Sunday, June 29, 2014

Most Valuable & Marketable Skills

What makes you an asset to the company you are about to work for?

What makes you an important co-worker to your future colleague?

What makes you a great employee? 

The answer of those questions are of course, skills. 

To get a job in this century requires much more than a piece of degree certificate. You will need to equip yourself with valuable and essential skills. You won't do any good by having good cooking skills in a clerk job or vice versa. However, to prepare yourself to face the ever-changing world of workplace, I have come up with four necessary skills to match it up with. Skills that are necessary, skills that are marketable and skills that are important to encourage growth in your career.

1. Programming

Whether you are talking about Java, HTML or C++, programming skills are inevitable the most important skill that you will ever get in this century, probably in the next too. As technology grows, the hunger for programs grows too. Notice how ten years ago smartphones were basically an overpriced phone with little to none exciting features, and how did smartphones managed to get so far till this date? It is all courtesy of coders/programmers. They have developed apps for the phone in order to increase functionality of the smartphones. Heck, you can even get rich by developing a smartphone apps just like Flappy Bird and implement ads. If your apps is good enough for the public, your bank might just call you to sign up for a Centurion Card. 

I have learnt C programming for engineer during my first semester in university. It wasn't easy, but the more you code, the easier it becomes. Programming does make use of your brain too. You need to spin your brain in order to create a good program. You can head over to Codecademy and sign up for an account there. They have step by step tutorial to teach you how to code HTML, Javascripts and Python. Pretty interesting too! 

2. Designing

Designing requires creativity. Remember how we used to scribble all over on a piece of paper when we were a toddler? That is creativity. As we grew older, we start to be bounded by more and more works and eventually creativity starts to shrink. As designing governs a very big area, it is too vague to talk without specifying. Let's talk about Photoshop. The said software is not a stranger to any of us, especially designers. They enhance the looks of the project and can bring up better effects of the photo without losing the originality of the photo (depending on the designer). You would be immediately appreciated by your boss if your company happens to be needing a new advertisement poster for a new project and you happen to be the Pokemon Master of Photoshop. You might even get a new promotion and salary increase. 

Head on over to Photoshop Essentials or read this photoshop article on Mashable to learn some basics of Photoshop! Personally, I have played with Photoshop few years ago when my friend started playing with it. I must admit, there are so many buttons in that piece of software, you will end up using only some of it. I did not tried to learn much that time, as my interest was generally reserved for gaming only.

Nonetheless, you shouldn't just limit yourself with Photoshop only. You can go on with other designing softwares too. Web designing don't sound too bad.

3. Communication

You do know that communication is two way right? That is the purpose of communicating. It is supposed to be in two way. If the waiter brought a hedgehog goulash to your table when you think you ordered a bolognese spaghetti, how do you expect yourself to communicate well with your colleagues, or even your BOSS?! Communicating well is an indispensable skill that you will require in your workplace and daily life. You need to transfer the information you want to the one listening to you and you need to make sure they understand and receive your message well too! 

You can learn how to communicate well by communicating always. Learn from your past communication mistakes and do not repeat it. Use appropriate body language and do not interrupt others while they talk. Be a good listener and only speak once you thought it over but don't be afraid to speak up! 

4. Time Management

Time management is a crucial skill. You need to manage your time properly so that your work could be finished in time. Do you think that your manager would be glad if you hand in your task late every time? Definitely not! Do you think your wife would be happy if you have to work overtime every single day cause you can't manage your work time well enough? The answer is yet again, no! Managing your priorities is the key to a healthy time management. Work when you work. Be efficient and effective. Overtime would not be necessary if you can finish your work in time by 5pm. Only those who are not keen in time management will have to stay back and finish up the work. Your boss wouldn't want to pay your overtime as well.

Focus on planning your time. Make a to-do-lists if you have to. By cultivating a good time management, you will achieve balance between work and personal life. I have find this article pretty useful to those that want to learn on time management. 

I shall end the list with a quote.

"Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it, you can never get it back!"

I hope that both you and I learn something from this post. I would like to hear from you if you have any better ideas for valuable and marketable skills. On a side note, I must thank Bob Clary from Webucator for giving me an idea to write this post. Webucator is an online training company that also provides public and private classes onsite. They offer training in areas of web design to project management.  Webucator also offers ongoing free monthly self-paced Microsoft training courses as part of their way to help individuals prepare themselves for the workplace and make themselves more marketable to employers. If you want to look for their tutorials, check it out here!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Adventure of Little Yeong

I was preparing to head back home on Friday. I had so slightly prepared my luggage for the things that will be brought back home. I was very excited and eager to go back, and then there was where things go awry. 

