From Blogging to Paypal without a CS degree
Victoria is a solutions engineer, technical blogger, speaker and WomenWhoCode Singapore leader. She writes about web dev, tools, and productivity.
Table of contents
- Q1 How does a day in Victoria's life look like?
- Q2 What did 5-year-old Victoria look like? What traits did she have as a child? How do you start from their business school finance degree and then switch to tech?
- Q3 Changing careers after completing a four-year degree can pose significant challenges. Can you provide insights into your decision-making process during that transitional period and the considerations that guided your choices?
- Q4 How did your parents respond to your decision to pursue a finance career?
- Q5 Could you outline the steps you took to secure your first job after obtaining FreeCodeCamp certifications and gaining proficiency in various programming languages?
- Q6 Did your four-year finance degree prove valuable, or do you consider it an inefficient investment?
- Q7 Victoria, what inspired you to pursue technical writing and start a blog on the subject? What was your initial introduction to technical writing?
- Q8 How do you select blog topics, outline your thought process, conduct research, and manage the process of writing an entire blog?
- Q9 What is the most memorable compliment you've received on one of your technical blogs?
- Q10 Could you please elaborate on the role your blog played in securing your position at PayPal? Specifically, how many blogs had you written before joining PayPal, and which particular blog acted as the catalyst for this opportunity? What aspects of that blog stood out to the recruiter?
- Q11 How did the recruiter at Paypaly approach you?
- Q12 Did you go out into some interviews or something with people?
- Q13 How did the interview go? Was this one of your initial interviews with a company, or had you already begun the application process elsewhere?
- Q14 Did you have a choice in your hands after clearing all the interviews that which Niche you wanna go in? why solution?
- Q15 Awesome. What is the best part of your work as a solution engineer at PayPal?
- Q16 What are the perks of working at PayPal?
- Q17 Could you provide productivity tips applicable to professionals across various tech job roles worldwide?
- Q18 Could you please elaborate on how you became a GitHub Star and outline the path to achieve this recognition in the future, along with the criteria one must meet for such a distinction?
- Q19 When you say Community contribution, what type of contribution it was? it an open source? or what?
- Q20 How did get introduced to Woman-who-codes and how it is going right now?
- Q21 What initial steps do you recommend for individuals from non-technical backgrounds, devoid of coding knowledge, but eager to enter the tech field straightforwardly?
- Q22 How many hackathons you've done how many win and what things did you learn from hackathons and why one should join?
- Q23 Any final note Victoria on your end or to end the space?
Victoria, our featured speaker, is a really impressive person in the technology world. She's shown a lot of people that you don't always need a traditional degree to do well in tech. Even though she doesn't have the usual computer science education, she's doing great at a top tech company (Paypal). She has more than three years of experience in writing about technical subjects, which has made her very well-known. A lot of people follow her on different online platforms. She's also a WomenWhoCode Singapore leader and a really good at public speaking, which is why she was recently asked to give a talk at Google I/O. This shows how much she's respected and valued in the tech world.
Q1 How does a day in Victoria's life look like?
V - Sure so today I woke up early to go to the office I reached the office around 10 and then we had meetings back to back until lunchtime and then I went out with my co-workers for lunch and then after that we had more meetings until the afternoon around 5 PM and then after that, I went to the gym and after that, I had dinner with my friends and then came back home to do this. So, yeah that is quite a very high-level simple day in my life I don't know how detailed you want me to be but yeah that's what I did today.
Q2 What did 5-year-old Victoria look like? What traits did she have as a child? How do you start from their business school finance degree and then switch to tech?
V - Okay, so from five years old until now, that would be a long story. I will just say that when I was five years old, I was learning three languages at once - English, Indonesian, as well as Chinese. So, from a very young age, I was exposed to the fact that the more you learn, the more knowledgeable you become. You can see certain patterns among different types of languages and pick up skills quickly.
I think when I was in my early days of childhood, like primary school, I was often described as quite a quiet kid who liked to read books alone. I've always been fascinated with the idea of building things. I would read books on architecture and how to build things. At the time, the internet wasn't that accessible, so I liked to spend my free time building things. I would take old shoeboxes and design dollhouses, among other things. I've always liked to build things. Of course, at the time, I didn't know anything about coding or programming, but this was where my passion for building things began.
