Combining Ballet and Software Engineering

Graduate Interview with Yuma Sumi

Mary Sedarous
Oct 3 · 5 min read

This is a translated version of an interview done by Takuya Arakaki. Check out the original here.

Today we spoke with Yuma Sumi, a graduate of our 7th Immersive cohort. Up until March of last year, Yuma was working as a professional ballet dancer in Georgia (the nation).

Enrolling in Code Chrysalis was part of a dramatic leap into a totally new profession. Let’s talk about what he learned here and where he wants to go next!

What is your job right now?

Right now, I’m creating products as an engineer in a Healthcare and Education-related startup. I’m basically the only engineer at the company, so I work as a fullstack software developer.

Other than that, I’m also involved in teaching and dancing at various studios as a ballet dancer.

What were you doing before you enrolled in Code Chrysalis?

Until March of last year I was working abroad as a ballet dancer. I danced at a university in Tokyo for half a year before deciding to move to Europe to study ballet.

For the next 7 years I was living overseas. When I returned to Japan to enroll in the Immersive, I spent about half a year working freelance as a dance instructor, writer, and web designer. So I had experience in a lot of different roles.

How did you hear about Code Chrysalis?

I was introduced to them through one of my mentors, who I’ve known since my time in high school. He was an advisor for Code Chrysalis.

I respect his advice a lot, so when I returned to Japan I talked with him about how I wanted to learn programming so I could create an app support-system for athletes.

He introduced me to Code Chrysalis, and I went to visit the school in-person.

What made you decide to enroll in Code Chrysalis?

When I visited Code Chrysalis, I realized how much I had to learn. I could barely understand the course content of their Intro to Programming class, Foundations. Alongside that, I thought the school’s international environment was really appealing.

I had lived abroad for a really long time, so I had become used to speaking in English. When I returned to Japan I realized that Japanese wasn’t coming as naturally to me anymore. I had also never actually worked in Japan, and I couldn’t imagine myself working in the strict hierarchical environment of a traditional Japanese company. So I wanted to be in an English-speaking environment.

What was the Immersive course like?

I’m a ballet dancer, so I came to the course from a totally different background, right? It was difficult to get used to all of the new things.

However, I was surrounded by friends who all shared the same goal as me, and the teachers were very supportive, so it was a huge help.

Personally, the most difficult thing to get used to as an engineer was sitting in a chair all day.

But having said this, it was all really fun.

What was the most difficult part of the course?

Even though I understand English, reading so many documents in the language was really hard.

I’ve always been really good at taking what I know and using it to create something new. But learning new things is actually quite challenging. I really had to work hard to get used to it.

Other than that, I’ve also always been a perfectionist — I want to know everything I learn perfectly — so it was hard for me to keep moving on to the next topic even though I didn’t fully understand what I was studying in the moment.

What was a surprisingly fun part of the course?

There were a lot of fun things!

Once I stopped being a ballet dancer, I wasn’t able to spend as much time with friends. So I really valued the time I was able to spend with my classmates, and it was extremely fun and productive.

Other than that, the workshops at Pivotal and R/GA were also fantastic. They offered a lot of insight on how designers and business professionals work.

How did you change after taking the class?

In regard to technical skills, I grew an incredible amount. I never imagined I’d be able to create my own apps.

Before enrolling in the Immersive, I actually went to the Demo Day for CC6. If I’m being totally honest with you, I could barely understand half of what they were presenting. But it gave me a huge push to start pursuing programming seriously. I wanted to create my own senior project.

I gained confidence presenting in front of people, working with others, and learned how to communicate effectively. It was actually a very humanistic experience.

After the course was over, I was able to get a job fairly quickly, so a lot of my anxiety about that disappeared as well. I think I owe it to the experience and skills I gained through the Immersive.

What sort of job support did Code Chrysalis provide?

The latter half of the program included a lot of career counseling, and various opportunities to plan for what I wanted to do after graduation. It was thanks to the support I received during the course that I was able to find a job smoothly.

Looking at the experiences of my classmates, even after the course ended there were a lot of opportunities to get advice, strategize, speak with other graduates, and so on. It was just a really comprehensive and effective support structure.

What do you want to do going forward?

Engineers don’t really get involved with ballet, or the artistic field in general. So, from the time I was a ballet dancer, I wanted to create an app to support athletes and artists myself. Right now I still have a lot to learn. But in the future, I want to start my own company.

Do you have any advice for future students?

I came from a really different background to software engineering. That I was able to do this confirms that everyone should be able to do this.

Of course, the Immersive will be challenging.

But because it’s challenging, please keep pushing yourself to advance. If you keep going, you’ll definitely see results. And no matter how difficult it gets, you’ll be surrounded by friends. So you’re definitely going to be okay.

Have confidence.

Want to learn more about how Yuma became a software engineer? Check out our video all about how he balances ballet and software engineering, and what his goals for the future are!

Code Chrysalis is an advanced programming school located in the heart of Tokyo🗼. Our programs include a 12-week, full-stack coding bootcamp, a beginner coding course, and a career accelerator for engineers.

See why we are an industry leader in tech education in Japan.

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Code Chrysalis

Code Chrysalis is a 12-week advanced software engineering immersive with a rigorous industry-aligned curriculum designed to transform students into autonomous full-stack engineers.

Mary Sedarous

Written by

Digital Marketing at Code Chrysalis. Undergrad at UW-Madison and Master’s from University of Tokyo. I tweet about random stuff @MarySedJP on Twitter :)

Code Chrysalis

Code Chrysalis is a 12-week advanced software engineering immersive with a rigorous industry-aligned curriculum designed to transform students into autonomous full-stack engineers.

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