How to transit from a tank commander in the military into tech? After graduating from Le Wagon, Stefan founded a startup with a fellow batchmate and built its product from scratch with Python and VueJS.
Stefan served in the Canadian army for half a decade before realizing that the tech industry was where he wanted to be. He is now the CTO of a start-up company.
1. What did you do before Le Wagon?
After High School, I enrolled in the Royal Military College of Canada and required 5 years of mandatory military service to pay off my university debt. After university, I trained as a Tank Commander and eventually given charge of a Tank Troop consisting of four tanks. Finally, I was transferred to the Tank school and was primarily an instructor, assessing and teaching future Tank Commanders. The army experience definitely changed my personality and how I viewed the world, but ultimately I decided it wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so I looked elsewhere.
2. Why did you come to China?
I came to China because it was as far from Canada as I could think and I wanted to experience a new and exciting culture. With my severance pay in hand, I took a year off to learn some Chinese in Taiwan and then wanted to see the high-speed atmosphere of the mainland.
3. Why did you decide to learn to code?
Computers and technology, in general, have been a great interest of mine for a while now, and I’ve tried my hand at self-teaching myself coding, but I never got a hold of it in any meaningful way. After some thinking of post-army life, I knew I wanted to do something in the technology space, so I figured checking out coding could be beneficial.
4. How did you choose Le Wagon?
After finding out about the coding school model, I did my research on the best schools in the world. Seeing how Le Wagon is so highly rated on every site and review I came across and a school being in Shanghai, I couldn’t think of going anywhere else.
5. What did you do after the bootcamp? Tell us about the products you made!
It’s been mostly two things, working on my startup, I co-founded with my fellow Le Wagon classmates and freelance projects. Our startup has been occupying most of my time, where we developed a complete Django backend with a Vue frontend. My freelance projects have work on mini-programs for small businesses in the Shanghai area and full-stack work for a large-scale project for Decathlon.
6. How does it feel to have your own startup?
It’s been awesome. Just like the final project for the Le Wagon bootcamp, we are striving towards creating something of our very own. Every minute we spend writing code, making wireframes or talking business development is another minute pushing towards a personal goal. We, as a team, have learned so much through simple trial-and-error and self-teaching, all taught to us by the bootcamp. Not only are we developing our own business, but we are also developing ourselves as coders, developers, and entrepreneurs. Even if it doesn’t work out in the end, for whatever reason, we have the experience and the knowledge we gained from our startup that can’t be taken from us. But, obviously, it’s gonna work out, so it’s doubly awesome.
7. Any tips for anyone who might wanna join Le Wagon?
If you enjoy the technology space and some of the simple coding courses online slightly piques your curiosity, go for the course wholeheartedly. The joy of making the command line say “Hello World”, the frustration of that last lingering bug and the excitement of creating your own product is all a fantastic experience that will change your life.
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