Around the time when I was 15, my family moved to Canada. That's when I took my first Introduction to Computer Science course. At the time, I didn't know anything about computer science; it just sounded like a scientific course, so I took it. It was also because I was quite interested in science in general. I'm quite a scientific method kind of person, so I decided to take that course. When I first started learning computer science and programming, my first language was Visual Basic, and I fell in love with it. I loved building my first program, like a to-do app or a quiz app. That's when my passion for building translated to coding, and since then, I've kept building and learning.
I remember staying up late for school assignments just to perfect my applications, even though it wasn't part of the requirements. I would keep adding features because I was so excited to do so. Eventually, when I reached high school, I had to make a decision about which university to attend and which major to choose. My parents were quite traditionally conservative, and they thought that computer science wasn't something girls should pursue. They suggested I go into business for a safer option.
As an 18-year-old girl, I trusted my parents' opinion above anyone else's, so I followed their advice and entered the field of business. I've always been more of a math-oriented person, so among the business functions, such as marketing and accounting, I found finance to be the most suitable. Thus, I chose finance as my major and pursued it at university for four years.
During my undergraduate program, I realized that I still loved to code. I would spend my weekends programming games and making random mobile apps just for fun. I began to realize that maybe finance wasn't for me. I couldn't see myself submitting a resume to a finance company and saying I wanted to be an investment banker or financial analyst. It just didn't feel like who I was.
Obviously, as someone without a CS degree, I was worried about standing out in the job market. So, I started blogging, and I haven't stopped for almost four years now. That's how I got into PayPal – through my blog. The blog helped with my visibility, and the recruiter at PayPal saw it first, which led to them contacting me for an interview.
Q3 Changing careers after completing a four-year degree can pose significant challenges. Can you provide insights into your decision-making process during that transitional period and the considerations that guided your choices?
V - I would say, at that time yes it was difficult because it feels like you have to start over. It feels like you have to go back to level zero and that is a hard decision to make I wouldn't say that I make decisions like you know just in one day like I really thought hard about it I would say for a few months like I was going in back and forth asking a lot of people around me asking my friends my family for their opinion so yeah like you said it's not a hard I mean it's not an easy decision it's definitely hard but at the end of the day I think I look back on what I really want to do and what I can see myself doing and what I'm passionate about. So going back to my roots of just loving to build things and just loving to program and code. I think that is how I made my final decision, this is something that I want to try and I felt I would regret it if I didn't try so yeah that's how I ended up choosing this path understood.
Q4 How did your parents respond to your decision to pursue a finance career?
V -So, actually I think I've mentioned this somewhere on my blog before that yes because my parents are quite traditional. They Don't really support like women going into programming but in the end, I don't face a lot of backlash from them because I found the job first and then I tell them so that is a trick for those who have strict maybe conservative parents you know you do the action first and then tell them. So it's more like I'm informing them: “Hey I pivoted to Tech and here's my new job at Tech” versus saying like “Can I go into Tech” and then definitely you'll hear a position from them so that's how I kind of do it and it was quite a smooth process to be honest that was a smart move I would say.
Q5 Could you outline the steps you took to secure your first job after obtaining FreeCodeCamp certifications and gaining proficiency in various programming languages?
Q6 Did your four-year finance degree prove valuable, or do you consider it an inefficient investment?
V - I think a lot of people have asked me this as well because they wonder if it's really all like the four years that I took is it all gone to waste, and I would say not at all. Anything that you learn from your experience will contribute to who you are as a person, and that knowledge that you can take with you, you can actually translate it, and like you can find value in it to any other industries you go to. So for me personally, for finance, see right now I'm in PayPal, which is a fintech company. It really helps a lot. So yeah, I'm lucky in that sense that I got into a fintech company. But even if I don't get into a fintech company, let's say I get into like a very just tech company or even just a manufacturing company with maybe some tech needed, I would still find value from it. Because from Finance, what I learned is learning how to be solid in foundations and apply that knowledge. Finance alone is just if you go to like a typical Finance classroom, they'll teach you the theory, but you still have to learn how to apply it by yourself, like practicing it. So that's what Finance has taught me that actually translates to my journey in Tech. I was able to learn the theory and apply it quickly because I have been trained in the finance space. It's the same way of learning, which is learning by doing. So yeah, I think that has helped me a lot. Finance is also quite logic-based, which actually helps me when I'm learning how to code. Everything's logical, so yeah, it's really about understanding the concepts and foundations, which, again, when you find value in two seemingly unrelated industries, you actually learn that there's actually a lot of parallels between them, and you can transfer those skills. So yeah, that's what I would say for finance.
