How a Passion for Patients turned this Pharmacist into a Software Developer with Newvick Lee (S7E5)

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Newvick LeeNewvick Lee used to work as a pharmacist helping people with mental health issues. But today, he shares how he transitioned into a career software development without a computer science degree.

After learning how to make websites and write basic code from a friend, Newvick tried out his skills to automate a tedious process in his workplace. His work significantly reduced the task time from two hours to a few seconds, and along the way, Newvick realized that he had a passion for improving the way people work.

From there, Newvick switched careers and went into software development. And today, Newvick Lee is a software developer at WealthBar, a Canadian FinTech company. He’s also working on Habitmon, a chatbot that helps with building habits.

In this episode, Newvick talks about transitioning careers, the differences between working with a few people versus a group of 40, and advice for those considering a change to a tech career, even without a computer science degree. He also gets into the struggles of being self-taught and the value of working on side projects as a profitable means of learning.

Laurence Bradford 0:00
Hey, my name is Laurence Bradford and thank you for tuning in to the Learn to Code With Me podcast. Today I'm speaking with someone who transitioned from a pharmacist to being a software developer. All of that is coming up after a quick word from our partner.

Laurence Bradford 0:08
Interview Cake is an online resource that helps you prep for interviews so you can land your dream job in tech. To find out more and get 20% off go to Again, the URL is

Laurence Bradford 0:30
And we're back. In today's episode I talk with Newvick Lee. Newvick is a full time software engineer at a fintech company in Canada called Wealth Bar. Now he's also working on a side project called Habitmon, which is a chat assistant to help people build daily effective habits. The reason why I reached out to Newvick is because I love his story. In his first career, he worked as a pharmacist where he helped people with mental health issues. He got started creating software then to improve his pharmacists ability to care for patients. And that's exactly what we're going to be talking about today. How Newvick made the transition from pharmacist to software engineer without a computer science degree, the importance of working on side projects when you're learning to code and the advice he has for people who want to make the tech career transition. If you want to change into tech and have no formal degree, this interview is for you. Enjoy.

Laurence Bradford 1:49
Hey, Newvick, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Newvick Lee 1:53
Thanks for inviting me.

Laurence Bradford 1:54
Yeah, I'm really excited to speak with you today. And I'm just gonna get right into the questions if you don't mind. I was looking at your background, I was really impressed with your transition. And I just want to know, since you don't have a computer science degree, how did you first get into software development, learning to code, especially from a background of being a pharmacist.

Newvick Lee 2:15
So my career has not been to traditional. Like I said, I don't have CS degree and actually didn't really get interested in programming coding quite late. So after I graduated pharmacy school, I worked as a pharmacist for a couple of years. And during that time, I definitely had more time compared to when I was in school. So exploring more different things inside projects or hobbies. And at a time I met a person who programmed for a living like, I don't think I knew anyone who did before then. So I was really unrelated to the tech world. And that friend introduced me to making websites and how to do basic coding projects to automate things and I found that was really interesting. Like just a few lines of code, and you can automate something that takes a few hours into something that takes less than a second. So I started making these small projects. And then I realized that during during my pharmacy job, there are some tasks that you can do that were quite manual. And I saw that there's a potential to automate. For example, there's one task we had to do, where you had to look at a spreadsheet, and you had to find out which prescriptions were due in the next month. So if you actually go through those thousands of rows by by manually, it will take maybe up to two hours. And then I realized that that's actually a simple task that coding could do. So I wrote a small program, I think is under 100 lines long. And then when I introduced it to the PMC, it worked amazingly, and it took down the process from two hours to less than a second because that's that's how powerful programs are. And after doing that, I realized how interesting it was. And how much I enjoyed doing these things. So that's how I got started in programming.

