End-of-year reflections

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There’s no doubt this year has been full laughter and sorrow; from career to relationships. A year that has been mercilessly putting all the stops.

Looking back, I felt like I haven’t improved myself as much as I would have hoped for. I’m still the same unconfident person who’s always spiteful and jealous at every single thing.

As the year comes to a close, I realise that I have to be disciplined with changing if I have any chance of improving myself.

I want to change. To change into someone my family could be proud of, someone I myself can be proud of.

And I’ll start today with this post.

I no longer want to write depressing posts and articles. You don’t fight negativity with more negativity. If I want to change, I’ll have to take action now.

I can’t wait until tomorrow to start, because tomorrow will become the day after, and the cycle goes on.

 

Noshable & The University of Queensland’s iLab

Probably one of the prouder and better moments of 2017 was working with Melody on Noshable, a startup aiming to help the communities with allergies and special diets.

As soon as my internship with RedEye ended, I was adopted by Melody to help build the Noshable MVP.

The experience I had with Noshable was invaluable. Making my first full-stack web application, meeting entrepreneurs and their startups, and most importantly, having fun.

Thinking back to my time at Noshable, I felt I could have done a lot more things better. Even if I were solely a programmer, I should have helped out with marketing, writing, engaging with stakeholders, and trying to at least do a decent job at selling myself and pitching Noshable.

I was sure that Melody wanted to groom me into a more business-oriented person but I refused to be changed. A huge mistake.

Once this post goes live, I want to make changes to both myself and Noshable.

I no longer want to be just a “developer”. I’m going advertise and promote the product, write content surrounding the problem we’re trying to solve, engage with stakeholders to identify their pain points, and to confidently pitch myself to investors.

And by the end everything, whether it’s failure or success, I’ll like to know that I did my best, and that’s all that matters.

 

RedEye Apps’ Winternship

RedEye Apps logo

I’m sure you’ve heard that good programmers don’t use if statements and I’ve never really understood the reason behind it. Until RedEye.

The internship at RedEye was my first and despite it being only a month long, I’ve learned heaps more about software engineering than a semester in university.

One of the biggest takeaways from the internship was using “guards”. Guards are basically checks you write within your functions so that your code doesn’t require to be nested with infinite if statements and it also protects your code from anomalies.

Here’s an example:

In the code example above, the guard is checking if value1 and value2 are legit numbers. If they aren’t, return a null. This prevents bugs by ensuring that even if someone passes that’s not a number, they get a null value instead.

“Holy Shit”

I know right? It’s so simple yet so genius.

Interning at RedEye made me realise something.

I’m actually not hot shit.

My software engineering skills weren’t bad, but they weren’t exactly top notch either. If I wanted to become a better software engineer, I’ve got to build more software, read more software engineering books, and learn more from the industry and my peers.

 

Winning (parts of) AngelHack Brisbane

AngelHack Brisbane '17

Winning a hackathon is every programmer’s dream (probably) and that dream for this programmer became a reality in May.

AngelHack Brisbane was my 3rd technical hackathon and it was the 2nd hackathon I’ve won (something).

Spheradical was the product we pitched, a 2D drawing canvas using the Sphero. It was my first time hacking on hardware and woah ho ho, was it was fun and challenging.

The one lesson from this hackathon is to stop playing safe and get out of your comfort zone.

In my last two technical hackathons, I played within my safe zone by making boring front-end applications that were of no challenge. I obviously lost.

That day during the hackathon, I didn’t know what got into me but I told my team:

“There’s no way I’m hacking on something boring today, so we’re going to hack that ball!”

We did and we won (Well, only two prizes to be exact)!

Looking back to that time, I realise that I really need to push myself further out my comfort zone to actually achieve something.

I ask myself today:

“Do I really want to stay like this in 10 years time?”

The more I stay comfortable and safe, the less I improve myself. If any new opportunities arise, I’ll take it. I’ll take it and show them what I can do.

 

The End

While my career has been constantly been improving throughout the year, my relationships plummeted.

It’s funny how just a semester of being together can have such a huge emotional impact on someone.

You feel trapped; stuck in a never-ending spiral of confusion. You’ve spent so little time with them, but because it’s those moments you held so close that you’re constantly chasing for it.

You’re obsessed with it.

Before entering the new year, I’ll say this aloud.

I don’t need friends who only look for me when they need something; but when it comes to my needs, you disappear.

I don’t need friends who laugh at my dreams; even if they seem unrealistic or nerdy.

I don’t need friends who take me for granted; who won’t appreciate anything I’ve done for you.

I no longer want your pressure.

Where I was pressured into apologizing.

Where I was pressured into unblocking.

Where I was pressured into isolation.

But today I’ve decided.

So today I’ve decided.

Today.

To the 7 of you.

I do desire we may be better strangers.

About the author

Jia Sheng Chong

I just write stuff.

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