Q7 Victoria, what inspired you to pursue technical writing and start a blog on the subject? What was your initial introduction to technical writing?
V - Yeah that's a good question Pritesh. So, actually, I started blogging mainly for myself because I was learning how to code and I just wanted an online journal to log my learnings. I was doing the 100daysofcode Challenge and that was when I started my blog. I code I keep writing every day, day one to day hundred and that's when I realized that “hey actually I'm just not writing for myself but a lot of people also find value in what I write and they learn a lot from me sharing my learnings and what I did wrong and my challenges”. So I find that quite rewarding actually more than I imagine. I think, when you contribute to a community you do feel rewarded in some way and that was the time when I became more engaged in social media. I was never really a social media person so I started this Twitter account even just to at first promote my blog and so after engaging with the community and interacting with my readers through my blog, I do realize that technical blogging is what keeps me accountable in a way for reinforcing my learnings and also when you teach someone like the knowledge that you want to share you're retaining more for yourself. So it's also a good way to teach yourself and teach others you end up learning better and more in-depth as well so I think that's how blogging helped me and help the community.
Q8 How do you select blog topics, outline your thought process, conduct research, and manage the process of writing an entire blog?
For instance, if I'm currently passionate about learning React hooks, I'll start a React hook series. This approach has proven effective, and many people have enjoyed such a series. It allows me to generate a plethora of ideas, especially on topics that I believe others will find valuable, like GraphQL or React hooks. These topics can easily become a series, resulting in an infinite number of articles. This method forms the foundation of my idea-generation process.
As for research, the technologies and topics I write about are typically things I'm currently working on in my job and learning day by day. My research is grounded in personal experience and the practical application of my knowledge through project development. I firmly believe in the principle of learning by doing, particularly in the world of programming. In this regard, I always encourage my readers to engage in hands-on learning. Most of my articles include practical examples and step-by-step instructions for building side projects. This approach is my way of imparting what I've learned and tried, and it aligns with my own learning style.
Essentially, I teach my readers the technology in the same way I learned it. My research process involves not only my personal experience but also consulting documentation, GitHub, and other reputable sources to provide my audience with accurate and valuable information.
Q9 What is the most memorable compliment you've received on one of your technical blogs?
V - Oh, wow, this one is an interesting question – the best compliment. I think it would be that this blog is very special. So what I mean by special is that basically one of my readers sent me a very long email about how they find it. It's not like just a normal technical blog you see on Hacker News or you see on Twitter that's circulating around. But when they came into my blog, basically this reader, in particular, told me that this blog is just very human. Sometimes I would also share, you know, because I read a lot of books, sometimes I like to share with my readers my key takeaways from certain books that I would find useful for them. They said this is what makes my blog interesting and special: it feels like they're reading me. You know, they're not reading just another tech blog like in an unknown Tech blog, or they're not just coming into my blog just to learn about tech. They're coming into my blog to learn more about what is Victoria doing right now. So, I find that interesting, but I do take it as a compliment because that means my blog is like my personal brand, which is something that I'm proud of. Technically, I did build this blog from scratch, and I did build my audience from scratch, and I did spend a lot of time just writing about anything. So yeah, I would say that's a great compliment to have.
Q10 Could you please elaborate on the role your blog played in securing your position at PayPal? Specifically, how many blogs had you written before joining PayPal, and which particular blog acted as the catalyst for this opportunity? What aspects of that blog stood out to the recruiter?
V - Oh wow, okay, that's a difficult question because it's not like I counted how many articles I wrote before I got the email. But I can estimate that I was at around 50-60 articles when I got the recruiter contacting me. At the time, I was very consistent in putting out articles.
