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I guess before I dive into more technical aspect of my pivoting journey, I should define some of the common terms I will be using and also explain the reasonings behind my actions/decisions. As I explained in the previous post, I am undergoing an online Front End Development Bootcamp with Thinkful.

I’m pivoting myself to become a Front End Software Engineer

So what is a Pivot?

Pivot is one of those buzz words circling around a lot of Start-ups that is following the Lean Startup methodology. The manifesto for this Lean Startup movement was written by Eric Ries (check out the book here). In that book, Ries defined a pivot as “structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth”. The product in this case is ME.

Is there a framework that I’m following?

Yes! I’m using a tool that is commonly used in Start-Ups, called the Business Model Generation Canvas. This one-page canvas captures the essentials of a product offering or a business plan. What you do is make a huge print of the canvas, post it on your wall, and start filling it out. However, there is a technique to filling out this canvas. As Eric Ries like to say, “The canvas is sacred. You do not write on the canvas”.


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That’s right! You do not write on the canvas. You use Post-It notes. The reason for this is to preserve the elastic nature of a business plan, which is very essential in an ever changing environment in the start-up world. You need to be able to change your plan quickly, and test your hypotheses regarding that change. When you make any change to the canvas, that is considered a pivot.

For more information about Business Model Generation, you can obtain the book here. For an even further reading on how to apply the canvas to YOU personally, read the book Business Model You.


What is Front-End Development?

If there is a Front-End Developer, then there is a Back-End Developer. A Front-End Engineer is mainly concerned with the appearance of a given software or application. They are not necessarily the designer of the page (although some design skill will certainly be very useful); they are responsible to turn a design from User Interface Designer, which might be in the form of a mock-up Photoshop design or image prototype, into a working code (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.) and the interactivity of the design.

A Back-End Developer, on the other hand, is generally someone who is responsible to process the data flow within an application. They need to tie in the User Interface with the Database, pushing the data back to the user, or any other processing that is required to the data. They work in coding the server. Simply said, they are working on behind the scene things that a user does not “see”.

A developer that does both  (and some other things too) is called a Full-Stack Developer. I think this article explained the concept very well.


So it looks like you are changing career. Do you have to learn everything from the ground up?

No! While it may be somewhat a change in career, there are a lot of skills that do transfer over. This is a very important thing when you are pivoting and considering your options. Do not completely change your business model, instead try to change one thing at a time.

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As a Business Analyst, I do a lot of workflow analysis and process design. This is essentially the same as User Experience design, which is getting more and more popular because of mobile technology. Also I worked on servers a lot, so it does give me a different perspective from the back-end infrastructure of a system.

With that being said, of course there are things that I need to learn. I have to be proficient in HTML, CSS, JavaScripts, and some other frameworks. While I do have some knowledge about those, I still have a long way to go. I still need some projects to show off my skill (ie. portfolio). And that leads us to the next article: Why Thinkful.



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