Laurence Bradford 4:04
Yeah, that's such a cool story. And it actually reminds me of someone that we had on the podcast. Oh boy, I would need my notes in front of me it was either season five or season six, but his name was to meet Saini and he worked at Heathrow Airport as a security guard. And I forget exactly how we first got introduced, but it was very similar as in he was on the job and you want to automate certain processes to make aspects of the Heathrow security system more efficient and streamlined. And that's how we first got started. And it really just like, took his career so much further. And now, last I checked, he like runs it for the security team at Heathrow. But I think that's so neat how you used the skills that you were learning outside of work to improve like your work at that time. You know, I know your background and I know you don't currently work still as a pharmacist, so How did that happen? Like, how long are you still working as a pharmacist while doing coding on the side and automating your job as a pharmacist?

Newvick Lee 5:09
I think I was probably coding for a year still, when I was a pharmacist. So I had that one project where I was looking at the prescription due dates, I had another pharmacy project where I made this small app to monitor the values for patients taking a medication called closet peen. So that was pretty fun. I think that's the biggest project I did, before I transitioned to a software developer. But after doing that project, I realized that there's so much potential for not just auditing things, but for reducing workload and improving productivity as a programmer and not not just as a developer, but in so many different industries. I thought I really want to get into this and really wanted to transition. So at that point, probably around like a two year mark when I work, working as a pharmacist, I started at the But how I can do that. But I didn't really have any other context other than that one friend so cycled school to a hackathon at my local city and our theme there was about open data. Again, I pitched a pharmacy related project. And there's one person who wants to work with me on that project. And after we finished that hackathon, he asked me what I did and what what my future plans were at home. Yeah, so I thought I don't have any tech background. I do have these projects. They did. And I'm interested in transitioning. And luckily, he happened to be hiring for a developer. So we got the chatting and talked about some more things. We didn't really have an interview because I think during the hackathon, he could actually see how I worked. And that was probably more insightful than any interview because hackathons are usually like at least one or two days and this one was two days law. So then I started doing the transition. And then I just switched over to his company

Newvick Lee 7:03
right after.

Laurence Bradford 7:04
So you never like were actively applying for full time software positions. You sort of met someone at a hackathon. They kind of like, offered you a position and then you went in left your job and started in software development full time.

Newvick Lee 7:20
Yeah, pretty much I think I've been incredibly lucky for getting that first job. Because for a fortune company's finances didn't go so well afterwards. I tube for my second job, which the one I'm currently at, I actually had to do the chop, chop looking process and everything. And yeah, that was painful.

Laurence Bradford 7:37
Okay, gotcha. But I guess maybe for the listeners, we should establish you're in Canada, right?

Newvick Lee 7:43
Oh, yeah. Vancouver,

Laurence Bradford 7:44
okay. And in you know, I'm in the US in Well, we have listeners all around the world, but same majority are in the US. The I don't know if it's different in Canada, but the process for pharmacy school is very intense in the US. Like it's like you have to I think it's it's not just For your program, it's more than that. And I know it's very rigorous. Is that the same in Canada?

Newvick Lee 8:05
Yes, it's pretty much exact same like it. They're interchangeable. If you get a degree in Canada, you can work in states and vice versa.

Laurence Bradford 8:13
Okay, gotcha. So, while I'm thinking, I'm like, wow, you went through all this work and effort to become a pharmacist, and then you left pharmacy, like, you, you know, got a job after you left. So what led to that? Like, were you just didn't find it as fulfilling? Or you just were very excited by software engineering, or?

Newvick Lee 8:32
Yeah, that's a good question. Yeah, I spent maybe like, what, five, six years in that industry, including education? I think the moment that's this is really a metro for me is when I made that program to all the main finding prescription due dates per scene that that program bring down the task from like two hours to less than a second. I can't tell you how. Amazing that was like, it was so painful just looking through every especially bro and finding that but being able to do that, and just in just a short program, I thought that this is this is definitely what I want to do in the future.

Laurence Bradford 9:14
Yeah, that's really cool. And when you wrote that first program, what language or technology were you using? Cuz I'm also thinking, aren't there a lot of regulations like in pharmacies, like, I imagine with like their computers like things you can and can't do?

