First Job as a Software Engineer in Singapore

By Kevon Cheung in


December 1, 2013

So it was almost two months since my last blog post, and it wasn’t because I was not keeping up with my tech learnings. It was more because I was busy looking for a company I see fit and going through the interview process. Now that I’ve settled down in Singapore, I can review my process of landing a job with you all.

After I graduated with GA WDI in the first week of September, I had a few days off visiting friends in Austin, Texas (first time, good memories) and then headed back to Hong Kong to begin my job search. There are about three types of companies that I could look into: 1) startups with fresh idea and team, 2) software development agencies, and 3) enormous advertising agencies with media work.

Each of them posts a different pros and cons list, and there isn’t a way to measure them without working in every single one. Thus, I went with my gut feelings, but first let me briefly run through what each of them is like. Startups (3-5 people team) are a tough land for Junior Developers, they tend to look for developers that are generalists with more experience. Even when the startups get up to 50 people, with a 7-8 people dev team, they’re still very reluctant in hiring a junior guy who requires lots of attention.

Dev shops or agencies are in high demands, they usually receive a lot of projects, ranging from large big-name clients to small startup websites, thus they’re more willing to hire developers in different levels. The pros about dev shop are you will be in a high-pressure env with tight deadlines, forcing you to work smartly and to pick up new materials quickly, the con is that the deadlines discourage you to learn new exciting things you want to.

Lastly, huge ad agencies, they definitely have the tightest deadline in all because they serve big-names. Most of their works are about creative and media, so it could be a touchscreen product for guests to play with at an opening event, or a digital directory placed in the mall. It will be an exciting place to work in if you’re into front-end and media work.

Yeah..I have a hard time choosing how to start my career as a Software Engineer. I ended up joining a software development shop called Favorite Medium (FM) with offices in San Fran, Seoul and Singapore (where I’m based now). A huge part of my decision was because of the diverse team FM has, the internatinal coverage, the fact that I’m directly chatting with the CEO since the very beginning, the confidence I have that I’ll be an important part of the company etc. Well, that means cultural and personal fit.

Today was exactly a month after I started, and I have been working on a project from front-end, back-end, to deployment. I have to handle everything myself, which is extremely stressful because I haven’t learned a lot of them! But wait, my goal right now is learn and practice, so afterall it is for my own good. From a ruby framework that’s not Rails or Sinatra (rare right?), to JavaScript animations, to API integrations, to AWS deployment… I really picked up a lot from doing this project, I’m also very thankful to have some helpful colleagues who constantly clear off my roadblocks.

That was my story for the past two months, it was stressful(!), especially this is my first job and I have to move to a new country. Nevertheless, I’m thankful that my tech journey has kept going strong. If you’re a person currently in a Web Development Bootcamp, feel free to share your story of job searching as well!

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