I'm not too sure where to begin but I will just start my story on Thursday. 

This incident happened between Thursday night to Friday night (12th June 2014 to 13th June 2014).

I was supposed to hand in my thesis on Friday of which I only received it via poslaju today. However, this is where the first problem come by. My supervisor messaged us via Facebook Messenger and told me that his wife is going to deliver their second baby and currently is at the hospital. And obviously he will not be at university on Friday as he will need to accompany his wife and of course the newborn. I don't blame him on this. I guess God just like to play a fool out of us (or actually in my story, the God wanted me to learn a valuable lesson, read on). So first plan failed. He asked me to contact him back tomorrow to check whether we can arrange a meeting at Kuantan to hand him the thesis. I agreed and didn't really want to disturb him any more cause his wife is delivering his second baby, that is some serious deal... right?

And so the next morning, I checked with him and he asked me to pass my thesis and project to one of my friend, Nazri who is also under his supervision for the final year project subject. Of course, I had to agree cause I don't really have any options in hand. Either way, I need to head to the university to check out my hostel, take the thesis submission form and pass my thesis to my friend. Now here comes the second problem. When I was about to go to the hostel office to submit the checkout form, the door was locked. Stunned for a while and then I saw there was a notice paper pasted on the door telling that the staffs have gone to the main campus for a meeting and only will resume work after 2.45pm. Just great! And so I have left with no options but to pass my set of key and form to my another friend, Edward. My friend and I then went to Nazri's room and passed him my thesis and project. Chatted a while and we're off. 

Another friend, Daren came and hand in his thesis to the faculty. He was going to fetch me to the terminal at Kuantan. But we stop by at McDonald's to grab our lunch. My wallet left RM21 at that time. After spending RM10 on my lunch, I only have RM11 left. No biggie. I thought that there will be ATM machines at the terminal or if there isn't any ATM machine, I could have just bought the tickets online through my phone. Hey, it's a smartphone after all isn't it? I was so wrong. 

My friend dropped me at the terminal and the first thing I did was to find the ATM machines. Unfortunately, there was none. And then I moved along to plan B, I took my phone out and check the tickets. I couldn't purchase any of the tickets, not a single one. Tickets need to be purchased online at least six hours before departure. I literally freaked out silently. I was lost, totally lost. I went up and down, left and right of the terminal thinking of a solution. I asked the counter to check whether they accept debit cards or not, but unfortunately they don't. I tried approaching the taxi stand and asked the driver where is the nearest ATM machine, they said its just nearby and the fare is RM20. I was bloody shocked and I asked him back, isn't it near you said? And he replied, "it's policy". Fuck policy, I'm out of here. You can cut my throat next time. I walked toward the entrance again, hoping to see other alternative. I tried looking for any person that I know, hopefully from UMP but no luck on that. I came up with another idea afterwards. I went to the road entrance of the terminal and tried to find other taxis that probably will use meter. One taxi drove into the terminal and I chased it. After he dropped his passengers, I asked him whether he can drive me to the nearest ATM. He asked me to wait him at the taxi stand, and that's when I know I will be cut throat for RM20 again. I didn't go back there. 

I knew that there was only one option that I can choose and it will be a hard one, which is to walk towards the nearby ATM machine at a Petronas fuel station. I took the first step out of the terminal and goes to Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) to inquire the guard if by any chance there is an ATM machine in the building. You might have guessed it, he said there was none and the nearest would be at Petronas. I thanked him for the information and continued walking with my humongous luggage bag, one messenger bag and a laptop bag. I stumbled across another Tamil school. I asked the guard and he was relatively friendly. He showed me the way to the ATM machine and he said I'm near already. Well, frankly speaking if I were driving a car it will be less than a minute's ride. But never mind. I thanked him and headed to the direction he showed me. There were uphill and downhill and I started to wear out. It was around 2pm and the sun showed no mercy. 

