Work Experience Or Going After A Degree?

Our Education Minister Heng Swee Keat shared his view on chasing paper qualifications on a recent news article on Today.

A good academic qualification alone “does not guarantee a good career”, especially in the current volatile and fast-changing economy where mismatch of skills and expectations for job-seekers could occur, Mr Heng told some 300 graduates and their parents in a speech at Temasek Polytechnic’s graduation ceremony.

I personally thinks that the problem does not *entirely lies on the students but also on the hiring companies. I graduated from Temasek Poly with an engineering diploma, after National Service, I worked as a CNC field engineer before pursing a degree from NUS Business School. Continue reading

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So, if youre a web developer or designer or just someone with a passing interest in making your own app, you can do it.Its not as difficult as it looks.It wont be easy. Your brain will hurt. Your fingers will weaken.But you will do it, and youll have the weakened fingers and strained bloodshot eyes to prove it.Go forth and app.

via From idea to AppStore in 2 weeks | Alasdair Monk.

The amazing story of how an app developed in 2 weeks got onto a #2 spot in the travel category and not sinking into Objective C. He used Ruby Motion.

a little interaction to solve the motivation problem of online learning

Unlocking the power of new technologies for self-guided education is one of the 21st century superhighways that need to be paved. Profound changes to how children access vast information is yielding new forms of peer-to-peer and individual-guided learning.

via Sugata Mitra: We Need Schools… Not Factories.

Self-Organized Learning Environment aka “SOLE” – SOLE is a term coined by Sugata Mitra. SOLEs are created when educators and/or parents encourage kids to work as a community to answer their own vibrant questions by using the internet. In other words, children no longer needs to attend schools. “SOLE” is slightly different from the things that  education startups are doing, where most of the learning takes place online. But as the two ideas starts to converge, I sure we are not too far way from Sugata’s dream.

primarily problem: the lack of motivation

The problem with online learning is retaining motivation. CodeAcademy tries to solve it with gamification, same for CodeSchool. I too lack motivation when I tried online learning. I gave up on many courses after I lack behind several lessons. (i’m sure many of you do experience this, because of your busy schedule) Out of the four courses in took in Coursera (yes, you can say I was greedy) that I chose to enroll in, I only completed “Gamification” and that was because I have friends taking it with me. Taking the lessons with friends in my opinion makes the lessons much more interesting and I can even have physical discussions / meetups which in turn sorts of triggers my motivation when I see and learn how others are doing. As for CodeAcademy, I only managed to finished their HTML and CSS class. (maybe no friends were doing it with me)

a little interaction comes a long way

I think that maybe having a little interaction – like having meetups would be great to solve the problem of online learning. Just last month, Kong started a 30 Days iOS Challenge, 20 students were selected and each of them paid S$50.00. The S$50 are returned when the students completed the course. Although it is a 30 Days Challenge, but there are only 6 offline lessons, the rest are either doing tutorials that are assigned or self-guided learning.

The 6 offline lessons are kind of like “SOLE” where all of use gather to ask questions and learn from one and other. But most importantly, as I watch others progress, it also indirectly motivates me because I would not want to be lagging behind and having friends around learning together was so much fun. Plus I made new friends too. Just this wednesday, 30 Days iOS Challenge had it’s demo day (you can watch the videos here) And Kong had turn 20 students with non-programming background in amateur iOS developers.  So maybe those who are looking to learn coding on your own and are have problems completing CodeAcademy, maybe finding a group of friends to do it together and setting a date for demo day would help propel your motivation.

finally, my pomchek go where?

PomChek Go Where?

Today is my 160 days since I started my 30 Days Challenge of learning iOS and I am very happy to share with you that I just submitted my app to app store. The name is PomChek Go Where? It is a location based app that helps you find the nearest bike shops in Singapore when you are faced with flat tire. The app is still under review and I listed the launch date to be on 20 May 2013 so I’m really looking forward. And I really thank everyone in the iOS Challenge and especially to @athanhcong, @anttyc and @yctay

 

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Businesses are able to enjoy 400% tax breaks or 60% cash payout for investments in innovation and productivity improvements under the PIC scheme.

Productivity and Innovation Credit Workshop | Plug-In@Blk71.

Startups are all about the Execution, but I also strongly believe in managing a good cashflow so I’m very careful with Intraix spending, always keeping burn rate in check and when there is a scheme to save money, I will always jump on it.

PIC is a scheme announced to help SME (including startups) to get back 60% of their spending. In other words, if you buy a MacBook Air for your employee, you will pay the full sum but you can submit a claim through PIC and you will get back 60% of the spending. “How awesome is that!“(certainly helps in my cashflow) but the application process is somewhat confusing and when I ask my some of fellow startup friends, they do not even know of these initiatives.

