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Damon, serial product-maker

Damon, 29, joined Le Wagon's batch #228 with one idea in mind: create tech products. One year later, it's exactly what he does for a living! He is, among other things, working as a consultant and full-stack developer at Surety, in New Zealand.

 Damon, serial product-maker
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"It felt like being part of the future of education: No tests, no grades or meaningless metrics, just learning from people who knew the real measure of how much you learned is what you could build."


Can you introduce yourself to our community?

Hi everyone, my name is Damon. I'm 29 years old and I like to make things, and to freelance. My main areas of interest are reducing asymmetric information in markets, sensors, IoT (Internet of Things), and making sense of messy unstructured data. Before joining Le Wagon, I worked a range of different analyst jobs in Finance/Energy, and then as a product manager. I also launched a very hacked together app called Fair Work which told employees if they were getting treated unfairly in the workplace or not, which took me to coding.


What decided you to learn to code and to join?

After selling off Fair Work, I wanted to learn how to code so I could make better products and have a full understanding of what is needed to make the products I wanted to make. I searched for the best bootcamp to join and, sure enough, Le Wagon came up! After a chat with Paal, Le Wagon Melbourne's driver, I was sold on the philosophy of the whole program: to focus on making things, and to join a global community.


How would you describe your experience in Le Wagon?

The entire Le Wagon experience was positive. I really enjoyed it from day 1. As soon as we all met and went out for a beer, I saw it was a bunch of other creative people who were keen to make things and kick around ideas. After that, it was very full-on but supportive. It felt like being part of the future of education: No tests, no grades or meaningless metrics, just learning from people who knew the real measure of how much you learned is what you could build. There definitely were periods where it felt overwhelming, just because of how much you need to take on board, but in the end it's all worth it!

"I can't really see myself doing anything else other then building things, launching them, and helping other people make products!"



What are you doing at the moment and what are the plans for the future?

Since graduating, I did a lot of contracting, learning as much as I can. Right now, I'm working on a new product idea and doing consulting on the side. I've branched out beyond web-apps into IoT and data science. Last year, I was freelancing and had a lot of diverse work, including a data science project for the University of Canterbury on Pharmaceutical Drugs, building a 360 degree camera that can detect people for a building company to put on heavy machinery, and legal automation for a law firm and an NGO. For the future, I can't really see myself doing anything else other then building things, launching them, and helping other people make products!


What would you say to someone thinking about joining the course?

If you want to learn to code, I can't recommend Le Wagon enough, especially if you're like me and want a greater focus on making products rather than trying to find a junior developer role (but I've heard its great for that as well though). It's a great foundation and community, and the resources you get give you a good jumping-off point, for whatever direction you choose to go in!


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