Newvick Lee 9:31
Yeah, so do it. They have lots of restrictions on the computer, but this was just a local. So I wrote it in Python. And there's a local script, it didn't require any external dependencies, and I didn't have to look for any other API's. So I just download the spreadsheet file from our local pharmacy software and then just plug that in into the farm Python program. And this fella another spreadsheet, so it's all local and there's nothing to worry about on security side.

Laurence Bradford 10:00
Gotcha. I'm just laughing because I'm like imagining like in other jobs or other professions, you could just bring the work home with you. But there it's like it can't just bring home like people like I'm sure it's like sensitive data, right that you're like kind of working with.

Newvick Lee 10:12
Oh, yeah, extremely sensitive data, like a patient's first name, last name, address, and everything's all there. So yeah, you can't really take it home. But

Laurence Bradford 10:19
But you were able to do it at the at the pharmacy while you were working and all that.

Newvick Lee 10:25
Oh, yeah. Let's keep it to that story. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 10:29
Just really context for myself and the listeners. How long ago was this? Like when you first started coding when you're still working as a pharmacist? How many years ago at this point, or pretty recent? Wow.

Newvick Lee 10:40
Yeah. So it's, that's an interesting story. So today is like the first one full year that I've been at this company. And let me see here. I've so I've been working software developer for two years now. Yeah. And I think I started just dabbling in these in program projects.

Newvick Lee 11:00
Three years ago,

Laurence Bradford 11:02
so it took me about a year to get. Wait.

Newvick Lee 11:06
Yeah, yeah. So exactly like you said me about a year when I was working as a pharmacist to feel comfortable to start looking for a job. And then I've been working as a developer for two years. Got it? And then how long were you a pharmacist for? AWS pharmacist for two years.

Laurence Bradford 11:23
Okay, so about the same now, right, like same amount of work experience from pharmacy to and now as a software

Newvick Lee 11:29
developer, for sure.

Laurence Bradford 11:31
Gotcha. Okay, so we just got your whole background with the pharmacy and all of that in your first job, which now you're actually not there. You're working at a FinTech company, right?

Newvick Lee 11:42
Yep, yep.

Laurence Bradford 11:44
Cool. So, were you planning to work in FinTech? Did that sort of just come about? Because I feel like someone with your experience would be really helpful in like a med tech kind of industry.

Newvick Lee 11:57
Yeah, so that's, that's another good question. So after the first company went down, I actually had to go through a job locking process. And I was actually interested in med tech, health tech, that sort of thing because I thought, okay, I do have a background there. And I do have that interest there. But the thing was when I started applying to these I met second house companies, they required either a lot of software experience or a lot of research clinical experience. And I had neither. So it was difficult to get into that. So I started looking into other companies that I thought I had a more of shot at. This company turned out to be a great fit for me, for culture wise and also skill wise.

Laurence Bradford 12:42
Got it? That's interesting about the clinical experience on research experience at the health tech med tech. quick side note, could you Is there a difference between those two things I love talking about like the different sectors of technology. Is there a difference between med tech and health tech?

Newvick Lee 13:02
Some people will probably say so but actually, I don't think there really is a difference in my point of view.

Laurence Bradford 13:07
Yeah, I mean, I don't know I was asking I was like I okay cuz I guess Matt could be just medicine

Newvick Lee 13:12
maybe or I guess it could be a health could be like maybe like physical therapy or something. Yeah, yeah, that's a good point maybe helps more broad.

Laurence Bradford 13:20
Yeah, like even like a fitness app or something. Or like the thing I always get commercials for noon, noon, the weight loss I'm talking about. I don't know if they have as many on I have Hulu, Hulu, live TV. And I swear, like, every break, there's a new commercial, which is like I guess it's an app that uses psychology to help you lose weight, but I feel like that's kind of like it. I guess it was developed by doctors. By slicked back to almost be Yeah, like health. More.

