Life in M'sia · Christianity · Code

Moving to Enterprise Software

Mar 22, 2015

In my last semester of college (university, for those outside the US), I had the privilege and opportunity to learn Ruby on Rails (RoR) in Software Engineering (CS169, Spring 2012). Hitherto, I never had any "real-world" software experience — until then it was all rather theoretical, consisting of coding problems and algorithms. This was the first class in which I was actually able build a web application!

Hence, my natural inclination upon arriving back in Malaysia after graduation was to find a Ruby on Rails job (why I didn't stay on in the US is another story). And I did. After that I moved to mobile application development. Then freelance work involving mostly Ruby on Rails. Two and a half years went by in a flash, admittedly pretty short in terms of software experience.

There is no doubt that there is good demand for mobile and web application development here in Malaysia. People are always on the lookout for trustworthy and skillful developers. But, perhaps there is just too much hype surrounding local startups. I perceive that many are trying to solve problems already solved by others, albeit in a slightly different way. Or I think that they are problems that don't really need to be solved in the first place. And the fact remains that most startups fail. Given that I am a person who strongly prefers to work on software of perceptible practical worth, I frequently find myself unable to take on projects because I just don't see the point.

Secondly, I want some stability. Doing RoR is great if you eventually want to become an entrepreneur or keep working in a startup. But I find myself to be the non-entrepreneurial type who craves consistency. I would like to eventually work on harder and more complex problems instead of Yet Another CRUD App (CRUD: Create, Read, Update, Destroy). And I don't envision myself being a 40-year-old Software Engineer in Yet Another Startup.

In Malaysia, the primary programming languages are PHP, C#, and Java on the server side. If I want to be in the software industry here for the long term, I figured that I have to adapt somehow, and jump away from the RoR ship. (Leaving Malaysia for more exciting software opportunities elsewhere is not on the cards.)

But hey, startups are cool. The tools are prettier. The programming languages are sexier. The perks are better. The hours are more flexible. OS X is better than Windows. And some pay really well.

Anyways, Java isn't too bad. Guess I'll find out more on Monday, at my first corporate, business casual stint. Hopefully it would be a much longer stint than anything before. It's time to stop doing the Gen Y thing.

p.s. Maybe I'm just making this whole article up in order to craft a story to make myself feel better about the impending move.