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Po Yan’s story: Violinist Turned Software Developer

Two years ago, Po Yan moved from Hong Kong to Montreal to start a new adventure. Soon after, she joined Le Wagon to transition from violin teacher to software developer. Discover her journey to achieving her goal.

Tell us about your background before Le Wagon

I am a violinist and my career before coding was all about music. As much as I love sharing and teaching music, I always wonder what else I could do in life. So I took a break from work and moved to Montreal to discover something new!

I looked at various professional tracks, and coding caught my attention. Programming sounded very challenging yet fulfilling, so I started learning online before joining the bootcamp.

What do you enjoy about coding? 

What I enjoy about coding is that you can turn concrete ideas into applications that can be very useful, which is a big contrast to the abstract music world that I am used to.
Also, with coding skills, I can work in any industry because everyone needs a website now. It opens up many possibilities, and I like to try new things. 

Why did you choose Le Wagon?

When I decided to change careers, I didn’t know if I’d settle in Montreal. I talked with several campuses, and I was attracted by the international community Le Wagon has built. 

I talked with Le Wagon Montreal’s team. I immediately liked the vibe! I felt like they’d support me adequately in my learning journey. 

What did you think of the bootcamp?

The program gave me a clear direction to learn web development. I felt like I was part of a supportive community. I enjoyed collaborating with other students and having the possibility of getting help from teachers and TAs whenever I was stuck.

Before the bootcamp, I had never built something. With Le Wagon, I got pushed to give my best. Sometimes I felt like my brain was exploding, but I learned so much, especially in back-end programming, and this was very rewarding! 

How did you land a job at Diff?

Diff was looking to hire some junior developers, and thanks to a referral, I got an interview with them. 

This was the first job I interviewed for, and I got it! They even sponsored me because I didn’t have a Canadian work visa. Everyone was telling me that it was impossible to get sponsorship but I did it, I was very lucky.

What is it like to work as a Software Developer there?

They hired me as a Software Developer to be part of the system integration team. I mostly do  back-end development. The cool thing is that their tech stack is Ruby on Rails, so I use a lot of what I learned in the bootcamp.

Every day we have a stand-up meeting where we explain what we’ll do, clarify things and ask for help if needed. And every week there is a knowledge-sharing session.

Since Diff is an e-commerce agency, we have the opportunity to work with different clients - which is super fun! I love that we have to learn about the business logic so we could provide better solutions to support our clients. It’s a very encouraging environment that is challenging at the same time.

What’s your best memory of the bootcamp?

The final project. We worked on a web application to avoid food waste. I was glad that my idea was chosen, and it was really fun to work on the user stories. I enjoyed working with people with different mindsets and exchanging ideas. Everyone had different strengths - in front-end and back-end, for instance. 

Before the bootcamp I thought I preferred visual things, but I realized I’m more into back-end programming. I like the feeling of getting things to work and solving problems. It was an interesting discovery to realize that I enjoy working with logic and problems! 

Any advice for newbies in web development?

Before the bootcamp, I advise everyone to try online courses and workshops. You should start learning on your own to see if you like web development. 

After the bootcamp, you should look for any connections you have. Every industry needs developers, and with contacts, you have a higher chance of getting an interview. 

Don't be shy when you’re interviewing if you don’t know the answer to a question. Recruiters don’t expect juniors to know everything, but they want to hear your way of thinking. So speak out loud and explain what you’re doing. 

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