When I reached at the junction the second guard told me about, I was taken aback. There was no sign of any fuel station at the end of the right junction. I didn't continue down the road. Coincidently there was another school at the junction, so I went in to inquire the female guard. As I went in, there was a Kancil that stopped at the road. A lady opened her door and asked, "Dik, pergi mana?" (Where are you going?). I asked whether she was a Chinese and she said yes. I said I was going to the nearest ATM machine and she nodded and smiled. When I wanted to ask another question she had already closed her door. I then turned back toward the guard post and ask the female guard. She greeted me with a smile and I asked her where is the so called Petronas. She said just down the junction. I thanked her and then proceeded with going downhill of the right junction. The thing with going downhill is that, you will need to climb it back up later. Sucks. 

When I reached the end of the junction, there was two route. One to the left and one to the right. I I chose the right one and I saw a Fire Department. I was thinking, wow, won't it be great if they could provide me a lift. I mean, their name is "Bomba & Penyelamat" (Fireman and Resue? idk) right? They would really save me if they could provide me a ride with one of their vans... and that is when I saw the fuel station was actually on my LEFT! I knew this would happen but I just switched to the other side. I crossed the road with mild traffic. Finally, I reached the Petronas fuel station. I stopped outside of the shop and wiped my sweats with my shirt. There is a sense of achievement to this. I actually encouraged myself en route that if I want to go back, I need to do this. I keep telling myself to be strong. There is no one that will help you to get what you want. When there is no one to help you, there is only you. 

"There is no one that will help you to get what you want. When there is no one to help you, there is only you."

I went inside the shop and saw both Maybank and CIMB bank ATMs. I couldn't be bothered to even wait for the queue for Maybank ATM and I withdrew my cash at the CIMB ATM. Charged me RM1, but I couldn't care less for it. I am exhausted and time constrained. I want to take the bus at 330pm. I went out, wiped my sweats again and braced myself. I crossed the mild traffic road again and went uphill of the previous junction. It was hard, dragging the bloody luggage with at least 50-60kg in it. I managed to get through the uphill junction and passed the school with the female guard. I thanked her and continued to walk on. I walked a little bit more and then an Estima stopped beside me. I was saved and was as happy as a clam. A Malay man, probably in his late thirties with his songkok on, most likely just finished his Friday prayers asked me where I am going. I said I am going to the terminal and he offered me a ride. Of course, I immediately accepted. I put the luggage to the back of his car and sat at the front seat beside the driver. I talked about what happened and he was astonished as to the absence of ATM machines in the terminal. He said that his family was heading towards the terminal too. Within a minute, we reached.   

I thanked him few times as I couldn't appreciate more of what he did to me. I asked for his name and he was actually Mr Shukri (or so as it pronounces). I thanked him again with his name addressed and then walked toward the ticketing counter. I looked back and waved goodbye to him and he showed a thumbs up. So did I then. I couldn't feel more alive at that moment. Somehow I can already feel that someone will offer me a ride back to the terminal. After all, Kuantan people are relatively friendly and less materialistic compared to KL people. And to be very honest, I could have guessed that it will be a Malay that will offer me a ride. Not to show off my prediction skill but I have a good perception of Malays actually. Educated ones, of course. They are much more generous and focus more on giving than to expect a return. I think it is mostly due to the Islamic teachings that they have. 

I bought my tickets for 330pm bus back to KL and then I went downstairs to the waiting room. I was exhausted and thirsty so I went to a shop and bought a Revive soft drink. Even the boss can quickly see there was something unusual of my then current state. I was sweating all over and my shirt seemed like I was walking under a rain. He asked me what happened and offered me a box of tissue. "Take it all that you need, don't worry". I told him what happened and then I thanked him for the tissue and proceed to the waiting room. I sat down and finally it ended. So much trouble for the bus ticket. It wouldn't be like this if I hadn't be so stupid and dependent on the online ticket and ATM machine. But anyhow, I learned my lesson the hard way. I came back home safely. 

On a side note, it was Friday the 13th and I will remember this incident forever. 

Came back home, unpacked my luggage and unconsciously returned a bag of 50 cents coins to my mom of which she gave me last semester for the water vending machine. I went back to my room and then I came out later again and my mom asked me, "you never thought of using this money ah?" 

---------------------------------------------------------THE END----------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Career - Yours or your parent's?

