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My Journey in Tech

Clarisse
she/her in Singapore and passionate about tech dev community.
・3 min read

My Story/How I Got Here

I got into tech by pure coincidence. I live in Singapore, a sunny island, or some say “the little red dot” in Asia. My route into tech was unconventional because I graduated with a degree in Business from Nanyang Technological University majoring in Marketing and was never a techie person. However, an opportunity came for me to start my first job as a marketing communications specialist and it was with a network infrastructure telecommunications company. During this time, I learned about routers, networking solutions and hardware stuff. It was really difficult to comprehend and much more challenging to write a promotion article to pitch to the media about the product. I picked up my tech understanding along the way from technical specialists to partner sales experts trying my best to understand how different aspects of the business work for the customers. Soon enough, I was able to try several marketing ideas and achieve the results I wanted.

Then midway through my career, I was given the opportunity to work in a reputable software company, to build the developer and IT professional community in Singapore. That is where I encountered the software technologies, which greatly influenced me, and I was inspired by all the things you could do with them that could help people. I started being involved in startup weekends, hackathons, and organising tech talks and hands-on labs sessions for the developer community. I enjoyed my time planning activities for the community as I get to put my marketing skills and experience into good use. I was also involved in a champions program, through which I organised several local activities to identify and recognise professionals in the community for their efforts to support similar-minded people to learn technologies better in Southeast Asia. My passion in community development grew, and I moved on to build the startup community through a Singapore investment firm backed by the government subsidiary and later on in the events industry.

The Biggest Challenge I Faced Was…

Getting to this point was not easy, there were challenges at work, loss of loved ones, and other moments in my life where I had difficulty staying strong and positive. It was the constant struggle of getting stuff done, making sure I remain creative, relevant, and giving meaning to my work, while staying on top of everything else going on in my life, including my role as a daughter, sister, friend, etc. I learned that managing these roles while not becoming burned out is not easy. There can be pandemic, politics, organisational changes, loss of loved ones and situations that sometimes cannot be avoided, to stay strong mentally, and taking care of our health is the most important.

What I’m up to Now

Fast forward to now, I am a Developer Community Manager at Vonage, managing to continue my passion for community building within tech developer communities. I enjoyed working with the communities most when I supported their ideas and solutions they are passionate about, especially in areas of sustainability, disaster relief, eldercare, and education for children. On the technical front, I've started learning how to code recently and have used the Vonage APIs to create simple solutions. I also got to use Zapier and Airtable for some integrations between apps for our team. It’s definitely fun and satisfying and I’m looking forward to doing more with codes. I'll be working on a champions program this year, and building more connections with the developer communities in Asia.

My Message for Others…

While you are actively pursuing your career and doing your best in different aspects of life, it is okay to be not okay and you don’t need to be perfect in everything. You don’t have to go through it alone. I’ve been most supported by my family, friends and colleagues who understood what I was going through and gave me the support I needed. Care for your mental health and well-being is the only thing you could do for yourself so you can do even more for others.

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