Unknown Speaker 13:47
Yeah. Like health tech.

Laurence Bradford 13:49
Yeah. Well, anyhow, so you work at a FinTech company, but that's very broad, like what is your company now specialize in what do you do there?

Newvick Lee 13:58
So the company is A consumer robo advisor company. So what that means is, I guess, if you're interested in investing your money, you do have a few options, you can either do it yourself, or you can go to a financial advisor who helps you invest and takes a cut of that. So if you go to financial visor, they usually take quite a big cut. And then if you invest yourself, you really have to have that savvy knowledge of what you're doing. Otherwise, there's a risk of losing quite a bit of money or all your money, especially if you try to time the market and you're not too aware of what's happening. So the middle route here is a robo advisor where we will take a look at your risk assessment, see, see what sort of portfolio that would match your risk. And then when you invest money in that risk portfolio, you can get a sense of what you're getting into. And also because I love that this thing is automated. The cuts that we're taking is lower as well. So that's why I say aboard the middle of Route four People who want something that is not yourself, but something that is reliable as well.

Laurence Bradford 15:05
Yeah, gotcha. And then what what is your role look like there? I mean, again, I feel like you're the one the one similarity I see from pharmacy to FinTech and what you're doing now is like sensitive data, right? Like you're working with a lot of sensitive data, like health records, like finding people's like, are probably inputting their social security number and things are actually I'm sorry, here in Canada. I don't know. Do you guys have social security? Yeah, social security numbers and all this other personal data? Are you working with data like that now? Are you working on something that an aspect of the product that isn't? You know, that isn't maybe with the user data, it's more so outward facing or something?

Newvick Lee 15:43
Yeah, that that's actually a really good point. I never had anyone pointed out to me that I'm still working with extremely sensitive data, like social insurance numbers and personal address and all that. So yes. So working on that and what my role is, well, when I first got started, I think I'll place into our data integrity team. So what that means is that it's basically allotting all the external data we get and making sure that it matches our data model. So for example, we will get tons of finance data from different organizations, maybe some places to get our stock market prices, some other places to get our trades and ourselves and things like that, and maybe a few different places to get all that data, because a lot of legacy reasons. And then everyone has their own data format. And we have to make sure that the data format they give us, we transform that into something that matches how our the model works. So something that makes sense within the business, and that that's actually a bit of a grungy work in terms of like data transformations and whatnot. But it's really interesting because it helps me helps you'll learn more about the database aspect and data models which is really crucial and something I think alaba self taught developers don't quite get. So I think I was pretty fortunate getting that experience.

Laurence Bradford 17:07
And I imagine that well, first of all, data integrity team or data integrity sounds like so intense. Like, that sounds like I work on the data integrity team. Like that sounds like whoa, like. And I was going to say that I imagine, you know, a lot about like security best practices and things related to that. Like, I know, cybersecurity is a really huge field, but I would guess that's very top of mind for you.

Newvick Lee 17:33
I don't work on the security aspect. So fortunately, Walkman, I don't know how you play, but they are on different teams. So and we also contract some of the security to experts as well. As a FinTech of it. You really do have sets of information and security is is really difficult to get right.

Laurence Bradford 17:54
Yeah, that that makes sense. How big is the company that you work at now?

Newvick Lee 17:59
Oh, question. I think there's 40 something people right now.

Laurence Bradford 18:03
Okay, so it's it's fairly small and it's not like, yes, like a super small startup. That's only 10 people, but it's also not like a couple hundred and then obviously beyond sort of company. So you're working on a pretty small team then like the data integrity team, I would imagine didn't have that many people on it, right.

Newvick Lee 18:21
So, like expert developers, I think there's only like

Newvick Lee 18:26
10 to 15 right now. Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah.

Laurence Bradford 18:29
Is that compared to the last company that you worked at, which we didn't really I guess talk too much about but were they similar sized or

Newvick Lee 18:38
know the first company at work? That was only a few people.