So, I'll put it out on both my Medium as well as my Hashnode blog. I'll put up quite a lot of articles, probably once a week or sometimes even once or twice a week. So it was around that time when I was quite frequently publishing, and that's how the recruiter did notice my blog spreading around. I think one of my articles that did go viral was on React. I can't remember which article it is, but then this space was downloaded via spacesdown.com. Visit to download your spaces today. The article went viral and the recruiter saw it. She didn't specifically say she saw me through this article, but she did mention that it was a good article, like one of my React articles. So I think it's that one about React. I think it's about a React project that I built or something. Yeah, but that's how she discovered me.
Q11 How did the recruiter at Paypaly approach you?
V - Hey Victoria we loved your article then what next basically she told me like “hey I saw your blog” and basically the fact that you can publish so consistently like this it speaks a lot about your work ethic that's what I remember she told me that it shows that you have good work ethic that you're disciplined and that you're punctual and organized and also just by reading my blog she can tell that I have a lot of Personality into it and it just makes her feel like even closer like you know like she can just talk to me you know so that's how she mentioned that I just wanna invite you in for an interview you know we can just talk and chat and something like that yeah it makes me more I guess from my blog and how the image of my blog portrays it looks approachable yeah and of course I left my contact details there so she can easily reach out to me and that's how she decided to approach me.
Q12 Did you go out into some interviews or something with people?
Q13 How did the interview go? Was this one of your initial interviews with a company, or had you already begun the application process elsewhere?
V - I actually started applying before PayPal reached out to me I did have a little experience in other companies so I was already in the mindset of studying data structures and algorithms during that time and I got a lot of practice from other previous companies that I've interviewed in so PayPal was basically not my first at the time I was already experienced enough to be able to answer all the technical questions.
Q14 Did you have a choice in your hands after clearing all the interviews that which Niche you wanna go in? why solution?
V - Good question, so, at first, I did mention that I want to be a software engineer. But then, they actually told me, I think in the middle of the interview, they said, "Hey, actually, you might be suitable for this other role called Solutions engineer." Of course, as someone who was not yet that exposed to the tech industry, I had never heard of a Solutions engineer before. I asked the interviewer many times, questions like "What is a Solutions engineer," "What is the job scope," and basically, I asked them so many questions that they felt like I was interviewing them instead of them interviewing me. I was just that curious about that role, and I was quite unsure what kind of role it was. What they told me from my questions is that "a Solutions engineer is basically a software engineer that is client-facing. It's a Solutions role, and it's a software engineer that needs to communicate with people." They mentioned that since I come from a business background, I might be quite comfortable with talking to people. I wasn't entirely convinced, but I thought that it was something worth exploring. At the end of the day, I thought that this is something that I could do because I do like to meet new people, I enjoy talking, and I feel like communication is a skill that I'm willing to work on, especially in the early stage of my career. So, I decided to try something new, which is being a Solutions engineer, a role that's like 50% coding and 50% communication and managing stakeholders. In the end, I do find that I made the right decision because I've been at PayPal for almost two years now, and I would say it's been a rewarding role. It's something that I've learned a lot in these past years.
Q15 Awesome. What is the best part of your work as a solution engineer at PayPal?
V - Yeah so this one I can probably say that being a Solutions engineer the most rewarding thing is that you are directly working with the end-to-end customer so unlike the normal Solutions I mean unlike a normal software engineer you will never meet the customer, especially in a big Tech Giant you will never be able to ask the customer and like receive feedback directly from them about the products but what I love being a Solutions engineer is that you actually communicate directly to the customers you can think from their perspectives better you get to understand their business needs their technical requirement better and at the same time you get to be the problem solver in this situation they will look to you as the technical consultant as the engineer that can help them find the best solution for their needs so I think being able to do that as well as like use my programming knowledge I think that's the best of both worlds for me so that's what I find most rewarding.
Q16 What are the perks of working at PayPal?
V - I don't know how detailed I should be but I think the perk is the work-life balance that's a huge thing so PayPal always scores super high in the work-life balance category of the top companies that do that. I think that the only perk you need to be honest in any company is work-life balance we are all living such busy lives it's important to know how to separate that personal boundary as well as work boundary, especially in the field of tech it's so easy to get burnt out.
