I remember the first time I saw the words “Hello World” flash up on my screen, after having written a line of code (okay okay, you got me, it was only three words, two of which were “hello” and “world”) in my laptop terminal.
“Huh. This whole programming thing isn’t as hard as I thought it’d be,” I thought.
Little did I know.
Since that fateful day almost four years ago, I was awarded a scholarship to study a fast-track, intensive coding bootcamp at Coder Academy in Sydney, Australia. I have worked as a full-stack software engineer at high-growth companies for three years. I was selected as an international Rising Technologist Finalist in the 2020 Booking.com Tech Playmakers Awards. I run a YouTube channel called CodeFights where developers try to live-solve coding challenges within 15 minutes.
And still, without fail, I get asked by my family the five words that every software developer dreads (especially during the holidays):
“Can you fix my printer?”
My response is usually that I can try - but that fixing printers, wifi networks, and illegal Chinese TV-browsing boxes (no joke, this is the highest volume request to date) - is not really what I do.
This is usually met with a bewildered silence.
“But you work in tech,” they eventually reply, brows furrowed. “What else would you do?”
What else indeed.
What this is all about
This bite-sized newsletter is a nod to all the other things in tech that, um, don’t relate to fixing printers.*
I’m going to start each one off with a little personal story that relates to the world of tech, and then do a short case study of something I’ve found interesting in a digital product. It might be looking into how a platform has made the onboarding process a breeze, what keeps people coming back to an app (*cough* gamification *cough*), or how a team has made the perfect, killer landing page.
At the end, I’ll keep you posted on what I’m reading, what I’m listening to (in terms of podcasts - although you have been warned, there may be the occasional Spotify rain music playlist thrown into the mix), and something challenging that I’ve been thinking about and would love your thoughts on.
It’ll be a mixture of product, engineering, digital marketing, growth, and human psychology.
Relax, I’m not asking you for money.
But I would be incredibly grateful if you would consider sharing this with anyone you think may be interested in this newsletter. I promise I won’t be spamming you constantly (I do have a full time job, not to mention freelance work in my spare time) - and what I write will be easy (and hopefully fun) to follow.
Oh, and if you have Twitter, I post tidbits about tech products and engineering at @carmenhchung (don’t forget the h. Seriously. I should have called this newsletter that 😂).
*I am in no way insinuating that fixing printers is a less valuable contribution to the world of tech. If anything, if you fix printers, please let me know if you’re available next holidays to attend my family gatherings for a paid gig.