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Career Change to Tech: A Rocketeer’s Success Story

It was 2021, the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Richard Cho arrived in Australia from Japan and was greeted by a squad of police officers at the Sydney Airport. He was promptly sent off to a hotel for the mandatory two-week quarantine.

The timing, if not the circumstance, couldn’t have been better. Quarantine aligned with the first day of a six-month intensive coding bootcamp that Richard had enrolled in, a decision that would transform his life.

This was a turning point: a significant career change.

Today, as Associate, Software Engineering, Richard is a proud Rocketeer. He describes his journey—from English teacher in a rural, countryside town in northeastern Japan to engineer in Sydney—in an informative post on the ServiceRocket Engineering blog. (If you’re considering a tech career change, his post is a must-read.)

RIchard Cho, former English teacher, with his students in Japan

Changing careers requires a leap of faith and demands self-discipline, says Richard.  

“After finishing a long day of work, it takes mental willpower and discipline to learn a new skill.” He tried to set aside at least 30 minutes to an hour each day to learn coding.

His rigor paid off. So did his decision to join ServiceRocket.

“Since day one, I was able to collaborate with and be mentored by diverse Rocketeer teams from countries such as Malaysia, Chile, America and the Philippines.”

Six months on as a Rocketeer, we checked in with Richard.

Have you settled in at ServiceRocket? How is it going?

Things are going great! I’ve successfully finished my onboarding and feel a lot more confident. I want to keep improving and tackling new challenges with the team.

In your post, you praised ServiceRocket’s supportive engineering culture. Has it helped with your successful career transition?

The culture at ServiceRocket was what attracted me to the role in the first place! I’m really grateful to be in an environment where I feel supported, can make mistakes and contribute to the team in a meaningful way.

Without doubt, these factors contributed to my successful career change. Thanks ServiceRocket!

From left: Richard Cho, Hoang Long Nguyen, Alwyn Wong, Rob Castaneda, Aidin Mahmoodi and Shilan Ma in our Sydney office

How is it, coding every day?

I find it very fun and rewarding. It’s a great feeling whenever you’re being challenged or face a problem, and then, everything just clicks. If you encounter a similar problem in the future, you can apply what you’ve learned to tackle a new challenge.

This sense of growth and development is the best part of coding.

Are there any parallels between coding and teaching English?

Yes, in some ways you need to have a reasonable understanding of the ‘language’ to be good at your role. Having said that, I don’t think those skills are the be-all and end-all. Soft skills are important too, especially since we spend so much time working with other team members.

Do you find that you’re still a teacher at heart?

Most definitely. Two junior engineers recently joined our Sydney engineering team. Having recently joined ServiceRocket myself, I understood the pain points and challenges they may face.

I did my best to Share the Knowledge and help smooth their onboarding, while encouraging them to figure out problems for themselves. In that regard, I still often find myself putting on my teacher’s hat from time to time.

Any lingering doubts about changing careers?

Not at all! I think I made the right choice and couldn’t be happier with how things have been going. Changing careers is always a risk, but I’m glad it paid off in the end.

Now that you’ve successfully mastered a new career, are you taking some time to relax?

I try to devote some free time in the day for self study but also recognize the importance of balancing physical and mental health. My aim is to stay fit by jogging in the afternoons or evenings.

I also plan to visit Melbourne soon for the first time and look forward to discovering if the coffee there is as good as everyone says.

ServiceRocket offers new and experienced coders alike a place to thrive and grow. Our amazing global benefits reward Rocketeers and look after their wellbeing and financial future. Ready to be part of an inclusive and diverse community that has your back? Join us.

Tech offers opportunity.

The XST Blog


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