Tired of Monotony and Hungry for Career Change, Tech Newbie Learns to Code


This article is published in collaboration with Generation.

After working in the supply chain industry for close to 12 years doing procurement, forecasting, and stocktaking, Sarah Mokhtar knew it was time for a change. Tired of reports and key performance indicators, she was thrilled when a colleague invited her for a 2-day coding bootcamp.

What she loved about coding was the puzzle-solving element of it—a far cry from the repetitive tasks she faced on a day-to-day basis at her previous job. Little did she know that this introduction to the data world would soon fuel her search for bigger opportunities in the tech industry.

While scrolling through her Instagram feed, Sarah chanced upon Generation Singapore’s ad. Apart from the attractive apprenticeship element of the course that provided an opportunity for real-life experience as well as a possibility of full-time conversion, she was especially drawn to the social impact that the company had on a global scale. Yet it was the focus on soft skills and the space created in the curriculum for emotional support and check-ins that eventually won Sarah over.

Best experience of her life

Sarah’s excitement of getting accepted was quickly stifled by naysayers who had their reservations about her abilities to succeed in the tech industry. “There were actually some people who told me, ‘I don’t think you’re fit for this, you might not be talented enough or not smart enough’,” Sarah shared.

"Even though I received this discouragement, I decided to just follow my gut and just go for it, so I joined the program. And I’m really glad I did, because it’s really one of the best experiences of my life!"

Learning something new in a conducive environment was like a breath of fresh air. Sarah lauded her supportive classmates and patient lecturer who journeyed alongside her as she learned about tech from scratch.

While she enjoyed “challenging her brain,” even with some fundamental research before the bootcamp, Sarah still found herself struggling a bit with the assignments. That was when she decided to step out of her comfort zone and take the initiative to ask questions. And that made all the difference in her progress.

Mentor and peer support 

Thankfully, Sarah was not alone. Working with her through the same frustrations was another coursemate, Joelyn Ong. She was the one who pushed Sarah to search daily for a full-time job doing something they actually wanted, which was coding.

While it was a demoralizing and nerve-wrecking journey, her patience ultimately paid off. Five months into her apprenticeship and, after multiple interviews, Sarah was offered a full-time position at a tech company.

Sarah went through an 8-week training course before she joined the company as an application developer. Learning Java was something many people had shrugged off as passé but it was actually a valuable computer language that many companies still used. Because of her experience learning Java at the bootcamp, Sarah was able to get a head start that has made learning a lot easier during the training course.

Like a golden ticket  

“A big thank you to the Generation team for picking me and for everything you’re doing. Getting the acceptance letter was like receiving the golden ticket in a chocolate bar in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was a life-changing experience!

"For those considering signing up, what sets Generation apart is the soft skills you’ll learn, as well as te solid support system you’ll be getting. If you’re someone, like me, who has no background in tech—but would really want to have a good foundation, I can’t recommend Generation enough!”

This article was first published by Generation.