You hear stories all the time where people get burnt out because they just don't have the boundary between work and personal and I think PayPal is a company that really cares about their employees in that way in that respect they always make sure that we take care of our Mental Health First and they always promote Wellness before anything else so that's what I would say is the greatest perk and because of PayPal's you know work culture I was able to do so many things besides just being a Solutions engineer as I mentioned before in my introduction.
I'm both an association engineer as well as a tech blogger, GitHub starwomen who code so I am able to do all this because my company has empowered me to do so there was also a recent event that I did in collaboration with PayPal as a representative of women who code so I'm able to take the organization that I volunteer for and I'm able to even have a collaboration with PayPal on that which is I think it's really cool and not a lot of companies would you can do that yeah
Q17 Could you provide productivity tips applicable to professionals across various tech job roles worldwide?
V - Sure, so actually, I could even talk for a whole activity, but just due to the lack of time, I think I can basically just shorten it. So I do have an article I'm going to shamelessly plug in here called "The Scientific Plan: The Scientific Tips to Productivity." I think I have read an article on that.
So basically, in terms of productivity and consistency, I think it's always about setting goals and making time for it. I have a lot of readers, like a lot, who contacted me and reached out to me and asked me how they can stay consistent in writing. The thing about most people is that we overthink. We try to, you know, probably before we start writing, we want to make our space super clean, get our drinks ready, optimize everything, and we overthink everything, then forget to take action. Sometimes I just want to write, and then I start writing endlessly, but I don't think that would be a consistent way to do so. As with most people, the main thing to do is to actually set aside time.
So let's say you have a writing ritual every 9 pm. You'll start writing then. I would make a promise that I would start writing every 9 pm without fail. So that is something that I would say I find consistent among many bloggers that I know. One of my good friends, Chris Bongers, is an amazing blogger who can write and put out articles every single day without fail for more than 365 days. The secret of how he does that is because he has a ritual where every morning he wakes up, and that is his blogging time. I find that consistent with any top bloggers that I've seen; they would have a blogging time. And I do realize my blogging time is a certain time, so basically, make time for it. That's the secret to being consistent.
Secondly, how to be productive is always about quality, not quantity. I've seen people who read programming books for many years but are unable to make a simple app. In terms of programming, the best way to learn is by doing. Instead of watching YouTube videos and tutorials over and over again, just pull up your favorite code editor, whether it's VS Code or anything else, and start writing the code yourself. I think that's the main thing that many people, especially a lot of my readers who are new and just started their coding journeys, have trouble doing. When you're new, you don't have a lot of confidence, and you might be scared that the code might break, or you hate to debug and all that. But if you never take the first step to code, how can you be a coder?
So that's what I tell all my readers; they should just start doing. Even in terms of maybe they want to start a blog, then they should just start doing. Stop overthinking and just do it. Yeah, I would say that's how I always try to do, and that's always my mindset when I'm going in.
Q18 Could you please elaborate on how you became a GitHub Star and outline the path to achieve this recognition in the future, along with the criteria one must meet for such a distinction?
V - Yeah, so actually some people have asked me this also before, and the short answer is that it's really just about Community contribution. They basically look at what you have done in the past year and evaluate from there. I don't know their specifics, like what the criteria are, since they themselves never revealed it.
But how I got it, at least in my case, is that I have two nominations. These nominations are anonymous, and I don't know who nominated me. But whoever it is, I'm very, very grateful. They nominated me as a community contributor. Every year, there will be some kind of nominations, and they review the nominations to validate if this person is really a community contributor.
I remember I got the email back in 2021, saying, "Hey, you've been nominated, congratulations." That alone made me really proud because it showed that whatever I'm doing, I was on the right track and was providing value to my readers, which I'm always aiming for. I'm really glad to receive this nomination.
So that was in 2021, and I didn't get the award, unfortunately. But I was still just as proud. I didn't mention it on my socials, but I wanted to say, "Hey, I got nominated. Whoever nominated me, thank you so much." Then the next year, I got another nomination. In 2022, I received another nomination, and that was the year where I got this award.
