In this month’s feature, we had a sit-down with one of alumni, Shiv as he shares his life story with us.
Before we begin, tell us more about yourself. How did your journey in coding start and what do you like about coding?
Shiv : I would describe myself as someone who has a passion for both the arts and the sciences. Ever since I was a kid, I enjoyed problem-solving. I played numerous different video games growing up, becoming completely immersed in the beauty of the imaginary worlds these games created.
My journey in coding began when I was 14 years old, when I had just started high school. I discovered the subject of Computer Science in a school fair the summer before Grade 9, and I thought it would be very fun to try out, due to my interest in video games. The innovative nature of the subject combined with the way you had to approach challenges with the tools you had was very alluring to me, and it became an instant match. My first programming language was Java, and I worked on various projects and created many applications with the language. I was very fortunate, too, because I was taught by the head of the Computer Science department for the next 4 years.
I absolutely loved Computer Science in high school — I thoroughly enjoy problem-solving and creativity. It became my best subject grades-wise throughout my iGCSE course and subsequently my IB Diploma. I enjoy learning about and understanding computers – their inner workings, logic, and algorithms. Best of all, I truly love being able to create anything I want with the technologies/concepts I have learned. The ‘subject’ never felt like a class to me; it was always just what I enjoyed the most. This is why I will be pursuing Computer Science for my undergraduate studies in university as well.
Coding aside though, my biggest passion project in life is my YouTube Channel. To me, creating content is one of the greatest joys life has to offer. I’ve created so many different channels over the years, with my first endeavor starting as early as 2009 — I was only 8 years old! Now, my main YouTube Channel, “sk_555”, has over 24000 subscribers, and over 8.6 million total video views. I primarily make content on a mobile game, Clash Royale, and I’m an official partner Supercell Creator — Supercell is the company that developed Clash Royale. My long-term life dream would entail being able to balance my content and my coding skills to be fulfilled in life.
Why did you choose to pursue the Diploma in Web Application Development with Trent and thereafter a career in technology?
Shiv: I was looking to do an in-person software development course for 3-4 months, and I found a lot of courses that were much shorter (1-4 weeks). The DWA course with Trent looked like a much more intensive course, it seemed to cover the realm of web development in a deeper fashion. Personally, I learn much better when in-person as compared to remote, and I was not looking to self-study alongside a virtual course curriculum. Ultimately, learning from my lecturer, Paul, as well as interacting with the friends I made in the class contributed to a positive learning experience.
How did the course prepare you for your career?
Shiv: The course taught me skills that I was able to understand and apply in all my bootcamp projects. These skills — especially React — are industry-relevant and are very sought-after by employers in Singapore. Even though my career is just getting started since I am going to study at university before committing to working full-time, I believe this course can equip students with the principles they need to pursue a career in technology.
Technology is always developing, meaning your skills should be too, how do you keep your technology skills current?
Shiv: In my opinion, technology and programming will continuously evolve and change. What was relevant in the scene 10 years ago is quite different from what we do now — and I wholeheartedly believe we will be saying the same thing 10 years from now. What I would advise you to do is focus on the core principles and lower-level fundamentals of programming, rather than the higher-level aspects of a programming language.
Tell us about a tech project you’ve worked on. What were your responsibilities, challenges that you faced?
PM: The second project in the bootcamp was one where we had to develop a website that had both Backend and Frontend functionality. Using Express and Node.js, we had to create a database to store data related to the scope of our project, and we had to create our own API that allowed any website to interact with the data in this database. We also had to use React to create the Frontend aspect of the website, displaying everything nicely and making things appealing for the end-user. Ultimately, the goal was to allow for CRUD functionality — creation, reading, updating, and deleting with the database.
Of course, I made my project about my favorite game, Clash Royale. I created a forum for users to build their own deck and create a post about it. This project was very difficult but doing it about something I was very passionate about made the process feel so much more enjoyable.
In terms of functionality, I would say the biggest challenge I had when creating this project was figuring out how to balance the work between the Backend and Frontend functionalities of the website. With both being very different in terms of scope and design, it was difficult to manage between the two. It felt like a project with two mini-projects — so I decided to approach it that way.
Overall, the biggest challenge of this project (and all my bootcamp projects) was the time crunch. Only having three weeks to complete everything felt very difficult, because there is simply so much work you need to do in such a short period of time. Time management is crucial for this kind of work, and you probably can’t take any vacations while working on something like this…
I made a YouTube video about my class presentation for this project, since it was my absolute favorite one. Here is the link if you would like to watch it! https://youtu.be/rkFHlyYRKLg
What are the benefits and drawbacks of working in a Tech environment?
Shiv: The benefits of being in a tech environment are getting to be creative and innovative in most of the work you perform. After having worked at DBS for a few weeks already, I have also found that you get to surround yourself with people much smarter than yourself. I personally believe that being in this kind of environment is what will allow you to learn from others and truly thrive.
The biggest drawback for me is that you spend way too much time in front of a screen. Technology is already a major part of our lives — smartphones, personal computers, and so much more. Working in tech means you will have to do this for the majority of your workday, too. As ironic as it might sound, I think one of the best things you can do to help with this is to take frequent breaks during work, and to spend time with friends or in nature completely free from any kind of technology outside of work
Where do you see your IT career going in the next 5 years? (eg, industry of interest)
Shiv: For the majority of the next five years, I will be studying in university. Computer Science is one of my passions, so I hope to learn a lot more about algorithms, optimization and probably AI as well. I will try and do a summer internship during each year of my university studies as well.
In terms of industry, the sky is the limit. I just want to be able to solve problems and apply my skills, and work alongside talented people while doing it!
What advice would you give to those who are considering to pursue their higher education?
(Shiv accompanied by his coursemates)
I would say that this bootcamp is certainly NOT going to be easy. I think there is a lot of pressure that can come with this kind of work, so it’s important to keep that in mind while going into it. It is very important to surround yourself with people who have similar goals as yourself, so that you can get through the toughest of times together. Some of my friends dropped out, and I was very disheartened to see it. With that being said, I was able to complete my final project and, in turn, the bootcamp, by working alongside my good friends who remained. Although we had to complete three individual projects, I personally believe there is still a lot of importance in asking for help when you need it and bouncing ideas off your friends.
Lastly, fun question ..
What technologies could you not live without? And if you were a tech brand, which one would you be and why?
Technologies I would not be able to live without:
- The internet: everything is interconnected, and the world runs on it today.
- My computer and phone in tandem with the internet, for numerous reasons:
1) Content creation and making YouTube videos is one of my biggest passions, so getting completely cut off from this would make my life very sad 🙁
2) I have a lot of friends all around the world, whether they were from my high school and went away to study (the U.S., Canada, the U.K, etc.), or whether they are friends I met through other online communities. I can’t see them in person for most of the year, unless they either visit Singapore, or I visit them. Therefore, the internet allows us to keep in contact and talk whenever we want, really 🙂
If I was a tech brand, I would be Alphabet Inc. / Google. They own so many incredible companies, including some of my favorites: YouTube and Android Inc. I’m extremely loyal to the brands I love, and I could not go without my Samsung Galaxy phone
We are delighted to be a part of Shiv’s journey of learning and self-discovery here at Trent Global College, we hope that his story continues to inspire individuals who are considering on making a career change or even trying something new.
Find out more about our Technology courses here.