Laurence Bradford 18:42
So what's like the experience like working at a bigger place now compared to one that was so small?

Newvick Lee 18:49
When the first place it was small, but then I'd like to how like I had direct access to the founder. So I can ask him any questions. That I want to end it and I didn't have to feel like I was bothering him because it's a really small team. But on the other hand, I think working with a larger team, anything where you have they're more intangible players, you'd need some sort of process to, to handle and I think I got a good sense of how our teamwork work within our development team and how, how we do a code reviews for a larger project. And a lot of that process of round that you wouldn't run into when you're on the smaller team. So that's pretty interesting.

Laurence Bradford 19:35
Yeah, I feel like there's definitely pros and cons to both and it kinda depends on the person, but I personally, I was never worked at a really large company. But the last full time job I had at a startup, I started when it was under 20 people a little bit and then left when I don't know 80 or 100. I sort of lost track but I really liked when it was a small team, but I feel like Want when you're on a bigger team and especially like a developer team, that there's more opportunity to learn from more senior people around you and maybe more mentorship and more guidance that you don't really have at a smaller company, which can be good or bad, I guess, depending on depending on the person, you know, if you really like your autonomy and independence and don't want a lot of meetings or checkpoints, and maybe you know, a smaller company is good for you. But yes, definitely interesting to think about. And I wanted to, I'm going to switch gears a little bit here, because I know that you're really a big champion of project based learning or project beat your approach to learning to code. And you spoke a bit earlier about the projects that you built early on and how you actually got your first job through a hackathon. Could you talk a bit about that? Like, how much of your learn to code journey that first year or so was just based on projects? Did you take any courses? Did you read any books like what was the balance of that like?

Newvick Lee 20:59
Yeah, so I really like that project based learning approach because I think for most people, it's practical. So if you're, if you haven't got a start in like programming in your teens, then most likely you weren't interested because of natural curiosity. But what what, what can get you interested is through a project, maybe it's like you all you want to automate your gardening or some other aspect of your job, it becomes a lot more interesting because he have a personal stake to it. And then once you feel like once you have that personal motivation to do something, everything becomes a lot more interesting. And that's why I really advocate that project based learning and what your other questions get.

Laurence Bradford 21:46
Oh, well, I was I was also curious, like, when you first started learning what was the balance between like just going at it building projects versus like taking courses or reading books or you know, any kind of learning that isn't building something, basically

Newvick Lee 22:00
Okay, I see. So I guess could use example I'll talk about that web app, that app I made to monitor lab values. So on one hand, that's definitely a very concrete project that you can solve, but the specifics are, but when I was learning that I actually made a short list of things that I knew I had to understand in order to do that project. For example, on the front end, in order to make a user interface, I had to understand what HTML and CSS were. So I had that doubt, as a sort of a sub project and what sort of resources I could use to learn that. And then I also need to learn JavaScript because well, you do, what's your interface to be somewhat interactive? And so I thought, Okay, what can I do to learn JavaScript? Okay, I found this course. So, after learning using that course, I think I probably have a good grasp of JavaScript. And then I thought, Okay, so the next step to do That to this project is that I'll have to understand some sort of back end web framework. What should I do? So I looked online and see saw that really simple one to get started with is flask, or I could do Django, which is more fully fledge. Okay, I'll pick on these and then pick a resource there and then learn that resource in order to learn how back end web development work and then also need a database. And then same process look for a resource to learn how database work. So even though it's project based, I knew I had to learn a certain component because I didn't have that knowledge. So I had to pick a resource to learn that and then continue on with the next step of project.

Laurence Bradford 23:43
I really like how you broke everything down and sort of like reverse engineered what you needed to learn to do you know, x thing that was like a smaller piece of the greater project. Logistically speaking I'm just curious, did you like write this down like did you have Like whether it was like a Google Doc page, or maybe project management system was a piece of paper like, did you have like kind of a plan of all this stuff you needed to do?

