Full-time Web Development Student Experience: Cherie Tan

By BrainStation June 29, 2015

This week, we’d like to introduce you to Cherie Tan, a Web Developer in the making. Cherie began her education in chemical engineering, but has since elected to follow her childhood passion and pursue a career in web development. Follow her journey here.


What were you doing before BrainStation?
I think I can be considered a fresh graduate, even though I haven’t received my degree! I hopped on board my flight to Canada the day after my final exam paper. I studied chemical engineering with Newcastle University from 2013-2015 in Singapore. Prior to that, I completed a three year diploma course in Chemical Engineering. So essentially, I have been studying chemical engineering for five years. Initially, I thought this would eventually lead me on the path to become a chartered chemical engineer, but I decided to do something different and pursue my own interests.

What made you decide to become a web developer?
I started writing HTML and CSS codes when I was 8. It began as a hobby, and I often found myself spending hours each day learning new css tricks on my own. However, I abandoned my interest in web development when I started Secondary School, as my academic grades were falling below expectations. It was only recently that I decided to pick it up again.

Despite not having done any coding between my early teenage years until recently, I could remember how HTML and CSS worked. I love the satisfaction gained out of developing elegant and beautiful interfaces and applications, and decided that I wanted to be part of the community that worked both front and back end development. It was an intimidating thought, as I knew there were many established programmers and developers in the community. Despite that, the passion I had for web development never waned. I didn’t have to be the best, but I knew I would rather do something I find more rewarding and exciting. Moreover, the career prospects of working as a freelancer gives the flexibility of not being geographically restricted to in one specific location. I love traveling, and am almost renowned for skipping towns, hence the possibility of working remotely was enticing!

What have you found most rewarding/most challenging so far?
Learning HTML and CSS was a breeze, but by the end of the fourth week, I find that learning the javascript language was most challenging and rewarding at the same time. Anyone could copy a block of code from an open source and edit parts of it to make it work, but understanding the fundamentals of how javascript works was no easy task – at least for me. The intricacies of Javascript had me stumped, but as soon as I got a grasp of the logic and how the language worked, every coding challenge became an obstacle I was determined to overcome. The feeling of writing and executing a program written in Javascript and eventually integrating both HTML and CSS was extremely satisfactory.

Where do you see yourself at the end of the 10 weeks?
I would like to spend a year or two working as a freelance web developer to give myself a solid grounding in the fundamentals. This will also give me time to discover which languages I’m most interested in working with, and provide me with the opportunity to develop my skills further, readying myself for a position as a web developer, or eventually starting a tech start up of my own in the future.

Learn More about Cherie’s course here