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Transition Into Tech: from banking to coding

As a programmer, Danny is nothing short of poised, confident, and masterful. But who would have guessed that Danny had never even heard of the word "UI" until half a year ago when she first joined Le Wagon. In this alumni story, we invited Danny to share why she decided to leave the well-paid finance industry and leaped foward into the world of technology. 

Featuring graduate Dan Li Freelance Developer
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Could you please introduce yourself?

I am Danny. Originally I am from Guangzhou, but I went to Canada for high school, and I graduated from the University of Toronto with a finance degree in 2012. I graduated from Le Wagon Shanghai in April 2018 (batch #130). Previous to my current job, I worked in banking for five years. 

What motivated you to join Le Wagon? 

While banking was my main job before, I had always been a part time photographer. Gradually I realized that I loved my part time job way more than my full time job, so I decided that it was time for me to embark on a new journey. I’ve always wanted to find a way to combine art and technology to turn cool ideas into reality. Finally I realized that being a full time developer would be the perfect job for me. 
Dany at Le Wagon Shanghai

What was the scariest part for you? What was your biggest challenge while being a student at Le Wagon?

I think there's an initial resistance to programming. It's such a different field, and there is a lot to adjust to. 
Managing my frustrations was essentially my biggest challenge. The course wasn’t easy, and I got frustrated a lot, especially during the first few works. My husband and I were in the same batch, so I kind of just used him as an outlet. But he was so patient, and made me realize that being frustrated doesn’t help. So I started to ask for help more and avoided being stuck on the same problem sets. Sometimes I grew skeptical and wondered if coding was right for me.
I thought you have to be smart in order to code, but by the end of the course, I realized that persistence is more important than talent. Coding isn’t easy for sure, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort to learn it, the experience is really rewarding in the end. You get to solve problems on your own. 

What was the transition out of Le Wagon like? How did you land on your new job? 

The transition out was incredibly smooth. I found out that a startup called Mix N Match was looking for developers, so I had a conversation, almost like an interview, with my current boss. Our philosophies matched and we clicked very well. I felt like it was a great job for me, and I got the offer in the end. 

Mix & Match team

In your opinion, what are the advantages for women to be in tech industry nowadays? 

For me, the advantages for women extend to men as well. It's really not about which gender you belong to, but more about the rewarding experience of being in tech in general. From the daily exciting challenges to the warm tech community, it's always fun. 

What kind of challenges did you experience at your new job? 

I love my current my job because I work better in a small team. I take responsibilities for my work because I am the only front end developer on the team. I didn’t get to take this kind of responsibility at my old job. Now I have flexible schedule and a team that I bond closely with. Communication is more transparent, and I get to learn a lot of new things, from development to business to UI UX experiences. Many new possibilities and opportunities have opened up for me, which I am super excited about. I love how I’m learning a lot of things everyday because of these challenges. 

Jumping from industry to industry is always challenging. Could you share some wisdom for other women who are hoping to join the tech world? 

My advice is – don’t be intimated by the complexity of the problems you are tackling. Be confident, and be willing to dig deep. It will be rewarding. 
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