Hi guys, its been a while now since I have posted an entry. Been busy in May working towards my final few weeks of my last semester. Right now I'm having my study week with approximately a week's worth of holiday. We're suppose to study (that's where the name study week literally means) but most of us or is it just me tend to postpone the study into the later days of the week. Anyhow, that's not the purpose here. 

Growing up, especially in a controlled environment, gives us too much comfort than we need. Don't get it? Think about when you are in primary and secondary school. You are in a controlled environment whereby you have no other goals other than scoring for the exams. You have a fixed number of things to achieve (or what the society/parents/teachers wants you to achieve); like scoring an A for your Mathematics . That is what we do when we are in the earlier days of school. We chase the useless grades because we are told to. True? 

Once we managed to grow out of the controlled environment, we start to get a bit lost. Where should I continue my studies? What should I study? What should I do with the rest of my life?

We are like birds flying with no destination all of a sudden. We need to make a firm decision on where and what to study, all in a few months period. It is not easy at all, considering our future, our parent's money and our families' future is in our hands. Most of our parents don't have few hundred thousand stashed for our tertiary education. I am certain that most of the students pay college/university bills by borrowing Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN) - and I'm pretty sure you didn't know what the abbreviation means if I didn't write it down, right? 

Then, in this lost period we can almost immediately, without any request, obtained advice from our parents/relative/friends' parents of what we should do. Not what we want to do. They will tell you that study business is good, bright future, too much money until can use RM50 bill to wipe the ass, be a CEO of a corporation or become a multimillionaire. Cool story bro, if so why don't you go and study yourself? I would like to see how you make the million come true. But - out of respect we would just smile it off. 

Another course that they often tell you to study is engineering and boy oh boy you have no idea how the word "engineer" is "overpriced" (forgot what word to use). I was in an engineering course for almost two years now - if you hadn't already knew. All I can say was, not many of the engineering students graduate as a real engineer. An engineer is, according to Wikipedia;

" a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics, and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical, societal and commercial problems."

To DEVELOP SOLUTIONS. That one hits the spot right there. How many of the engineers we have actually develop solutions? "Sebenarnya engineer = kuli kasar"

If you are thinking "how about doctors, lawyers or even pilots?", don't think. It's a saturated field, unless you have the scholarship + dedication + determination + perseverance + love/dream on any of those three then by all means go ahead. You should not let anyone stop you doing what you want. In contrary, if you let someone influence you to do what you want, you will hate yourself waking up in the morning. 

So enough of the rant - what parents can do?

1. Listen to your kids

We tend to forget that listening is the most crucial and powerful part that anyone can do without doing anything. (anyone can do without doing anything... that's right). Don't jump into conclusion right away. Listen to what your kids have to say, after all, it is their future you are deciding and I am sure you want the best for them. We often mistaken "best" with "money". Most parents, in this superficial society, tends to think that the best career for the kids is the one that makes the most money. Throw that mindset away. If your kid wants to dance, let her be a dance instructor. I won't be surprise if a dance instructor can make as much money as a doctor, and less risk too, if he/she got "call li" (it simply means capability).

2. Advising is not ordering

When people ask for your advice, do you order them to do something? No right. It is merely an opinion that people required from you, usually out of respect or that you have more experience than them. So when your kid ask for your advice, they are not seeking for an order. They are just genuinely seeking for your opinion, since you will be the one sponsoring them after all. HAHA.

3. Remember that there is no "right path"

Life is a journey. You will never know what is ahead of you. We can only plan, and if things don't work out the way we plan, it is ok. Not the end of the world yet. You are still breathing, which means you are still living. There is still chance for you to rectify your life. Ask yourself, and your parents; what is the worst outcome if you fail to set your tertiary education properly? Do you really think that your future is destroyed? No, it doesn't. However, there will be some money lost in the process and usually money is all that we think. 

Failure is inevitable. We can never avoid falling down into the fail pit. But what we can do is to confront failure and make the best out of it. Do not let fear of failing affect your decision making process. 

"It’s impossible to have success without having some failure.
Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from going for what you want. You are doomed to fail… but you are also fated to succeed."
- JJ (The Native Champion)

Some moutes (movie quotes) - from Batman Begins.

Hope that you and I are able to do what we want and if we are lucky - we might just earn few bucks from it. 

This post only reflects my own opinion, and in a way to remind myself to do what I wrote in the posts. Shall you have opinion, be it concur to mine or not, do leave a comment. Let's have a healthy discussion.