I think by the time it was 2022, I somehow fit the criteria. Once again, I don't know their specifics since they don't reveal their criteria, but I think basically, in order to be one, you don't have to aim to be one. That makes sense. Basically, you just have to keep doing what you like, providing value to the community, really loving what you do, and creating the content that you love. Naturally, it will come to you, right? I would say that's consistent among all the GitHub Stars I know. They don't start a podcast or a blog for the sake of being a GitHub Star. They do it because they love to do it and they love providing value to the community, and that's how they got it. .
Q19 When you say Community contribution, what type of contribution it was? it an open source? or what?
V - Yeah so basically they look at everything right, any type of community contributions like podcasts, blogs, hackathon, mentoring, open source contribution. So any type of contribution that you do for the community and they recognize that it's of value then I think that would count.
Q20 How did get introduced to Woman-who-codes and how it is going right now?
V - I became a Women Who Code leader this year in February. So, right now, I'm a Women Who Code Singapore leader. Women Who Code is a non-profit organization that empowers women in the tech community. It's active in many different networks across the globe, and I'm primarily involved in the Singapore network because I'm currently based in Singapore. My journey to becoming a Women Who Code Singapore leader started through GitHub. I met one of my connections who worked at GitHub as a staff engineer, and she introduced me to the role. This is a typical example of how opportunities often lead to more opportunities. At the time, I wasn't sure if I could commit to this leadership role because I knew it would take a significant amount of time from my schedule, and I would have less time for blogging. However, I decided to take on the role because I wanted to contribute in a more local environment. While my blogs had reached a wide audience, I never had the chance to meet my readers in person. Becoming a Women Who Code Singapore leader allows me to interact with people face-to-face by organizing events and volunteering. I desired a more personal sense of community, and this role provided that opportunity.
So, when Pritesh asked me how it's been so far, I can say it's been incredibly rewarding. Joining Women Who Code has been one of the best decisions I made in 2023. Not only do I get to organize events for women in tech and my community, which I deeply care about, but I also have the opportunity to meet a diverse range of people in the tech industry. This extends beyond my day job, allowing me to explore various areas of technology, such as data science, machine learning, IoT, and more. It's cool, fascinating, and highly rewarding, and I'm genuinely enjoying it.
Q21 What initial steps do you recommend for individuals from non-technical backgrounds, devoid of coding knowledge, but eager to enter the tech field straightforwardly?
V - Yeah, so this is something I would probably tell myself if I could, you know, go back a few years. Basically, join a community. We talked about communities earlier, right? I think a lot of people underestimate this; they believe they are lone wolves and can learn everything by themselves. However, joining a community really helps not only with your motivation but also with your learning. When you share your knowledge with people around you, you're actually retaining and reinforcing your knowledge even further. The conversations I have with my tech friends sometimes lead to great ideas. For example, I join a few hackathons whenever I have some free time, and many of the hackathon ideas come from random conversations within the community. So, communities provide creative space and motivation to get started.
In terms of passion, there's a significant difference between passion and discipline, in my opinion. You can start with passion, but without discipline, you won't last long; your fuel will run out pretty fast. So, even if you have passion, even if it runs out, you still need the discipline to continue. That's something I struggled with, especially during my time learning how to code. I battled imposter syndrome because I felt that no matter how much time I put into this, I would never be as good as those who had a formal education in computer science. I kept comparing myself to those people, and it was discouraging. Sometimes, passion alone won't help you get through that mental space. You need discipline.
So, as I mentioned earlier, always allocate time for your learning and practice. I always set aside time to do so, and having that discipline helped me push through. Even when I'm not motivated because I feel like an imposter, I had already promised myself that I would be coding at a specific time, so I would still code. Being consistent in your learning is crucial. That's what I would tell myself if I could go back a few years.
Q22 How many hackathons you've done how many win and what things did you learn from hackathons and why one should join?
V - Okay, thanks Pritesh for bringing up the hackathon. So in case for people who don't know Pritesh, he built a really cool project for the Showwcase hackathon which I was a judge at, and actually, Pritesh now that we're in this space I can just tell you that you know your project blew me away. It was my favorite project. I'm not showing favoritism right now, but it's my favorite project.
