always going to be a lot of change – especially with the constant influx of brand new codes and software. Thus, you must be open to change and the continuous pursuit of knowledge. Just know that you are not alone in these challenges. Just persevere – you can do it!
To the Generation team and my mentor, thank you all for being such a great help in my journey. There was so much time and effort put into this course. I am really happy that I joined Generation. It has all been worth the while!”