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From Coding Bootcamp to CTO

Graduate Interview with Masataka Shintoku

Masataka Shintoku

Today I sat down with Masataka Shintoku, a graduate of our Immersive Bootcamp’s 3rd cohort. Masataka used to work at NTT Data as an engineer, and is now the CTO of yui.

In this interview, Masataka talks about his experience at Code Chrysalis. Enjoy!

What are you currently doing?

Right now I’m the CTO of yui, an online gift catalogue for wedding ceremonies. Usually, in Japan, in order to choose a gift for a friends’ wedding, you have to pick up a physical catalogue--but these have a lot of content, and are heavy and inconvenient to carry around. So our service is created as an alternative.

We digitize catalogues and transform them into individual, elegant cards with a QR code that can be read using our application. Although I have the title of “CTO”, yui is still a small company and we’re currently working on creating our first app. Thankfully, our customer-base is starting to increase, and we’ve become quite busy. I hope our app can make things even a bit easier for all of our clients.

What was your job before entering Code Chrysalis?

I used to work at NTT Data as a system developer for public agencies. But my responsibilities didn’t actually include coding. I was more involved as a consultant, or in customer service. I would work with clients to gain a deep understanding of their goals, and create detailed documentation of their ideas, then put things into action to actually create the app. Essentially, I worked as a partner for our clients.

How did you hear about Code Chrysalis?

I heard about it from Horie’s online salon. At the time, the Salon was advertising a scholarship for Code Chrysalis. I didn’t end up attending Code Chrysalis on scholarship, but that was how I learned about it and started thinking of applying. What ultimately decided it for me was the fact that it was a 3 month immersive. I thought it would be best to place myself in a situation that I can’t back out of.

What was the Immersive like?

It was really challenging. 5 days per week I’d be at school from 9am to about 9pm, go home to do even more homework, and even on weekends I did about 15 hours worth of homework (laughs). But I never thought about quitting.

Every two weeks there was something called “tap out”. During that time, we could talk with Kani (CEO) about absolutely anything. These conversations were really helpful, and made me feel like I could keep working my hardest.

Even though the course was difficult at times, it was also an incredibly fun experience to learn and create with all of my classmates. 

What was the best part of the course?

I can place what I learned at Code Chrysalis into 3 main categories. The first is, of course, technical. The second is mindset. And the third is public speaking.

As for the second--mindset--I specifically mean “humility” and “open-mindedness”.

Engineers--and even just people who can write code--still make up only a small portion of the population. As a result, it can be easy for engineers to become a bit arrogant. Kani once told me “Humility is the key difference between those who can become good engineers, and those who can’t.” I hadn’t heard anything like this before. Alongside that, being able to handle anything that comes up without losing your focus, and having an open mind to study things even if you don’t immediately see value in them.

This has all connected so well with what I’ve been doing since graduation, and has had value in everything from work to networking.

How did things change for you after graduation? How did you grow during the course?

In regard to technology, I became able to create things I could only dream of before the course. As a result, when I encounter complex problems when coding, I know that no matter how difficult it is, I’ll be able to figure it out. The impact this has had on my personal growth cannot be overstated, and I’m so excited to see where I go next.

As for mindset, I’ve become so much more open-minded. I take a lot of care to listen to input from people regardless of industry.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

I don’t really have anything to say from a technical viewpoint, because future students are going to go through 3 months of intense instruction from Code Chrysalis and will gain that insight.

If you’re enrolling in Code Chrysalis, then of course you’re looking for that kind of technical knowledge, and you’re in the right place to learn it.

So what I want to focus on is the importance of an open mindset. Sometimes you might do activities that seem totally irrelevant to engineering. But after graduating, you’ll realize that everything you do in this course has a purpose. Developing humility, and a willingness to learn anything and everything that comes your way--even if you don’t see the purpose at first--will become a major asset. So make sure to keep honing this skill.

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