Newvick Lee 24:09
Yeah, that's a good point. So I don't know if you've seen this, but that this is a roadmap to front end development. And it's like, hundred nodes in that. And when you see that, for the first time you feel, how do I learn all that? Thou politic years into oil to learn everything in front, just front end development. So I can see how people would feel really overwhelmed if you just saw that roadmap for the very first time. And I think I was lucky in that I had a friend who did programming for a living so he was able to help me narrow that down for me, and kind of help me understand the core things that I needed to do in order to accomplish that, in order to finish that project. And I think I just had it done in a Google Doc somewhere. It wasn't too intense. I didn't have any crazy project management, software or anything like that.

Laurence Bradford 25:00
Yeah, I actually do know what you're talking about that that flow chart or it's like online, it's kind of like interactive, right? You can click and it has all these branches that go with it. I haven't looked at that forever. But I, because we have an article on the on my website where we mentioned that and I think we link out to it, and it was kind of old. But we'll have to find that again and have it as a link for people to check out in the show notes. Because, yeah, it definitely is overwhelming, though. I know what you're talking about, cuz there's so many things. But it's like, you don't need to learn all the things you need to just focus on, you know, certain things that are going to help you towards your goal, whatever that may be. So when you were explaining all of that, and all of like, the things you did to build this app for where you were working at the time, how long did that take you to do like to not just plan it then to you know, do the course on JavaScript and what have you and then actually build this thing?

Newvick Lee 25:55
Yes, so I still working as far as solid as doing this on the side. So it ended Take definitely take a long wait if you were doing this full time, I think it took me around six months or so to get something up and running that was functional. Yeah, but looking back on that call, would I, which I did recently or is horrible.

Laurence Bradford 26:19
And I feel like if like six months I don't know I guess depending on who's listening that may sound like a long time that may not sound like a long time but you were learning as you did this so it was like you were not just you know, building something with all the knowledge you already had you were teaching yourself as you went along. And as you said, You weren't doing it full time. It was like a thing you were doing outside your main job so maybe like if you had to guess like how many hours a day like on average like one or two or were you doing like a lot of hours,

Newvick Lee 26:50
probably like around two hours and then maybe a bit more on the weekend. Got it if I had time but it just really buried if I have time. I'll do it some if I didn't know For the next week,

Laurence Bradford 27:01
yeah, so one of the most common like, things that people ask me when I talk about, you know, side projects, or just building a project to learn how to code, practice project based learning, is they'll say, I don't know what to build. So maybe you have this question to from people reaching out to you who have heard your story. Do you have any ideas on how a person could figure out something to build?

Newvick Lee 27:28
Yeah, that's a interesting question, I see is, is two parts. So that may be something in your work, or maybe something in your personal life, for example, for your work older, you'll definitely have something that you can automate. So I think one way you can do that is like a list of things that you do at work everyday and think about what were some of the things that are more manual and things that you think you really hate doing? And those are things that you might have the biggest chance of ordering because if you hear that much, you'll be that mole of beer to automate. So that that's different that's in your work for your personal life. There's definitely things that are definitely ways to look at a side project ideas, for example, but what do you really spend your time doing? And

Newvick Lee 28:21
I don't think it's good to be

Newvick Lee 28:24
to criticizing yourself, like, if you'd like to spend a lot of time on Twitter, that's cool. I do that as well. And maybe you can make a Twitter bot to help you tweet so that you know how to tweet as much. Or you can make a Twitter bot to look at other people's tweets and then collect the most popular ones. Something like that. Like wherever you spend your time on, use that as a side project, because that's, that's definitely one area that you're interested in for sure.

Laurence Bradford 28:51
So we spoke already about how your first job in tech when you left being a pharmacist you got through a hackathon, which is kind of low Through a project that you are working on now for your next job where you're currently at, did side projects help you at all in your job search or like maybe during your job interview or getting noticed by the person who like the hiring manager?

