How I worked as a software engineer while pursuing my degree?

Melvin Koh
7 min readDec 20, 2018


I started to be a full-time full stack developer when I was still in school. I often asked by my peers on how I handle both academic and career properly. Inspired by Kent C. Dodds, I decided to write a post to share my experience.

If you need a quick read, skip straight to the next section, there’s where the tips are.

How I started my career and landed on my current job?

I started my career as a freelance developer in my second final year, when one of my then school mates was sourcing IT developers for small IT projects. My first project was kinda premature per se, it was a company landing page (the company is no longer around) developed from scratch. Fast forward to the beginning of the year when I came back from my internship. I continued to work on a freelance basis, provide services like scripts writing, building web apps, while furnishing my final year project. In the middle of the year, I was offered a contract to join a team to build an e-commerce front-end using React, and a permanent job as a full stack developer (both employers are aware of my situation, and they both allow the team to work remote). I chose the latter.

“Don’t you have class to attend?” , many may ask. Yes, I did. However, by compressing my majors in the early years of my degree, all I have to fulfill was not more than 10-hour of class per week. That gives me plenty of time to pursue my interests. Besides short school…