Bright Lights, Startup City: GA Alum To Launch Quantified-Self App Late 2014

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Cindy Yen Image

Cindy Yen moved from Taipei to Hong Kong in pursuit of a finance career; but was soon diverted by the bright lights of business and design. When she decided to act upon her newfound interest, Cindy signed up for GA’s Front-End Web Development class. Now she’s using her skills to develop her first startup, a quantified-self app launching in late 2014.

1. What were you doing before you came to GA? What are you doing now?

I moved to Hong Kong from Taipei after university to pursue a career in finance. However, I realised that I am more interested in business and design.

Today, I lead the insights team at fluid, a creative strategy agency with integrated design and digital capabilities. We create branding and marketing strategies to help our clients achieve influence at scale. In addition to fluid, I am the founder of Glance, a qualified-self app launching in late 2014.

2. Why did you decide to take our Front-End Web Development course?

I have a lot of ideas, and have always wanted to prototype some of them digitally. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to bring your ideas to life.

I’ve tried everything available: Threehouse, Codecademy, Coursera, you name it. I could answer all of the questions they asked, but if you were to throw a laptop at me and ask me to build a website, I wouldn’t know where to start. I needed help to make sense of it,  and I learn better in a classroom environment with people around me.

3. What was your favourite part of your experience here at GA?

The instructors were amazing. They were always available – during and after the course. They also made sure what we were learning catered to our personal objectives, and they would tailor the materials to help each and every one of us achieve our goals.

I also met an awesome group of friends at FEWD. It’s important to have fun and have people around you to keep you motivated throughout the process.

4. How did we help you with achieving your goals?

They spent time to understand what I want to build /achieve, and contextualised it for me by breaking it down to smaller steps I need to take to get there. This would never be possible if you’re on your own or learning from an online course.

They provided materials relevant to my needs. They know what’s out there that could be helpful to me, and they guide me to it.

5. What were the top 3 things you learned from the course that are most helpful to your current projects?

  • GitHub – code management. I couldn’t put more emphasis on how important this is. GitHub is important to anyone interested in the digital world – developers, designers, project managers, entrepreneurs, etc.
  • Code optimisation – it’s not just about writing code. It’s about writing good code that could sustain and easily be updated and perfected even if you have a trillion lines of it. There is enough bad code out there – let’s write good code.
  • Logic – the course is designed in a way that would introduce a good structure/logic of frontend development to your mind. This is important once you are done with the course and start working on projects on your own. You will have a clear picture of where to start and what to do.

6. Life after GA: What happened next? And what’s in store for you?

After GA, I left my job in finance to spend some time on my startup, Glance, a quantified-self app launching in late 2014, and I built the website for my startup from scratch.

I now work for fluid, a creative strategy agency. fluid is an integrated agency with in-house design and development teams. While my current role is focused on insights and strategy, it’s great being able to speak the developers’ language and understand how everything – UXUI, fronted, backend – fits together.

In this day and age, it’s impossible to separate brand strategy from digital strategy. Knowing the nitty gritty of the digital world has given me a new insight to analyse brands and how they interact with their audience digitally – and design brand strategies that could help our clients optimised their presence in the digital world.

Learn More About Front-End Web Development Here