Projects and Interviews
It feels so good to be able to have a short break after a hectic year of learning. Just a recap of what I did in 2020, I started my part-time Diploma in ICT, tried to join a bootcamp in April but ended up self-learning for 4 months. Then took the MAGES Full Stack Web Development TIPP and joined the GoSchool programme in August 2020.
At the start of 2021, I technically "graduated" from GoSchool as I secured a job with my present company. Then, graduated from my Diploma the following month and as of last week. I've completed the MAGES Full Stack TIPP, the journey has been bittersweet and frustrating at times. But I'm glad that even though I have "upskilled" myself, it is only the beginning of my pursuit to be a better Developer.
Along the way I've made really good friends whom I find are so much more knowledgable than me, yet pursuing different paths now.
So, some history about MAGES they're a established school which started out focusing on Game Art, 3D Modelling & Animation being in the Industry for >10 years. I would say that they are as legit as it should if they can survive for so long as a PEI (Private Education Institute). The natural path for such a school would be to expand its services encompass other aspects of Tech, and Software Development just happens to be one of them. For the past few years, SWE roles has been on the rise and its one of the hottest jobs according to LinkedIn statistics.
About the TIPP, it is conducted 2 weekday evenings and 1 weekend half-day. This course is quite unique because its catered for working adults unlike other bootcamps, that are either 3months full-time immersive 5-6 days a week. The cohort size is also significantly smaller, as the first batch it started with 21 of us, but it gradually reduced as some deferred ending with only 13 at the end. As you might have noticed, the amount of contact hours as compared to a full-time immersive bootcamp is about 10-15% lower. And many start with zero knowledge about what Web development is about, there are 4 core modules conducted over a period of about a month and 1 capstone module for a total of 5 which are all graded academically.
The third module was when the pace became slighly easier, as we were taught the concepts of what a database is, normalization, relations and writing the schemas with SQL syntax. The fourth module, we were taught a crash course to Python and then learnt about Django Web Framework and asked to build a REST API for this module. The final module or the capstone, we were asked to form team of 3-4 to create a industry project within 1 month.
One of my teammates owns a startup that does deliveries for low-income families who owns a online business. It was a meaningful project as it meant building something useful, the problem he faced was the tedious process of having to update orders daily using google forms collating it to a masterlist and exporting the data out only to import the data to another platform.
So we thought of applying what we learnt, to build a web application for the company to use. I'll not bother explaining the process but the end product was quite good since the technologies used were not related to what we learnt in the programme. Of course, it would have been done better and in many ways but this was the end product.
Overall, there are many things we could have built it better some of the wanted features we couldn't implement due to the time but the end product was pretty neat. Though there are still bugs in the code (definitely!) but it technically works quite well.
Recently, I've managed to secure some interviews/technical assessments. I actually dread technical assessments, because of an incident I had 2 years ago. Back then I was confident and clueless about the actual development world, I thought I was ready to make a career switch so I applied for the IMDA CLT with a particular company I'll name it C for now. I passed the mathematical assessments online and problem solving tests and secured an interview with the training partner, which I'll name D because its located at a Polytechnic in Dover.
That morning, I had to do a pen-and-paper problem solving test within 45mins which comprised 20 questions. 1 basic written coding question, 9 programming related questions and 10 mathematical problems. Afterwhich, it was a panel interview with 3 people that consists of a white board session about solving 3 pre-University mathematical problems, difficulty level was easy, medium, hard. I couldn't remember the exact questions, but I definitely remembered the horrible experience.
Out of the 3 people inside that panel, 1 was the representative of the company, 2 from the school (lecturer, managing director?). The worst of the lot, was the managing director? of the school. Not only was he so curt and unforgiving he directly insulted my intelligence (I admit I'm not smart by the way :P) , and my education background I was so taken aback by his nonchalant remarks like I was there wasting his precious time and I am not going to succeed in life kind of attitude, that experience scarred me partially whenever I have pair programming tests. Though what happened 2 years ago, made me realize that I was severly lacking but also made me determined to improve myself in whatever way possible.
Luckily, this aren't so bad while top tier companies use technical assessments and pair programming to weed out the candidates. Some companies believe that technical assessments for entry roles are not needed, but the ability to create, problem solve is more important. But you never know, so some basic preparation for technical assessment is always good.
Hopefully I'm able to secure a job that is more stable than now, knowing that I will be retrenched in a month due to cut in funding after starting the role isn't really very motivating for an employee.