Newvick Lee 29:17
Yeah, interesting question. I think for the this current job, it was a really traditional process. So I, I felt like I had to take a course to understand basic algorithms and data structures. And after doing that, I felt more prepared for the interviews because tech interviews, rather were see the day will ask you something about an algorithm and then asks you to solve it either on the computer on the or on the whiteboard. So I had a few of those and I knew that I had to really learn that and practice that. So that's one aspect that helped me and then I think, projects didn't really help me as much, but they will help me in to show that Okay. Here's a A guy who's interested in programming because he does things on the side. And he's interested in learning. But I think that's that's the extent that which projects helped me on my resume. So it is really traditional. And that's had to do that tech interview, the regular interview and hustle, side project.

Laurence Bradford 30:20
Got it. Got it. So it sounds like you did take time to prep for the technical interviews that you were going to be having. But you didn't really have that in your first experience. like you'd have like a proper tech interview, but for the next round of job searching you did you were getting ready for that?

Newvick Lee 30:38
Yeah, yeah, I definitely did. So a scar like reddits and looked at what people did to river tech abuse and just followed some persons.

Newvick Lee 30:49
Similarly credible advice. I think it worked out.

Laurence Bradford 30:52
Yeah. Well, it sounds like it did because you're, you know, you have a job now and you're working there. So sounds like um, and as I speak to you, I just Feel like? I just feel like because of your pharmacy background and all of the rigorous schooling that you went through already to become a pharmacist, I would imagine that like practicing for a tech interview would come easier to you than it could for someone else, which is like a good thing. Because again, you have like this really. It's intense count, like medical backgrounds that you went to school for. So, yeah, that's, I mean, it's really it's really awesome. And we've haven't had anyone on the show yet, which is why I really wanted to speak to you who had transitioned from, I want to say even any medical profession into tech. I would like to have more on in the future. But yeah, I think it's really cool. So the other thing I want to ask you about is because you are a career changer and you were you know, obviously pharmacy and now you're working as a software engineer at a FinTech company. Have you ever felt like any kind of imposter syndrome or like, oh, wow, I'm really in over my head right now or anything like that?

Newvick Lee 31:58
Oh, yeah, I thought that's cool. Quite Actually, I still feel it now. And I think it's because when you're self taught there's so many so many gaps in your knowledge about pretty much everything. So so that's you feel like you don't know anything but for some reason you're able to hack on sort of feature and actually release it. And you just cross your fingers and hope nothing breaks, which I do every time I released a master But yeah, I don't know there's a new way around that and and just try to do your best and there's a learning where your gaps are and trying to fill in the gaps as you can. And as you go, Didi senior developers I work with, they have years and years of experience, and I still see like, they still say, Oh, I don't know how to do this or sometimes. So I don't think that you all know everything, even with like 10 or 20 years of experience because technology changes so fast. So

Laurence Bradford 32:58
yeah. Yeah, that's a very good point. And I feel like especially when new technologies like come about, it's, it's kind of nice because it levels the playing field because I'm just thinking of things like, you know, the future tech stuff like artificial intelligence and VR. And these things are sort of in their infancy, it's like no one can have that much experience with that, when it's such a new technology. You know, you can't be like, I've been doing VR for 20 years, you know, because, yeah, it's not possible. So I like to think about that, especially for beginners. Like, it's kind of leveled the playing field in some way. Let me see what else we have here. Because we don't have too much time left. I want to make sure I ask everything that I think the listeners would love to hear from someone like your experience. So well, I guess I guess I'd be curious as one of our final questions to know if you're still doing side projects today and 2020 now that you've been working, you know, in the field for some time.

