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How Cassiano went from factory worker to developing web apps

Around 200,000 Brazilian immigrants live in pockets scattered across Japan, concentrated around factories where they work. Le Wagon Tokyo alumni Cassiano decided to take a leap and surprised everyone by moving into programming.

Cassiano, what were you doing before joining Le Wagon?

I graduated with a degree in physiotherapy, fixing computers during my studies to earn some pocket money. With the economic situation in Brazil unstable at that time, I decided to leave and as many Japanese-Brazilians, ended up working at a factory in Japan. Despite having a secure place to work, our entry into Japanese labor force wasn’t very smooth. The job was physically hard and the very thought of getting stuck there for the rest of my career was heartbreaking.

After my second kid was born, I realized it was time to change careers and I chose Le Wagon part-time web development course as a way to gain skills for my future. I moved to Tokyo from Nagano, temporarily leaving my family behind, and found a job as an electrician in a local company to keep a stable income. It was a move that was both liberating and terrifying, but I’ve come to see it as the best move I could have made.

I knew I had to study hard in order to reach my goals. My laptop was always next to me – I had calls with my batchmates from the back of the car and listened to the lectures while commuting to work. It was one of the most challenging, rewarding, and busy periods of my life.

Cassiano and his teammates for the Project Weeks

We’ve heard that your position at your company changed. How did it happen? ‍

One Saturday my home Internet was down and I asked my company if I could come over and use our office Wi-Fi for my studies. They accepted, and I joined our weekly Saturday lectures online, this time from the comfort of my office’s couch. From time to time, I felt some curious looks over my shoulder and at the end of the day, got asked if I could develop something for the company.
Wait, seriously?
To give you some context, I work at a Brazilian-owned electrical company with 100 employees, 20 cars and myriads of tools, plugs and cables scattered around the place. Our company still follows traditional pen-and-paper management methods which make day-to-day processes not efficient. I felt that going paperless would be the first step toward digital transformation and started working on a management tool that would move all the processes online.
With every lecture, my application got better as I implemented everything I learned: PostgreSQL for databases, lots of Bootstrap and Cloudinary, Javascript and Heroku for deployment.

At the end of the bootcamp, I had a working internal app with an employee database and a digital time card. My colleagues were extremely supportive and excited about it, with many requests coming for personal user profiles. There are still so many more things for me to learn but I’m already feeling confident to have this project up and running.

Cassiano’s internal app (still in development)

Sounds amazing! What’s next?

My initial goal was to find a developer job after graduation but after attending a startup-related event run by Le Wagon, I changed my mind. Looking at the speaker’s product made me realize that I can develop the same one and potentially start my own SaaS business, catering for the Brazilian-owned electrical companies in Japan.
In the last 6 months, while trying to switch fields, I met many people who were trying to do the same and were coming from totally different backgrounds. Now I am convinced a CS degree is not mandatory to build web applications and even launch your own tech venture. I have everything I need to fulfill my dream: computer, tutorials, my family’s back from Nagano, company’s help and continuing support from Le Wagon Tokyo. I feel I’m on the right track!

Thank you for your time, Cassiano, and good luck with your project!


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