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Michelle Tan
Michelle Tan

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Nevertheless, Michelle Tan Coded and never looked back!

My journey šŸ’»

It's March 2021 - almost a full year of remote working since the start of this pandemic. I've decided to use this post as the first post of 2021 to share my story and as a reminder for myself of why I should keep on writing.

Looking back, it's precisely a decade since choosing Computer Science as my major after high school graduation. It was one of the toughest decision ever made. What I know up to that point was studying science stream and trying to ace 9 or 10 subjects in exams. All of a sudden, I have to decide who to be in a society - Dentist? Journalist? Accountant? Astronaut? It was overwhelming.

The decision

I picked Psychology and applied to a number of universities. But deep down, I struggle to imagine if it is my passion to understand other people's mental health state, talk to people and provide counseling. Obviously, since the lockdown, mental health has increasingly become an essential part of everyone's life that should not be overlooked.

Not all of my applications got accepted, but some did. I went to an education exhibition to see if I missed out on other universities. As I was leaving the hall, a guy handed a leaflet to me saying "Hey, check this university out". It was a well-ranked local university in my country and one of the degree listed was

BSc in Computer Science majoring in Software Engineering.

It sounds interesting, I applied and got in.

First code and never looked back šŸ‘©ā€šŸ’»

I remember attending an optional programming class of week 1 in university. Since it was optional, only few students attended and the class was quite casual. It may sound silly but the very first code I wrote was a batch script that restarts the lab computer. Then and there, I was intrigue by the idea of only writing a few characters, without a psychical action - a push of a button, I can make the computer do something. Something sparked in me and it was one of those "Aha! I really like this!" moment.
Since then, I never looked back.

My struggles, achievement and goals

Technology has opened many doors for me. I manage to further my studies in Europe and achieved my dream career in 2018. Since entering the workforce, I've always struggled with impostor syndrome. My teammates are always doing so well and knowledgeable. I'm constantly comparing myself with others and always doubt that my code or performance is not on par compared to my peers. But now, I'm happy to say that I'm slowly and surely figuring my way out of this. Personally, I label it as a small win.

I will #choosetochallenge and be supportive to others. Hoping to see a more inclusive world.

My advice for allies to support underrepresented folks who code is

To understand the importance of diversity and inclusion. Perhaps start by including underrepresented folks in casual conversation or create a safe space where they get a chance to voice their opinions. Remember to be kind and supportive as well, at the end of the day, you and me are all human beings - not computers. šŸ˜Š
Thanks for reading.

Banner image from Design Week

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