Career Advice

Transitioning into tech from a non-STEM background

Paul Brown
04.09.2020 Published: 04.09.20, Modified: 04.09.2020 00:09:00

Why did you want to pursue a career in tech?

Bryan: In 2018, I completed my degree in Sociology at the National University of Singapore through their University Scholars Program (USP). My interest in tech was sparked by my peers at USP who used coding to accomplish certain projects that involved the use machine learning algorithms, automation and a mini satellite dish that tracked the movement of the sun.

Colin: In 2019, I completed my degree in Management in Finance. As the tech industry is an everchanging landscape, I wanted to develop my technical skillset to explore its many possibilities. I was attracted to FDM’s business model as I saw that it would provide me with essential training and skills needed for a career in tech and help me transition from a non-STEM background.

Tell us about your FDM training experience

Bryan: During the Java Development training, I was able to integrate smoothly into the programme as I underwent some self-learning to increase my technical skills before my training began. I was surprised to find that there were many others that were in the same position as me, by having little to no technical background. For concepts that were more difficult to grasp, the FDM trainers and my fellow classmates were always willing to help and to slow things down to ensure that we had complete understanding.

What stood out to me the most during the training were the lessons that focused on Design Patterns and the SOLID principles, which involves the five basic principles of Object-Oriented Programming and Design. These include the Single Responsibility Principle, Open/Closed Principle, Liskov Substitution Principle, Interface Segregation Principle and Dependency Inversion Principle.

It’s these concepts that guided me in how to effectively structure an application and to produce quality code.

Colin: The training was adequately paced yet challenging due to my non-technical background. I found learning the fundamental computer science and development concepts to be the most difficult to grasp. However, my trainers and fellow trainees were extremely helpful and provided me with some additional assistance when I needed it. In the end, I had a thorough understanding of the concepts and successfully completed my training.  FDM equipped me with enough technical skills to be a competitive candidate to clients.

Tell us about your current role

Bryan: I am a Software Developer at Standard Chartered where I am the sole Python coder in my team.  I have been given a range of interesting tasks such as working with software vendors to access the visibility of their products, building API’s and testing CI/CD pipelines for Python code. I enjoy my role as it encourages me to learn quickly and to be up to date with the technical details of many new technologies like Spark engines, Machine Learning and Cloud platforms.

Colin: I am a level 2 Production Support Analyst at a large banking and financial services company. My main responsibilities involve incident management, change management and service requests. My technical responsibilities include use of mainframes, Windows, or Unix systems to triage incidents and resolve or escalate them properly. I enjoy my job as it gives me the opportunity to learn more about the different roles and possibilities within the tech industry.

What advice do you have for someone who is looking to pursue a career in tech but does not come from a STEM background?

Bryan: Be prepared to work hard and to practice building your own projects. There are so many tutorials out there that will teach you pretty much anything; from building a website to creating deepfake images. Even though I was able to gain some technical knowledge from self-learning, my FDM training was integral in strengthening my current knowledge and equipping me with important fundamental and industry-required knowledge.

Colin: I highly encourage those who wish to pursue a career in tech, whether you come from a technical or non-technical background, to be open to learning new things and to not be discouraged by any initial difficulties during your journey.

There has never been a more exciting time to join the FDM industry, so why not start now?

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