Progressing towards success in software engineering transition


Joel Chua

Alumni of CEE/2020
Software Engineer at Stone Forest IT
Completed SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme in Software Engineering

Please share with us your professional life’s journey and at which point in your career did you aspire to pursue this programme?

I served in the Navy as a Naval Officer for four years before this. In my third year in the Navy, I was introduced to programming through a TV Show called Silicon Valley. This sparked my interest in the tech industry, and I began self-learning programming. I immediately fell in love with the problem-solving aspect of programming and the constant need to learn new things. Thus, I decided to pursue the SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme in Software Engineering offered by PaCE@NTU to further enhance my skills.

What attracted you to your chosen programme at PaCE@NTU?

I was certain that I wanted to pursue software engineering, and upon reviewing the modules included in the programme, I found it appealing due to its comprehensive coverage of topics, including DevOps and Mobile Development. As an alumnus of NTU, I received alumni course credits as well as SkillsFuture credits that I could use to offset the course fees.

How was your learning experience with this programme?

I really enjoyed the programme, especially the Front End and Back End modules, as I felt that they provided me with adequate entry-level skills and knowledge in those subjects. I also feel that the programme trainers were knowledgeable and approachable, which aided in the learning process. I enjoyed the group projects the most as it gave me experience working in a team setting. We also managed to use industry-standard practices such as AGILE to simulate a real-world environment.

Could you share with us some interesting facets of the programme you enrolled?

I think some of the interesting facets were the arranged career consultation sessions and the networking sessions with companies. This is different from other programmes as they typically do not provide career and networking events. This programme has helped give me necessary skills to land an entry-level position. It also gave us many opportunities to network with companies hiring for software engineers.

How did you apply what you've learnt from this programme?

As a Full Stack Engineer using C# for work, the programme did not specifically cover C#. However, through the Back End module on Java and the Front End module on JavaScript, I am able to translate common methodologies and thinking across different programming frameworks and languages.

Do you think lifelong learning is important? Please share your thoughts about it.

Yes, lifelong learning is definitely important. Given how fast the world advances, many skillsets and technologies are bound to be replaced by AI and new technologies. Also, lifelong learning is good in keeping the mind fresh and helps you stay mentally young.