If it weren't for Elice, would I have gotten a job? - Park Jiyoon, Frontend Developer at Nexon
At the Elice Track, anyone who aspires to a career as a developer is invited to take on the name "Racer" and run down the "track" together.
But who are these racers who join us for the 4-6 month long race? We interviewed racers who joined the program with a variety of career goals, but with a common goal of "getting job-ready development skills," they learned and ultimately got what they wanted.
Racer Jiyoon Park went through the Elice Track and landed a job as a front-end developer at Nexon. Learn how Jiyoon, who previously studied apparel, media arts, and journalism, took a non-programming path to land a job as a developer.
Nexon Frontend Developer Jiyoon Racer | Graduated from the Department of Clothing
I’m Park Jiyoon, 88 years old, thirty-five years old, and currently working as a front-end developer at Nexon after completing the second year of the Elice AI track.
Before I started studying development, I taught science to kids after school for five years, and I was also tutoring entrance exams on the side. My major is a bit complicated. My first major in college was apparel, but when I did a fashion show in the department, I found stage direction interesting, so I wanted to make my own stage videos, so I majored in media arts. After that, I went to graduate school for media information, because I wanted to study more about the medium of delivering media arts. It looks like I did a lot of different things because of the different names of my majors, but they were all connected.
Q. What made you decide to become a developer after studying apparel, media arts, and media studies?
When I was studying media arts, I was introduced to Arduino, and it was my first time learning how to code, and it was frustrating because I didn’t know the basics and I was just turning the LEDs off and on, so I thought I needed to learn how to program properly to be able to do media arts myself, and I was naturally interested in being a programmer.
I also love electronic music, so I used to work with composition programs a lot, and one day I suddenly thought, "All of these programs I use were created by developers, so why did I only think about writing them and not creating them?" When I changed my perspective to think that I could get a job as a developer at a company that creates electronic music programs, I became more interested in development because I realized that I could do it as both a hobby and a career.
When I first thought about becoming a developer, I didn’t know many development languages, but I was interested in visualizing things, so I started studying development in earnest with the vague idea that I could become a front-end developer if I learned a little more.
Q. You used the Elice track as a springboard to become a real front-end developer, how did you end up at Elice?
Actually, I didn’t have much money, so I looked for free educational opportunities. At first, I took a free AI course to train PMs on an overseas educational site. I didn’t even know Python, and I was introduced to TensorFlow first. I completed it, but because it was an overseas site, it wasn’t easy to communicate in English, and it was hard to learn from other people. And since it was a course to train PMs, I didn’t do much coding, so I was thirsty for more advanced education because I had just started to enjoy development. Furthermore, to become a developer, you need to interact with other people, but I’m not the type of person who looks for a community first, so I was thinking that it would be nice to have a set fence. While wandering around, the first thing I saw was the recruitment notice for the Elice AI track.
I think it’s really timing and a lot of luck, and I think the reason I did the interview today is because I’ve gotten a lot from Elice, so I wanted to give something back, and it’s not really a pitch, it’s more like, "If it wasn’t for the Elice track, I don’t know if I would have gotten a job right now.
Q. You’ve experienced so many different types of classes and programs at Elice, what was your favorite as a non-major?
I really liked the live lectures. First of all, the shock of the live lecture on the first day was, "Mr. Ignatius of Living Coding is giving a direct lecture." (laughs) A year ago, when there were fewer bootcamps than now, Living Coding was almost the only and largest development study community for non-majors. It was really exciting and fun to see and interact with the coach live instead of just listening to his voice on the video. In fact, it helped me a lot when I interacted with the coach in real time, even if I made a mistake while following the lesson, he caught it immediately and worried about it and corrected it.
If I had done it alone, I would never have been able to plan, design, and build a server, but it was really helpful to go through the process of creating a web service with my colleagues. In our first team project, which was an OTT recommendation service, I was in a basic machine learning position to analyze data and implement recommendation algorithms, so my Python skills definitely improved and I didn’t have any fear of dealing with data. In addition, the topic was an OTT service related to the media I was interested in, so it was more fun. I think developers should also create a service that they are interested in, a domain that they want to do, so that it is fun and rewarding and they can persevere until the end.
Last but not least, my algorithmic studies were also a major contributor to my employment. I knew the concepts of algorithms, but I didn’t have the experience or skill to solve coding test questions, so after solving the algorithmic parking test and mock coding test at Elice, I thought, "I’m in trouble. This is not how I’m going to get a job." I had a crisis moment.
So I met up with my fellow racers almost every day in Gathertown to study algorithms, and while my problem-solving skills definitely improved, it was also really helpful to be able to confide in my fellow racers and have moments of comfort and empathy that you can’t have in a classroom setting.
