One of our most beloved educators, Stephanie Swee charms her class with her unique personality and background in Cyber Security!
A board game aficionado with past work experience in the IT industry, she aspires to bring the same level of enthusiasm to her classroom and pass on her passion for coding to her students. Travel with us through her journey into becoming a Coding Lab Educator! 😄
Hi Stephanie! It’s great to meet you, can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi everyone! I’m currently a full-time educator at Coding Lab and my passion is teaching and helping others. When I’m not teaching, I spend my time with my family, reading books and playing board games. I’m an avid board gamer. After my Saturday class, it’s usually time for my board games night with my friends. I really love playing logic and deduction games!
How did you get started with coding?
As a kid, coding was not something popular in school. I never knew much about coding until I was 16, when I first took my information technology diploma. It was then where I picked up coding. It never crossed my mind that one day coding would be a part of my life, until I entered the workforce and realized that there were a lot of repetitive tasks to be done, that could be automated by putting my coding skills to good use. My inspiration to code is really to save the time on these tasks and spend more time on other tasks.
I see! What was your inspiration for taking up a diploma in the field of technology?
My inspiration stemmed from an encounter with my lecturer during my Polytechnic days who shared with me her previous work experience in Cybersecurity which got me intrigued. Hence, I decided to pursue a specialisation in information security. I remember in one of my classes, my lecturer actually set up a scene similar to that seen in Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) for us to get into the mood and everything. It was the most fun and memorable class that I had ever attended. The exposure and experience that I gained then really piqued my interest in pursuing a career in the Cybersecurity industry as a Forensic Analyst.
That’s interesting! How was the start of your coding journey?
It was tough at first. During my time, I think the resources were not as extensive as now. I remember how my best companions at that time were always the documentations and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which allowed different platforms to interact with each other. I had to be independent and learn to figure out everything by myself and search for information on my own.
Times certainly have changed. Can you elaborate more on that and also tell us what your experience in Cybersecurity has taught you about coding?
I think pursing a technology related degree and diploma at a time where it was not popular, gave me this serendipity that really changed my life goals. Nowadays, I feel that coding is becoming more popular at a young age and the mindset of people pursuing technology for higher education has changed greatly. There are so many programming languages available. Moreover, learning coding has also been made more simplified and fun for everyone to pick up, and the resources online are so extensive that it’s easier to find solutions.
I’m glad that I took this route as I feel that coding will always be the most useful and in-demand skill that I can provide through teaching.
That’s great to hear. When did you decide to become an educator?
I have always liked to share my knowledge with others and the other half of my life has also revolved around teaching. During my school vacation, I was doing relief teaching in a preschool. After I graduated, I did relief teaching at an MOE based school for about 4 months and afterwards, I volunteered at a non-profit organisation to give free English reading classes to underprivileged kids for about 2 years while i was working. To be honest, teaching was my retirement plan but I have decided to “retire” earlier instead since I already had plans to do this, why not now as I really do love to interact with people more than computers!
What is your main source of motivation for teaching?
Personally I love kids and being with them sometimes has taught me to always live in the moment. I love to see the smiles on their faces when they have fun. I also find myself learning a lot from them as well. Being able to share my knowledge with everyone and seeing the students learn new concepts really gives me satisfaction.
“The students are really heart-warming and sweet. They really make me look forward to going to classes.”
Tell us more about your experience here in Coding Lab!
The learning environment at Coding Lab is very conducive and everyone is really nice and passionate about teaching. I think they ignite the drive in me to be a better educator every day. Seeing the students be able to make a project on their own really makes me go the extra mile to do something different for them. I think the most satisfying moment that I had was my first App Inventor class. Seeing the students start out with no background but remain so invested in developing the application made me feel good knowing that they enjoy coding!
How do you conduct your classes here?
I would try to project my voice to gain their attention. I give them plenty of encouragement and I would also share interesting stories with them. Patience and having an attitude to constantly learn really helps me a lot. I always share with my students that I also learn alongside with them and I’m not afraid of letting them know that. Even if I make mistakes, I would correct it and find solutions for it.
Why do you think it’s important to teach coding to the next generation?
Learning the syntax is easy. The logical thinking behind the program is the most challenging part of coding. Behind a good program is a good coder who implements the brains. The most beneficial part of coding is definitely the process of conditioning the brain for logical thinking. Logical thinking can be applied everywhere, not just in coding. For example, we can look at cooking! The recipes are all steps that are well thought out so that the cook can whip out the dishes easily and likewise, coding follows a similar path!
“Even if one day my students decided to pursue other interests, this logical thinking would be the best gift for them in their life.”
Do you have any advice for others who may be looking to transition into being an Educator?
Besides having passion for teaching, having a nurturing attitude and creativity is important.
Thank you for your time, Stephanie! We hope that you continue to learn from your students as they excel under you. We appreciate your enthusiasm for your classes!
(Written by Lech, edited by Thinzar)
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