Wanderlust Wendy

Why Coding Camp? Why Le Wagon?

Next week, I begin the 9-week intensive coding bootcamp with Le Wagon here in Shanghai. Isn’t it ironic that I am leaving a tech giant to go learn tech? Life is funny that way.

It’s no secret that I had been thinking of all the ways to pivot my way out of being a sophisticated bean-counter. For a while, I even worked 15-hour days, volunteering my time to another group within the company, hoping for an opportunity to pivot. Alas, it didn’t work out.

Learning Tableau

Meanwhile, I made the best of the situation by learning something new – Tableau, a data-visualisation tool that my team was (finally) adopting. The way Tableau creates complex graphs & charts makes Excel look like it’s from last century (it is).

It started simply – I was way too lazy to manually update a series of Excel reports that I had been assigned. In 2017, it seemed antiquated that I was being told to copy and paste data from one Excel file to another, then PDF and email the say report to people. Again, the irony of my place at a tech giant was beyond me. I wanted a way for the reports to update themselves, and for people to serve themselves.

I began to self-teach Tableau with the help of Google (You really can find all the answers on Google!). The magic to create was addictive. I did everything in my power to automate all possible reporting, and became the go-to Tableau guru at the office. It’s not all fun and games though. Once, I spent hours on a simple line chart that could’ve taken three minutes in Excel. This occurred frequently. But once the light-bulb goes off, the rewarding feeling was magical.

Working with Tableau taught me an important lesson in life: you gotta toss out the old logic and approach the problem at hand with new lens.

Le Wagon Shanghai

Once I conquered the basic codes in Tableau, I began to wonder what else I could create. One morning, out of curiosity, I googled, “coding camps in Shanghai” (like I said, ALL the answers on Google). Up came a Medium article by Thibault titled, “Why I’m Opening a Coding School in China” published on my birthday a year prior. That seems like a sign, no? I left a message. Within hours, I received a WeChat invitation from Thibault himself.

This was August 2017. It was just an idea. I attended Le Wagon’s summer batch demo day that same week in Shanghai, and was inspired by what people were able to create after just 9 weeks. The summer projects partnered with various social enterprises, which is up my alley. I was intrigued. I spent the next few months researching about the camp, and talking to individuals who’ve experienced it.

Consensus has been that the 9-week coding camp is crazy challenging. Many described it as one of the most intense experiences they’ve had. Nearly all agreed that the network and what you learn is well worth the effort.

I could self-taught coding. Lots of people do it. What attracts me is the acceleration. The claim is you learn 2 years worth of computer science principles in 2 months, the practical, start-up way. Perfect. I like speed and practicality. More importantly, like the reason most people shell out $100k on MBAs, the network and the access to opportunities is key for me. I will be a part of batch #130 for Le Wagon worldwide. That’s nearly 2,000 alums already, and growing every month.

On Monday, I begin the new journey (although I’ve already spent over +30 hours on prep work). Perhaps I will hate it. Or perhaps I will go on to change the world with it. One thing for certain is that I will be challenged. And that, is the key to progress.

And finally, my favourite quote when I embark upon big life changes:

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. – Steve Jobs

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