Le Wagon opens doors
"This experience wouldn't have been possible if I didn't attend Le Wagon Singapore and I am really thankful for this experience," Ann said.
While continuing to work on her final project beyond the Bootcamp (which her teammate is aiming to bring to market), she joined the Le Wagon Tokyo slack channel. Ann had previously worked in Tokyo; "the original goal was to go back to Japan and work there, and that's why I joined it," she said. Ann saw that someone had posted about a hackathon and their idea had already been accepted in the first round. She asked if she could join his team and that's how she managed to be a part of it. For the final round, 11 out of 250 applications from more than 40 countries were selected. Out of her team, 3 were Le Wagon Alumni. In 52 hours, Ann Koh(Singapore #375), Julien Ergan (Tokyo #394), Paulo D'Alberti (Tokyo #252), Myra Li and Ahmad Muzakki created 'Socialize Homework' from scratch. After two long nights of hard work and dedication, her team was announced the first-place winner of Japan Hackathon 2020! The hackathon was organized by the Kyoto prefecture and her team managed to win 500,000 yen(6,475 SGD). Read more about the process here
The theme of the hackathon was to attract ideas that could improve remote working and help make the remote learning experience better. Her team's idea was focused on elementary school teachers. Since Covid-19 started, and both students and teachers had to stay home, many children started hating school and saw it as a never-ending pile of homework. 'Socialize Homework' allows students to be in virtual groups where they can communicate through voice calls and video calls and teachers are able to observe different groups on the same platform.
Since the hackathon was less than 3 days, what they created was a basic prototype. The next step is to make it a working prototype that the schools can then use. They presented the idea to a distinguished private school in Japan and are still looking to talk to more schools. The team is currently working on the version that the first school is testing in Tokyo. Their goal is to make this project available throughout Japan and maybe beyond once it's established. The organizers are also going to help them approach different schools with their product.
Le Wagon is a community for life
"It's something I really like from Le Wagon," Ann said, "No matter where you are, once you join it you become a part of this family."
Throughout the Bootcamp our students usually become very tight-knit. An advantage of Le Wagon is that we have all of our alumni across every campus and city on one Slack network. Not only is Ann able to keep connected with the Singapore community, but she is also able to reach out and network with alumni in different countries, which was what led to this opportunity. "I was really surprised because I didn't know how the Bootcamp drivers in Japan would react to having someone who isn't from japan in the team, but they're so open," Ann said, "and even in the slack channel where they announced our win they included my name and mentioned it." Our slack network comprises of different channels, channels that are city/campus-specific, channels where we share job opportunities and even channels where you can ask for help with technical issues.
Le Wagon prepares you for the future
We believe that you don't need a traditional computer science degree to enter the tech industry. It's a huge advantage when you bring other skills when applying for tech jobs, on top of the time you save with a Bootcamp education. In the 2020 developer survey
by StackOverflow, nearly 40% of the developers surveyed do not have a computer science degree, and "almost 10% of the respondents have a business-related degree or a degree in a humanities, social science, or fine arts field of study." Ann was a sales and marketing executive at Asahi Kasei before she joined Le Wagon. In addition to working on the back end for 'Socialize Homework', she is utilizing her skills from her previous job experience in helping with the business development side for the product. She is now searching for a new job while working on the project that the team submitted for the hackathon. "It would be great to get a job as a Full-Stack developer, but since my background in sales and marketing is a major asset, it would help me get into a tech company more easily, whether in Japan or in Singapore," she said. Ann's methodology for building her portfolio to help with the job hunt is an effective approach. As a freelance developer on 'Mytus', and doing whatever tasks that pop up, it allows her to have something even more substantial than the final project they presented, which potential employers are already impressed with. It's an easy way to continue practicing the skills she learnt.
Although remote hackathons have always been possible, it looks like the shift in how we approach and organize events and especially tech-centric events is here to stay. For Ann, she didn't face any major issues with working in a team remotely "because my batch spent the last week working remotely, that gave me a preview into how working remotely in a team would be like," she said, "going into it, I was able to anticipate what the flow would be like." Just like Le Wagon, "it was easy because we communicated closely through slack and zoom, just like how I communicated with my team during project week at Le Wagon," she said, "it was very smooth." For many of our alumni, this is a skill set that has always been translated into development teams, especially alumni who are developers for startups whose offices are usually scattered. Working in different time zones and in teams made up of many nationalities may now be even more common than before as the world adapts to the situation.
We're always adapting to tech trends and this applies to our alumni as well. We're looking forward to seeing what else Ann and her batchmates accomplish in the future!