Is change a good thing? I think it is. Willing to try new things and get out of your comfort zone makes life more interesting and fulfilling. Three years ago I was in China working in the environmental protection industry. The tedious and repetitive office work made me think it was time to bring some change into my life. This turned out to be a huge change.

I decided to come to Australia and study programming. Now I have graduated, and I am working as a software engineer in a fantastic company where everyone is friendly, supportive and kind. Recently I had the opportunity to share some of my experiences studying and working in the IT industry in Australia with you.

1. What was your first coding experience?

My first coding experience was an assignment in my first programming course, Programming 1 (in Python). We were asked to design a simple system that could do calculation. I designed and developed a restaurant menu system that could handle input validation, transaction recording for different tables, payment calculation, and a daily report.

It was quite daunting at first, but as I worked on it more, it became less difficult. I became more and more interested, and couldn’t stop refactoring my code. I spent almost a week on it. It gave me confidence in programming and made me believe I can code.

2. What inspired you to progress a career as a software developer?

I’ve always been fascinated by what computers can do. I started learning to use Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint when I was in junior high school. I was always amazed by how much my computer lecturer knew about computers, and I wished I could be as knowledgeable about computers as her. I didn’t get the chance to do computer science as my bachelor’s degree, but I always had this wish in my heart.

After having worked a few years to save up, I decide to do a degree in computer science in Australia and learn about programming. The journey proved to be a tough one. Learning a new subject in English is difficult for someone whose first language is not English. There are computer terms and jargons which are hard to understand. I worked very hard on each and every subject as they were all new to me. I went to multiple tutorial sessions of the same subject every week, and consulted my lectures and tutors for questions that I didn’t understand.

It was a hard but rewarding journey. Of all the 16 subjects I did, I got 15 high distinctions and 1 distinction. I was given an award for excellence in my academic studies by my university and was also interviewed by the international student admission team as an outstanding example of international students at Federation University of Australia. Looking back, I am very glad that I made this decision. Now, I am working in my dream industry at a superb company.

3. What is it that you love about coding and software development?

Finding the most appropriate solution for a problem is what I enjoy about coding. It makes me feel satisfied and proud. In a way, it helps me grow as a better programmer. Another thing that I love about coding is that programming gives me the power to put my ideas into practice by building products.

4. What are you most passionate about?

I am very passionate about learning new technologies, not just to keep up with the industry, but to try new technologies out and see what I can do with them.

5. What has been the most exciting project that you have worked on so far whilst being at DiUS?

The most exciting project I have worked on so far is a cloud based software as a service startup.  It’s my first Ruby on Rails project. I had only completed a Ruby on Rails tutorial before I started working on this project, so it gave me the chance to put what I had learnt into practice. I feel more confident programming in Ruby and also in Ruby on Rails after finishing this project.