Newvick Lee 33:53
Yes, I still working on the side project. It's called habit one and it's a chat bot. To help people build habits effectively. So I know that there's tons and tons of a habit projects. Like, I feel like every developer has a habit project, or had had one at some point. But I think what, what I like about this is that it's an opportunity for me to learn some of the more future tech like AI, machine learning and natural language processing, and it's something I use myself. So I do have a personal stake in it. And I don't know for some reason I wasn't interested in like these content assistants, just a movie called that was it called deus ex machina, where the movies about the first AI that passed the Turing test, and after watching that I became really interested in and how software could really help people make better decisions. Like right now software is, is really for all really helpful for ordering things. But what was Like you can get feedback from a program about something you're doing right now. And then it can help you course, correct example, like you're doing a sales interview, and then the other person is starting to back off from that. And then a ss, oh, some other person had a similar situation and solve it in this way. Why don't you try that? And then we'll have that conversation. You receive that feedback? And then you course correct right away because of that. So if you like that, that is really interesting to me. And I really want to do something in that field. So that's why I'm trying to work on the side project.

Laurence Bradford 35:34
That's really cool. And it actually reminds me of when you're chatting, there is a I guess FinTech a financial app

Unknown Speaker 35:43
that I guess it's like a chat bot.

Laurence Bradford 35:46
It's called Cleo. Have you heard of it?

Newvick Lee 35:49
Oh, so in Canada, there's a law software company called Clio. I haven't heard that the FinTech window. It's so

Laurence Bradford 35:56
it's an iPhone app. I have it we can talk about after the after. To the show, because it may not be too relevant to people, but I think it'd be something that really interests you because it's also really funny like the way it messages you. It's like it is like a human. But you know, it's obviously not I think it's why it's named cloaks. It's like, supposed to like a friend, but she'll, like she'll I say, she'll, like it's, she'll send you alerts, like during the week or during the day, like, guess how much you spent on Amazon in the last seven days. And then you can click and then she'll kind of show like, she'll message you though through a chat to give you like financially personal finance spending updates, and she'll kind of like track your trends and stuff. It's really interesting. But anyhow, that just came to mind when you were speaking. Okay, the final question I want to ask you, is if you just have any parting advice for the listeners who are transitioning into tech, or would like to transition into tech from an unrelated field like yourself?

Newvick Lee 36:49
I think the most important thing is just to keep on trying different things like, like in software, we have this thing called like integrating until if something works out, I think that works for this process as well. Like it, let's say you're working your first project, but you find that you know, you're not really interested in after a month, that's okay. Just give, just give up on that. And then work on different projects, maybe that one will take you further. And just keep on working on different projects until you find something that works for you. And then maybe eventually, at that point, you will be good enough to transition full time. But really keep on trying. That's all I can say.

Laurence Bradford 37:28
Awesome. Well, that is great. A great thought to end things on. Thank you so much, again for coming on the show. And where can people find you online?

Newvick Lee 37:37
Yeah, so I try to keep my personal website updated, And the other place you might find me is on Twitter @newvicklee.

Laurence Bradford 37:47
Awesome. We'll make sure to link those out. And thanks again for coming on the show.

Newvick Lee 37:51
Thanks, Lawrence.

Laurence Bradford 37:56
Thanks for listening today. If you missed anything or would like to recap, you can find the show notes at If you're listening to this episode in the future, simply click the Search icon in the upper navigation and search for the guests name.

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It was great to have you with me on the Learn to Code With Me podcast today. I'll see you next time.

Key Takeaways:

  • Just because you invested so much into one thing, doesn’t mean you have to devote your entire life to it. Even though pharmacy was tough to get into, Newvick still made the decision to change careers when he found a new passion and skillset elsewhere.
  • When you want to get somewhere, you can reverse engineer it to identify the things you need to learn.
  • Starting a side project is a practical way to learn something new. You can increase your knowledge while earning at the same time, which can ease the transition.
  • Thinking about automation the mundane or repetitive process you do can lead to inspiration. It’s how Newvick ultimately started his journey in tech.
  • Don’t be too comfortable with what you know. With the growth rate of technology, there is always more to learn, whether you’re self-taught or university trained.

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