This interview is the fourth part of a 5 part series featuring a Hackwagon alumni and his career journey.
A former delivery man who worked at one of Asia’s start-up concierge and online delivery services company scored a new career goal with his new-found ICT skill. Mr Gabriel See Wei Yang, who is in his 30s and a graduate in Law and IT from a foreign university, is one of several working adults and PMETs (Professional, Managers, Executives and Technicians) who have chosen to pursue skills related courses at private educational institutions such as Hackwagon Academy (“Hackwagon”) to switch their career paths for brighter prospects. After completing a 7-week Data Science Course, Mr See managed to get a new job as an Assistant IT Manager at one of the largest independent, private medical laboratories in Singapore. Armed with his latest Python coding skills, he hopes to fulfil his aim of becoming an ICT professional and contribute more to the development of value-added innovations for the diagnostic healthcare industry.
Yixin: This week, we have the assistant manager from Quest Laboratory , Gabriel to share with everyone his experience.
Yixin: So he is currently working more on the internal workflow processes in the company, such as how to improve the analysis of the patient health or blood reports. Of course, this has to be done while ensuring that the privacy of patients are not intruded upon.
Yixin: So before this Gabriel was jobless for a period of time, and that was when he enrolled himself in a Python programming course to upgrade himself.
Yixin: So the course probably had some hands-on sessions right?
Yixin: Did you have homework and report to submit?
Yixin: Laughs* I hope it is not for every lesson.
Gabriel: Laughs* Yes almost actually. We worked on a variety of exercises and data. One of the homework required us to work on the Youtube dataset, and another led us to work on the Airbnb dataset. We also had to work on the Lazada dataset.
Gabriel: Actually those datasets are commonly available on the internet. You can find them easily.
Yixin: Would you say that this is currently the era of big data?
Yixin: I am guessing the data is really voluminous. In our daily life, whenever we click something on our handphone, this becomes data which is captured right?
Gabriel: Yes. In fact, because of the way the smartphone of today is designed, all other data such as our geolocation data are also constantly captured. Your calls and the conversation are probably all captured as well.
Yixin: Basically I guess it means that a lot of data are actually public. So it boils down to actually whether one has the ability to leverage on such data. And one such way would be to do is using a programming language call Python.
Yixin: During the time when you were picking up Python, what other forms of experiment do you do with it?
Gabriel: I was actually not a pure-breed data analyst. Even currently, I won’t call myself someone who is very into data analytics. I prefer working in areas such as: IT infrastructure and IOT.
Gabriel: So back home, I worked on a variety of projects such as a time scheduler, and automatic home sensors. I also worked on an application using Python that allowed me to capture the geolocation data of the people in my house.
Gabriel: I had quite a bit of free time, and hence I thought to explore and extend my working knowledge of Python.
Gabriel: Actually Python can be used in a wide variety of applications.
I made use of Raspberry Pi, which is a miniature credit card sized computer, and combined it with Python programming to create a variety of interesting applications.
Yixin: So Python is actually a very fun skill to pick up?
Gabriel: Laughs* Depends on how you play with it.
Gabriel: It is kind of like Lego, if you give it to someone who doesn’t know how to play with it, then it is useless.
Yixin: That seems to be majority of the people.
Gabriel: Laughs* True, but if you give it to someone who knows how to use it, then that is when you can see it applied in very creative ways.
Yixin: So I think many people today are actually quite anxious and worried. They know that IT, and programming in particular such as Python is very important. But yet, many of them are not in this sector, and are left wondering whether they should pick up such skills.
Gabriel: I can only say, do whatever you can within your means.
Gabriel: Some people will find coding a very “In’ thing, but you will have to assess whether you need to pick it up based on your current context. If today, you are a VP in a bank, I would venture to say that picking this up might not be very relevant. This is unless you really enjoy this and just want to pick this up as a hobby.
Gabriel: If you want to pick up coding to do a career switch, then I would say that, yes, this course by Hackwagon would be useful to you. However, taking the course alone would not spell the end of your journey as you would need to do a lot of self-learning on your part as well.
Yixin: I guess it would give you the fundamentals, but would much one master will ultimately depends on the time and effort that you put towards it.
Gabriel: Yes. It really depends on whether you have the strength and persistent to do this.
Yixin: Isn’t that passion? Passion is important right?
Gabriel: Laughs* Absolutely.
Yixin: Well, tomorrow we continue to have Gabriel to continue sharing his experience and views with us.
Gabriel was able to move into the growing tech industry after working part time for various stints through making use of government subsidies for programmes under the TeSA initiative.
For more details on the course Gabriel took, you can visit Data Science 101
For part 5 of the interview, you can visit Part 5