If you’ve been in our community long enough, you’re probably familiar with the lifestyle of a digital nomad, a lifestyle that’s popular among tech professionals nowadays. We caught up with three of Le Wagon China digital nomad alumni and asked them about their life-changing experience with Le Wagon.
Dani teaches tech students and designs digital products at her own pace. [UX Designer, Freelance]Why did you decide to learn to code, and not something else?
I have a background in Finance and I worked in the finance industry for over 5 years before joining LW. I always enjoyed creating things but lacked the skill sets to turn design into real tech products. It had come to a point where I was looking for some changes in my career. I then learned about coding boot camps and took a short course on front-end and realized how interesting and creative it is. So I decided to give it a try. I accidentally found LW online. I was really impressed by its product-based approach and Wechat MP curriculum which was exactly what I was looking for.
What did you do after the Le Wagon training? I worked as a Wechat MP developer for a local startup. Later on I started freelancing on frontend and design projects. I spent about 10% of my work time teaching HTML/CSS and design sprint courses. Most of freelance projects come from client referrals or partnership with other Le Wagon alumni.
Do you see yourself going back to a normal office job ever again? Not likely. I really enjoy the flexibility and diversity of projects that freelancing has offered me.
Sergey switched to tech to work in a warmer city [Backend Developer, owns his own startup called “FJ-Tech”]Originally from Russia, Sergey moved to China for work. Now his technical skills have taken him to Thailand with more adventures yet to come.
What were you doing before Le Wagon?
I was working and living in Moscow, then moved to Shanghai in 2015 to work for a logistics company. When I got tired with the office job, I started to look for alternatives. During this time, I was also teaching English, launched two e-commerce startups specializing on export from China to Russia, started a recruitment agency that was sourcing ESL teachers to come and work in China. But none of these turned into something serious, so I kept searching and that's how I found Le Wagon.
I knew that coding would definitely give me the ability to work remotely. I also knew it was a skill that is applicable anywhere I go (unlike logistics that is very specific to the area you work in). So I decided to give it a try. It worked out even better than I expected. Now my job has become my passion, which I never thought possible
What are you doing now?
I specialize on backend development in FJ-Tech, a start-up founded by me and Kevin, also an alumnus of Le Wagon alumni. My co-founder Kevin and I met when I was a Teaching Assistant during his course at Le Wagon.
We are a coding studio that helps our clients build web apps and WeChat mini programs. We specialize in providing a full spectrum of services to our clients, Taking them from idea, to product scope, prototype, fully functional MVP, to further development of the product.
My partner Kevin is based in Germany, but I hope we will meet in Thailand later this year. I also teach at Le Wagon when I get a chance.
Where will your adventures take you next?
I'll stay in South East Asia for about a year and then will move to Europe. The plan is to based in Portugal as they have a super easy program for digital nomads.
What makes Le Wagon unique?
The community. There are a lot of friendly and knowledgeable people who are always ready to help. The first 2 freelancing projects I had were from Le Wagon referrals. First one was from their instructor/alumni who posted an opportunity in a Le Wagon WeChat group and the second one was when another instructor/alumni introduced me to another former Le Wagon instructor, and I joined his development team for new projects. I don't know if I would have been able to start my web development career without the Le Wagon community.
Will Martin - Works in Symply as a remote Full Stack developer in Cape Town, South Africa. You’re originally from the UK. Can you tell us how you ended up in South Africa?
I had originally travelled to China to teach English for a year, that turned into five years. In my fourth year there I went through Le Wagon’s Web Development bootcamp and then got a remote job at a tech startup as a developer. I moved from Chengdu to Shenzhen as the company does have an office there but after six months my partner and I decided it was time to move on from China. She is from Cape Town so we came here, got married and it looks like we’re here to stay for a while.
What were you doing before Le Wagon?
I was teaching English in a Chinese school, it’s a good way to save money while you study and plan your next move. I didn’t really have a passion for teaching though. The daily commute to my school was about an hour so two hours of my day was spent on trains being tired and grumpy. I messed about with Python for a year or so, went through a bunch of courses on Codecademy: html, css etc. I’ve always enjoyed fiddling with computers but had thought that coding as a career was something you could only do with a Computer Science degree.
Why did you decide to join Le Wagon?
I had done a lot of self study but I didn’t know anyone in tech, it felt like a very isolated learning experience and I didn’t feel like there was a concrete goal to work towards. I went to a one-off Le Wagon workshop and realized I had been missing that collegiate atmosphere of people brought together for a common purpose. So I took a sabbatical from my school and lived on a friend’s sofa in Shanghai for three months while I attended the Web Development bootcamp. It was everything I had hoped for in that regard: ten hour days doing nothing but code and then we would go out for dinner and talk tech and startups. The ESL industry can feel very directionless so that was a massive boost. Since starting my remote job I’ve lost some of that atmosphere but the team is always talking on Slack or Zoom, plus the ability to take the morning off and go to the beach more than makes up for it.
What are you doing now?
I’m working for the same company. We have an app aimed at making payroll more accessible for franchises and small businesses. I started out writing tests but since we’re a small team I was continuously being thrown in at the deep end with new projects. Now I have ownership of an entire administration app that we use to manage our clients and analytics. I do a lot of serverless pipeline stuff with AWS and spend a lot of time building or integrating APIs and utility functions into our projects. Working remotely has been amazing, it’s given me a level of freedom that I didn’t think even existed when I finished university. When I wanted to leave China I could go and spend a month with my family in England before coming to South Africa and getting married without any interruption to my job. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t have a wife or a career without Le Wagon!
How Can You Start Your Own Journey Towards Becoming a Digital Nomad?
Those three professionals changed their career by learning to code with Le Wagon and were able to work from anywhere they like. If they can do it, why not try it yourself?
We have part-time Web & Data bootcamps beginning this August 20th. If you’re interested in switching your career, but still need to work a full-time job, this is the way to do it.
Click through one of the program banners to find more information about each program, or schedule a call with our Admissions Staff to talk about your unique situation and whether it’s a good fit.
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