Creating the Future You Want with Kenrick Tan
Kenrick Tan has his sights set on the world — his dream is to live and work in 20 cities. Unlike most applicants, Kenrick wasn’t sure if he would become a software engineer when he enrolled in Rocket Academy’s Coding Bootcamp. What drove him to take the next step was his unwavering belief in the power of technology.
Nearing the end of the Bootcamp course, and with the encouragement of Kai, Kenrick realised he was ready to explore a career in the industry — a eureka moment he tells us was the highlight of his journey with Rocket. Today, he is a proud cloud engineer with Versent. We catch up with Kenrick to find out more about his journey.
Kenrick, you previously worked as a strategic consultant. Why did you decide to switch careers?
I saw the importance of tech when I was working as a strategic consultant for start-ups. In start-ups, it is common to take on double or even triple roles. I managed the tech team and the product, becoming the bridge between the tech team and management. I began to see the gaps between people with a tech background and those who didn’t have that, namely in business considerations, which resulted in differing timelines. As such, I saw the ever-growing need to at least know how to read code.
What drew you to enrol at Rocket?
The fact that it was six months and an online model. My brother is also a software engineer — he went through a different bootcamp, which he said was too short. When I showed the course outline to my CS graduate friends, they told me that it was well-structured and more than enough to get me started on my software engineering journey. Additionally, the instructors are highly qualified — not just academically, but also in their passion for giving back to the community.
There were times at Rocket when I wanted to quit and thought I was wasting my time, but when I was putting together my portfolio, I realised that I had come a long way. I shared how I might not want to be a software engineer with my batchmates and instructors, but Kai always told me to keep going and see how it goes. I am glad I did not give up and completed the course because I love where I am now!
How did Rocket help you prepare for a position in the industry?
The role I am in now is an entirely different field from what we learnt in Rocket — I’m in the cloud engineering field and not writing code for application development. However, the skills and knowledge of web-app development are transferable to any other field, and not just limited to software engineering. Rocket gave me the starting blocks for any tech position — from asking the right questions to learning how to research code structure. I was also exposed to different technologies and context switching at Rocket, takeaways which I believe will follow me throughout my career.
My goal is to live and work in 20 cities! Becoming a software engineer would help me pursue this dream simply because the need for software engineers is a skill demanded globally, especially in the field that I am in. Every week I get at least one recruiter adding me on LinkedIn and asking me if I’m interested in switching jobs. But hey, it’s only been two months, and I love my company, which Rocket introduced to me!
Final question! What advice do you have for prospective career switches wanting to join the industry?
Dive right in! There’s no better time than now to try out software engineering.
Technology is the future; you can either be part of it or watch others move forward. I believe that everyone should at least understand how basic code works. I often describe learning programming languages or coding as learning a new language — the hardest part is getting started, but once you get the basics down, you will realise that it’s not that difficult. With Rocket Academy, I believe that you are making the right choice, just like I did.
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