This Friday, Plug-In@Blk71 is holding a PIC workshop. This is an awesome opportunity for me to whack them with questions. For those who are frustrated in the application process like me, this is the time to get back your 60% cash spending.

p/s yes, MacBook is consider as a productivity tool

It is time to quit and kill that side project

Side projects are fun

I love doing side project. It is fun, it gives me time off to pick up a new skill and something I called my own. Of course, the best would be that the side project takes off and you become special. Continue reading

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When you have a long stretch when you arent bothered, you can get in the zone. The zone is when you are most productive. Its when you dont have to mindshift between various tasks. Its when you arent interrupted to answer a question or look up something or send an email or answer an im. The alone zone is where real progress is made.

via Getting Real: Alone Time by 37signals.

I feel that I get more things done when I’m alone too.

When we first started Intraix, I keep thinking that as founders we have many things to do. Things like pitching, developing products..etc etc. But looking back, I realized I am wrong. In fact, I feel that I have more free time or rather ‘alone’ time where I could sit and down and Think.

The true ‘busyness” comes when you get your First customer, because we have to devote our 101% of our commitment to them. Now that our customer base have grown, it is ever harder to find that alone time. Heading to the office is just to reply emails, phone calls and addressing our customers issues.

I’m sure many founders find it hard to have time just to do their stuff. When I have a bit of time to sit down and start jotting down my notes, the email notification appears or the phone call rings. Sure, I can turn off notification, I tried it before but the reaction from my customer will be: “hey I called/emailed you a few times, where were you?…You know the…” And this broke my chain of thoughts. Plus I do not want to do this often because this would affect (IMHO) customer satisfaction.

What I’m doing now is to wake up early at 5:30am to start my alone time and I find it the most productive time spent for it. Product roadmap, cashflow management and milestones planning are done within this period of time. I still leave emails and phone calls to the “normal working hours”. I would love to stretch this alone time longer but getting up at 4:30 is really tough. So friends and founders, please share with me if you have altnatives or better ways of getting the productivity time.

Creating my 100Km training log with Evenote and Drafts App

This week I have a group friends down over at Tokyo doing a very intense race. A race that I am too looking forward to challenge myself to. It is the Ultra-Trail MountFuji. The distance covers 161km and the cumulative altitude gain is about 9000m – it is also one of the toughest Ultra-Trail in the Asia region. As I write this post, some of my friends are still running, while a few have fallen out. Regardless, all of you are simply amazing and just having the gut to sign up for this kind of gruelling race is already an inspiration. Continue reading

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I’ve found that when faced with a set of seemingly insurmountable challenges, the first step towards making it easier is to break things down into as large a set of small individual tasks as possible.

via Justin Kan.

Indeed small wins are important.

Especially right now when I learning to code. At the initial stage, it seems almost impossible for me to understand the codes / methods taught in the appcoda. But as I break down the codes into smaller parts, the learning process is so much better and I feel much better too, because I’m able to proceed ahead instead of being stuck behind.

Taking this trick, most of what I do now are broken down into smaller parts, even my daily todo list.

Am I Good Enough For Medium?

Last Wednesday, I woke up to a surprise email from Medium; this Medium I’m now writing on. It was an invitation to join the platform, to be part of the community. Trepidation soon filled the shoes of my initial excitement. Was I good enough to write on Medium?

Am I Good Enough For Medium? — This Happened to Me — Medium.

My first writing on @Medium, why I was worried that I may not be good enough to write on Medium.

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Boston Marathon is one of the races that I aim to go and I have deep respects for the runners who are taking part. I do not have much to say about the tragic incident but I am a Runner, and this incident deeply saddens me. As I watch the news about runners who lost their limps, I could feel for them because this is the most painful thing that could happen to a runner – losing the ability to run.

I caught this post off my twitter feed, and I took down a quote on it.

Don’t glorify the terrorists and their actions by calling this part of a “war on terror.” Wars involve two legitimate sides. There’s only one legitimate side here; those on the other are criminals. They should be found, arrested, and punished. But we need to be vigilant not to weaken the very freedoms and liberties that make this country great, meanwhile, just because we’re scared.

via The Boston Marathon Bombing: Keep Calm and Carry On – Bruce Schneier – The Atlantic.

There is no doubt. We should not be scared but this also triggers the thought that I or rather us (my friends) should be more aware of our surrounding and take notice of national security. Because IMHO, most singaporeans take our national security for granted. #runstrong