Success with his coding academy can be attributed to his NS survival training, Lifestyle News
Launched in 2019 by Neo Kai Yuan, Rocket Academy is an online bootcamp based in our Little Red Dot that trains software engineers. So far, the program has recorded a 100% hiring rate among its graduates.
Interested? So mai tu liao because anyone can learn to code; you don’t even need a degree or a similar career to start.
We chat with the 31-year-old founder and Stanford graduate to find out how to get started.
You studied at Stanford, then worked at Facebook and Alibaba, among other tech giants. Waseh, what an impressive CV! Was it your goal to study IT and work in such large companies?
Thank you for the compliments! Before Stanford, I didn’t plan to study computer science (CS) and work in big tech companies. My dream was to create products that people love, and I entered Stanford with the intention of studying mechanical engineering.
After loving my first computer class and visiting career fairs where many companies only wanted to hire software engineers, I decided to switch to computer science.
Budding University Students: Follow Your Passion. Every area will be transformed by software and will need people who know both that area and the software to contribute. You don’t have to specialize in computer science to be part of the revolution.
100% successful hiring rate for your bootcamp graduates so far – that’s impressive sibei! What are the biggest achievements of your academy?
100% (16 of 16; 40+ currently enrolled) of Rocket’s Bootcamp graduates got a job as a software engineer within three months of graduation, and all have changed careers.
Many of Rocket’s students come from top companies and universities, but several also come from less traditional backgrounds and are successful nonetheless.
An example of a graduate who has succeeded despite a less traditional path is Effy from FTBC3 (Full-Time Bootcamp Batch 3).
Effy’s highest formal education is high school, and he was a delivery driver, personal trainer, and rock climbing instructor before joining Rocket. He finally got his software engineering degree in two weeks.
There are several examples like that of Effy, like Michelle (FTBC2), who was a horse trainer and now a software engineer at Rocket; and Perry (FTBC0), who was chief and now software engineer at Glints.
Rocket graduates have received offers from top Singapore tech companies such as Grab, Ninja Van, 99.co, Xfers, Glints, GovTech and more. I am proud of every Rocket graduate and delighted that the Rocket community has supported them for the rest of their careers.
How far have you grown and taken the start-up in two years?
Rocket has taught over 700 students in our free Coding Basics course and over 60 students in our paid Software Engineering Bootcamp (40+ currently enrolled) – 90 percent of students enrolled in 2021.
We currently have 10 full-time employees and approximately 20 part-time employees and contractors. These are two full-time employees (Akira and me) from mid-2020 to mid-2021, and one full-time employee (me) for about nine months before that.
Rocket has 50 Angel Investors and VCs who invested a total of US $ 1.1 million (S $ 1.5 million) in Rocket in August 2021. I am delighted to partner with these prolific investors, entrepreneurs and engineers. to provide the best opportunities for students and alumni of Rocket.
Rocket is only just beginning its mission to attract and train the best software engineers, and I look forward to seeing Rocket alumni flourish in the years to come!
Learning to code is intimidating for many. Share some tips or debunk some myths for people who want to start leh!
Congratulations on taking the first step and reading this article!
- There is no better way to learn to code than to write code. There are many free and high quality tutorials online. Rocket Academy offers a free six-week, part-time Coding Basics course and hundreds of students sign up every month!
- Learning to code is like learning a new language. You have to immerse yourself in it, and practice it regularly.
- Everyone (including software engineers) is stuck on coding issues, but every problem can be solved with determination, logic, and Google.
“Coding is only for A-level students.”
- Effy’s highest formal education, a recent Rocket graduate, was high school, and he became a software engineer for an electric vehicle charging company within two weeks of graduating. Persistence, logical thinking and clear communication are essential.
“I have to be good at math to code.”
- Coding is more like writing essays than solving math problems. It’s important that our code does what we expect, but it’s equally if not more important that other members of our team can read and understand how our code works.
“Without a computer science degree, I will be at a disadvantage as a software engineer.”
- I know a lot of software engineers who didn’t study computer science in school. As engineers it is important to continually build our computer literacy skills, but there is a dearth of good engineers everywhere and companies will hire anyone regardless of their formal education.
- My sister is an example; She studied economics, a management consultant, attended a coding bootcamp in the United States and is now a Data Manager at the Make Online Wholesale Market.
Apart from plans to expand overseas, what are Rocket’s other exciting projects?
Rocket’s training team led by Product Manager Akira is updating all Rocket course material to be more beginner-friendly and to teach the basics better.
This will benefit all students, and I am delighted that Rocket is continually improving our courses.
The Rocket Platform team, also led by Product Manager Akira (we’re hiring!) Is developing software for Rocket students and staff to track progress. This will help Rocket provide the best educational experience for more students.
Rocket COO Steph and her team are planning Rocket’s first corporate retreat in early December. It is important for Team Rocket to align with our Mission, Vision and Values and to spend quality time together.
You mentioned that the pandemic was actually a great time to move the business forward as there was a shortage of qualified software engineers. How? ‘Or’ What?
In recent years, there has been a dearth of good software engineers everywhere.
The Covid-19 has exacerbated this situation due to the switch to online services, which require the development of software engineers. Companies are more eager than ever to hire great software engineers, regardless of their background.
Covid-19 has accelerated the decline of many traditional industries, leading more to seek careers in growing industries such as technology, where software engineering is the most in-demand job.
The pandemic has forced many people to do more things online, which has made them feel more comfortable learning online at a school like Rocket Academy.
Mentally, it was exhausting for a lot of people. Despite how well things have gone professionally, how have you dealt with Covid-19 personally?
I am grateful to Singapore, especially our frontline workers, for keeping everyone safe during the pandemic. Singapore has had few deaths from Covid and few (to my knowledge) horror stories of health services not being available to those in need.
During Circuit Breaker in Singapore, I took many walks in the park. Since then, I have diligently ensured that I maintain my personal health and spend time with my family.
NS seems to have had a life-changing impact, especially since you didn’t grow up in Singapore. What are sustainable take out, Singaporean compatriot Son?
I was an infantry officer and after OCS I served as a platoon commander at RSTA Company 2SIB HQ. As someone who did not grow up in Singapore (parents worked in Hong Kong and the United States), my experience in Nova Scotia inspired me deeply.
NS led me to describe myself as “from Singapore” and not “from Hong Kong” to anyone I met afterwards. Although I went to Stanford after Nova Scotia, I knew I wanted to return to Singapore to live and work.
I met some of my best friends during NS. These friends have supported and supported me for the decade since we served together, and I couldn’t be more grateful for them. Some of them even invested in Rocket Academy during Rocket’s fundraiser in August!
Perhaps more importantly, NS and most notably, survival training as an infantry reconnaissance officer made me appreciate basic needs, motivating me to help others meet basic needs. in my career. I have only worked in health and education companies since I graduated from Stanford.
This article first appeared in Wonderwall.sg.