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‘Find joy in the learning process’: Story of Yoshiki, a creative mind turned front-end engineer

Yoshiki is now front-end engineer at Green Funding, and a great example of how you don't need a college degree to have a cool career. Read about his journey learning to code at Le Wagon Tokyo and falling in love with building creative apps.

Hi, Yoshiki! What were you doing before joining Le Wagon? 

Just under 2 years ago, I was juggling 4 jobs at once to get by — an assistant preschool teacher by day, a cook / waiter by night, and a receptionist on the weekends. It was a rough few years trying to develop a career without having a college degree, one that I opted out of for various reasons. After barely making ends meet for some time, I decided to move back to Japan to hopefully start a professional career (I was living in the US at that time). 

Once I got here, I got hired right away by a unicorn startup called OYO — back then they were trying to launch their Japan branch. This turned out to be a great opportunity for me: I joined as employee number 7, and this allowed me to discover how a company grows from a small team to over 500 employees. I was working as a manager, building and leading a team to create and curate property listings on Online Travel Agents such as Expedia and Booking.com.

Cool! How did your programming journey start?

I've always had an admiration for creative careers like designer or developer. I personally felt that people in that field had more freedom, both in terms of creative expression and working style. I definitely didn’t want to wear a suit every day or work a 9-to-5, so I guess that bit was appealing to me.

In addition, I was surrounded by creative coworkers, and it played a significant role in developing my interest towards programming and UX/UI design. I had a great time at OYO but felt that I needed to learn more to further develop my career. Quitting my job and joining a bootcamp was the right move at the right time!

Once the Le Wagon Tokyo coding bootcamp started however, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. With so much information to process in such a short period of time, there were many nights when I dreamt about programming. I even snoozed my alarms because I hadn’t solved my coding challenge in my dream! (laughing). Thankfully, I did manage to make it through, and am currently working as a front-end engineer! Maybe those dreams really did help? 

What did you like about the bootcamp?

My favorite part from the Le Wagon Tokyo coding bootcamp was definitely the community aspect of things. My batchmates were all really cool, and the teachers were extremely supportive. I was nervous going into the bootcamp with flashbacks of my negative experience from high school. Having been homeschooled throughout my grade school years, let’s say I did not have a very traditional learning structure. I enjoy finding out answers through my own process, and usually dislike when I have to follow a set of rules. Basically, I feel that the traditional school system is a one size fit all process that doesn’t really care about students’ success or happiness.

Le Wagon never made me feel like that. They really do a great job with being flexible in their teaching methods and don't criticize a student for coming up with their own approach to each coding challenge. I never felt like I was back in school!

There is your way of coding.. and there is Yoshiki’s one!

Congratulations! How was your job hunting?

I didn’t dive right into job hunting after graduation. I wanted to go again over what I learned during the bootcamp, and built a couple of personal projects. Building something on my own from scratch was a new challenge, since there were no batchmates to rely on, so you can imagine there was a lot of googling going on (shoutout to Stack Overflow). 

Once I felt confident enough, I started looking for Developer and UI/UX Design roles, primarily in tech startups. I applied to roughly 8 companies, and landed a job with the first company that I interviewed with! The entire process took only around 3 weeks, so I did not spend much time actually job hunting.

What is your advice for someone who wants to excel at programming?

Anyone can learn programming.
If there is one thing I could say, enjoying the process is probably the key success factor. It’s definitely not an easy ride, and you will feel a lot of self-doubt both during and after the bootcamp. But as long as you find joy in problem solving, you will be fine. If on the other hand, you are only looking to start programming with an end goal in mind, especially a financial one, i.e. making an x amount of money, you will probably get lost on the way.
In short, focus on the process, not the outcome.

Thanks for your time, Yoshiki! Wishing you all the best in your new career!

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