Q. Now that you’ve landed a job as a developer, what do you think is the unique strength of the Elice AI track?
The broad curriculum! The Elice AI track covers web backend, web frontend, data analytics, and artificial intelligence during the program, which was really interesting and helpful for me as a curious person with multiple majors.
Even if you’re doing front-end development, you still need to understand the back-end, such as API communication, and you don’t know what kind of service you’re going to do or what kind of position you’re going to take when you get a job, so it was helpful to learn a lot of different things. Also, as a non-major, I didn’t know much about the developer world, so the Elice track was a really good way to explore it, but it wasn’t shallow by any means. To be honest, I had to study non-stop every day and stay up all night for several days in a row during the project, so it was a lot to take in.
Q. I’m curious about what your daily routine was like. What did you plan and how did you execute it?
I didn’t really plan my day in terms of hours, I think I just set goals like ‘what I’m going to get done today’. I had 7 hours of lectures a day and a weekly parking test. On top of that, I had an algorithm study every day, and in the second half of the semester I had two studies, so I spent more than 12 hours a day studying development. I worked harder than I did in high school. I found it really helpful to look at code from people who were good at it, so I asked to be put in a study with people who were much better at it than I was, and that pushed me to work harder, and it was fun to see the problems I was solving go up a level, so I would sit at my desk until three or four in the morning almost every day until I solved a problem.
Q. You mentioned that the projects were also very helpful. What kind of services did your team create in the two team projects?
In the first team project, we were given the topic of OTT services, and I was interested in ‘media’, so I decided to refine the topic. Due to the corona pandemic, the number of OTT service users and OTT channels has increased, and I wanted to know "where are the channels with the most content that I might like" from the consumer’s perspective. For example, if a consumer likes , he or she would want to know which channels have a lot of other content with similar genres, plots, and protagonists, and whether it’s movie content or TV drama or entertainment content, each consumer has different needs! So I created an OTT recommendation service that collects content data from each OTT channel and finds the most suitable channel for the consumer.
Usage screen of ‘Find your OTT’, a personalized OTT recommendation service created by Park Jiyoon Racer
For my last project, it was a free topic, but my team leader’s suggestion led me to create a service that provides information to foreigners traveling to Korea when they post pictures of their food. I assumed that Korea would be the most popular destination for foreigners to visit after the pandemic.
When you travel to Korea, you can’t help but be interested in food, because you eat three meals a day. I thought the problem was that if you look at images of Korean food or menu names like ‘japchae’ or ‘fried rice’, you don’t know what it is. So we agreed to create a service where you can take a picture of the food you ordered and search for it with an image, and it will give you a description of the food, its nutritional content, and even a YouTube recipe so that you can be more interested in Korean food.
Yes, that’s right, we used ‘eat’ for ‘know’.
Usage screen of ‘Knowledge’, a Korean food search service created by racer Park Jiyoon (Korean version, search by image)
Usage screen of ‘Knowledge’, a Korean food search service created by racer Park Ji-yoon (English version, search by food name)
Q. In the end, you created a service that was very user-centered. How did you feel after completing the project?
I think it was really valuable to have the experience of running a service from start to finish as a team, where each team member had their own position, but in the end, we were completely ‘one’ as a team. It gave me a good idea of what the development process would be like for a large service running in a company. I guess you could say that I got a more ‘concrete picture’ of what the logic would be like, even if it wasn’t exactly the same. And I think it’s a big difference between finishing and not finishing, because once you finish something and you have version 1, then there are next steps, whether it’s refactoring or adding more service logic. So if there’s one thing that was disappointing about the project, it’s that the team members got busy with their jobs and lives after the project was completed, so they didn’t stay together for the next maintenance.
The mock interview program was very helpful in my actual corporate interviews, both in terms of the interview advice I received from current employees and the feedback I received from others. I continued to develop my interview skills based on what the mock interviewers told me, and I think I definitely made a good impression at the interview stage. For a non-technical person like me who is trying to get back into the workforce, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to get so much job support without Elice.
In the short term, I want to be a team player developer who fits in well with my current team. In the long term, I want to be a developer who can create the results I want in the media I always loved, music. If frontend is visualization, audio is auditory, I want to be a developer who can do both audio and visual. In the end, I want to be a developer who can do what I love, whether it’s work or hobby.
Q. Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring developers and junior racers who have the same dream?
For me, the most appealing thing about coding is that you can see the results of your work, whether it’s a line of code or a web page. But as a non-coder, the most frustrating thing was not knowing who to ask and how to ask them, and having a community of peers and a team of expert coaches to answer those questions is what kept me going at Elice. If you’re wandering around alone or as a non-coder, don’t hesitate to join us as an Elice racer!
Elice has a curriculum and coding practice platform that is really easy to access for non-coders, but by the end of the program, you’re way beyond the level of a non-coder. Easy start and sure ending, that’s how I’d define Elice education!