She went from being a singer to software program engineer, because of Covid-19 pandemic, Life-style Information

On this collection, AsiaOne speaks to people who discover themselves altering careers and steering their lives in a brand new route, whether or not by alternative or circumstance. 

Deborah Jean Lee was compelled to surrender a profession she took 5 years to construct, all because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Like many others, her livelihood as a performer was unexpectedly curtailed through the circuit breaker interval, when stay leisure venues had been compelled to close their doorways.

It had all the time been the 28-year-old’s life-long dream to be within the music business.

“I grew up in a musical household, and each my dad and mom and I sang and carried out within the church choir.”

After graduating from Singapore Polytechnic with a diploma in music and audio know-how, she labored odd jobs as a painter and prepare dinner whereas discovering her footing as a singer.


“I took on these part-time jobs whereas in search of appropriate alternatives to sing and carry out.”

From singing at marriage ceremony and occasions, she secured a number of residences at a number of widespread bars and leisure venues in Singapore, corresponding to Shuffle, JBar at M Resort and numerous Starker retailers.

As a proficient performer, Deborah efficiently constructed a reputation for herself securing common gigs seven days every week. Then got here the pandemic.

Swiftly, Deborah’s major supply of earnings dried up.

“I, together with many others, had been principally made jobless in a single day,” she shared of the circuit breaker interval enforced on April 7, 2020. Until date, most pubs and stay leisure venues stay closed as a part of security measures.

Whereas she wallowed in disappointment for some time, Deborah managed to take the information in her stride. Wanting on the intense facet, Deborah took it as an indication for her to take a break.

By that point, Deborah had been performing constantly at pubs and occasions for 5 years, normally for at the least three hours each night time. “Though it was enjoyable, I used to be simply very drained,” stated Deborah.

“I had been overworking myself, taking over gigs seven days every week with no break for the previous 5 years,” she added. So the compelled time-out introduced on by the pandemic was virtually a welcome reduction.

A conscientious saver, by then Deborah had managed to squirrel away a considerable quantity in her financial institution to tide over the interval. Whereas she declined to disclose the precise determine, she shared that it was sufficient to final her a yr.


With cash not being a direct concern, Deborah gave herself as much as six months “to only chill”. On the identical time, the pandemic additionally made her rethink her choices by way of her profession. Specifically, revisiting her different, long-forgotten curiosity in an sudden space — coding.

Just a few months into the circuit breaker interval, Deborah enrolled in a software program engineering course supplied by tech training firm Normal Meeting. The programme piqued her curiosity, as “it was one thing I realised I may do long-term”.

She defined how she was fascinated by her very first introduction to coding: “Running a blog was widespread in secondary college and including skins to blogs was my first introduction to HTML. I believed it was cool however did not give it a lot thought at the moment as I used to be nonetheless very targeted on music.”

The push to alter careers was much more compelling when she realised that her former way of life was taking a toll on her well being.

Deborah shared that as half and parcel of being a pub musician, she’d usually have a drink or two with common patrons on the bars she performed at.

It was a behavior Deborah blames for making her placed on 20kg. She candidly shared that she has since shed the load, after shifting her focus to being a scholar.

Hitting the books

Deborah shared that it was powerful hitting the books once more after a seven-year hiatus, and “not utilizing her left mind” for thus lengthy.

“[The course] was an intensive three-month bootcamp, 5 days every week. I struggled at first and took some time to get used to finding out.” After graduating in December, Deborah acquired a certificates of completion.

Inside three and a half months, she acquired a job provide from Healint, a healthcare know-how firm. 

On the time of this interview, she had been working for simply three days in her place as a full stack developer for the corporate. “However I am at the moment doing extra front-end stuff and fixing bugs within the app,” she shared.


Of her company life, Deborah says it is an virtually 180-degree change from the extra free-spirited, artistic path she had been used to. One of many hardest changes that the self-professed night time owl has needed to make might be the change in working hours.

“I am adjusting to the early morning commute, from Balestier to Pasir Panjang, as once I was enjoying music I sometimes travelled at completely different instances of day, usually at off-peak instances,” stated Deborah.

Because of the pandemic, she is simply required to be in workplace on alternate weeks.

However except for the minor way of life changes she’s needed to make, the monetary stability that her new job affords is a giant bonus.

“I lastly receives a commission go away for the primary time, and my mum could be very completely happy I’ve a secure job now,” shared Deborah, including that her tattoo artist boyfriend has additionally been extraordinarily supportive of her profession swap.

“My beginning wage is at the moment barely decrease than what I used to be incomes once I was doing music full-time. However the long-term incomes potential in my present function is considerably larger,” stated Deborah. 

She joked that she’s the fourth of 5 siblings who’re all “very achieved… after which there’s me”. Certainly one of her elder brothers is a medical author whereas one other is a instructor.

“To be trustworthy, being a musician will pay very properly should you work arduous. However I used to be simply so drained from overworking myself,” she shared. 


With restrictions easing and extra occasions allowed to happen, Deborah nonetheless takes on occasional gigs as and when her schedule permits. She additionally commonly shares her music on-line via livestreams and movies.

What about individuals who would possibly say that being a software program developer is such a “boring” job in comparison with the joys of being a stay performer? 

She defined: “I believe individuals solely discover boring what they do not perceive or aren’t eager about. For me, coding shouldn’t be boring in any respect, it is thrilling and really rewarding to construct issues.

[What people may not know] is that it additionally takes some creativity to provide you with options to completely different issues.”

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