So yeah, I think, see, this is the thing with hackathons, right? It gives you exposure. If it weren't for you joining this hackathon, we might never have met and connected. And then this space might never have happened. So that is one reason to join a hackathon. It allows you to build your network, meet new people, and learn from each other. Another reason for joining a hackathon is that it really builds upon your skills. For example, if you're someone like me who's still learning and trying to build some projects, it's always better to learn how to build projects with different people. When you're in a hackathon, you'll be in a group of different people, so you need to learn how to program not alone but with a lot of people. That's also something that I learned through hackathons - learning how to communicate with other developers. Not just learning by yourself, building projects by yourself, but with people. So that's another point of why you should join hackathons. Next is, I guess, just being able to build a portfolio. If you're someone who's looking for a job in Tech and you are looking to build some side projects to expand your portfolio, then why not join a hackathon? It gives you all the other benefits that I've talked about, and at the same time, you will get an additional project into your portfolio. Usually, hackathons will have themes or they will have a new technology that you're supposed to incorporate in the hackathon. So that's also an opportunity for you to learn how to integrate this new API or use this new technology. Again, there's never a reason why you should not join a hackathon. In fact, it's harder to justify not joining a hackathon. So, Pritesh asks me how many hackathons I've joined. I'll say I've joined too many that I cannot count how many I've joined, but I've joined a lot. I joined even way back before COVID when it was in a physical location, and you had to camp there for like 48 hours. I remember bringing my sleeping bag, but in the end, I only slept for two hours in the whole 48-hour hackathon.
Those were the fun times. After COVID, many hackathons became remote, and even then, I still continued to join a lot of hackathons to expand my learning and meet new people and collaborate with new people. I've joined too many hackathons, I couldn't count, but I don't know, maybe 30-40. In terms of winning, I think in every hackathon, I learned something. I don't see it as, "Oh, I joined this hackathon, I have to win something." It's more like I came here to learn something, and every hackathon I would learn something new. I did win a few with a decent monetary amount, but it doesn't really matter to me because, again, I joined the hackathon with the purpose of winning money or anything like that. I joined it with the mindset of, you know, I came here to learn something. Every hackathon taught me something, like communication skills, time management, how to schedule the project on time because some of these hackathons are really short, like 48 hours, and some would be like six months long. Understanding how to organize your time around it and scheduling meetings with people across the globe, maybe in a different time zone, that's a really helpful skill that I learned through my hackathon experiences. Another thing that hackathons have taught me is how to think from the user's perspective. Usually, hackathons have themes and tell you the requirements.
Software Engineers, if they're not used to meeting clients and figuring out what requirements they want, they might just add features they think are cool, which is a pitfall. Those with more experience know that they have to fulfill the requirements that the judges want to see. Understanding how to meet requirements is something I learned, and it translates into my current job, figuring out clients' requirements and building products around them. So, everything I've learned from hackathons has been really helpful for me.
Q23 Any final note Victoria on your end or to end the space?
V - Sure, so yeah, pretty much, as you mentioned, people around you inspire you. I would say you're also a really huge inspiration. Thanks a lot for starting Humans of Tech. I think a lot of people need to know what is behind the scenes of all the people who are in Tech. You know, just humanize the code. If you spend a lot of time with code from nine to five, it just feels dehumanizing sometimes. You just feel like it's a machine. You know, like we're just a bunch of machines. But you created this Humans of Tech, which I find really super inspiring. And that's why I immediately said yes when you invited me to this. I think it's a really good cause and you have a great mission right now. And, yeah, I think thanks, thank you for everyone who came to listen. And I really hope those who listen on YouTube would find this valuable. I would say I'm not like anyone special or anyone that, you know, I'm lucky or anything, but it's more like you just gotta be yourself and choose the path that you want. And I guess this is my path. So yeah, my last words for you are good luck with whatever you are doing. And again, health is more important than anything. So make sure you have good mental health, good physical health. Like I just came back from the gym and all that. So yeah, make sure your health is number one and your passion. And if you love to code, then your passion is number two. Thanks everyone for listening. I'm really happy to have joined the space.