Our people’s stories 9 November 2023

“Learning something new makes me happy.” A Story of “Ying,” A Lifelong Learner

Everyone might already know that lifelong learning is essential, regardless of the topics you choose to learn. They can be related to your profession or personal interests.

For many people, however, learning is still a challenge. For some, flipping through a few pages of a book can make them yawn, while others have left their online courses incomplete by chapter two.

No matter which scenario you find yourself in, we’re all in the same boat.

Don’t despair and lose your passion for learning just yet. Today, “Ying,” or “Suphan Fayong,” the Associate Director and Head of Technical Education from Bluebik’s HR team, is here to share his experience as a lifelong learner. He’s a successful self-learner who sets his own timetable, holding 17 IT certifications and earning a second runner-up prize from AWS DeepRacer.

Without further ado, let’s hear Ying’s story and get a glimpse of his passion for lifelong learning!

Disliking Before Liking

Although Ying is passionate about learning new things, he mentioned that he didn’t particularly enjoy learning when he was a student. Truth be told, he wasn’t even among the top students.

“As a child, I wasn’t particularly good in school. The only subject I excelled in was math. However, in high school, I discovered another subject that I not only excelled in but also enjoyed—physics.

“Physics is slightly different from math. When I studied math, I couldn’t see how it was related to anything in real life. With physics, on the other hand, I could see how it was connected to the world around me. For example, I could calculate the movement of stars and understand their positions in space and the amount of light or energy they were emitting.

“Studying physics ignited a passion for learning in me. I went from disliking learning to genuinely liking it. I also realized that learning something new and thoroughly understanding it can bring me happiness and add value to my life.

From Learner to Tutor

As a computer engineering student at Chulalongkorn University, Ying transformed from being a learner to becoming a well-known tutor among his peers.

“It all began when a friend asked me to tutor him, so I decided to give it a try. Through this experience, I discovered that tutoring others was beneficial to me because it forced me to understand the subject more thoroughly. Typically, when I learn something new, I gain a certain level of understanding through reading or watching videos. However, I deepen my comprehension by applying that knowledge to projects. Through tutoring, I achieved an even deeper understanding. Before passing on the knowledge, I had to crystallize my thoughts and find ways to explain what I understood to others by organizing my thoughts and preparing the explanations sentence by sentence.

Ying’s tutoring sessions became extremely popular among the computer engineering students. One time there were more than 30 participants, requiring him to conduct the session in a lecture room. It’s also worth mentioning that our CEO, Pochara Arayakarnkul, also participated in Ying’s sessions.

Build Your Own Motivation

At Bluebik, Ying might be the one holding the most IT certifications, including certifications from Google Cloud, Salesforce, Microsoft, AWS, and more.

To Ying, displaying certifications on LinkedIn is merely an additional benefit. The real value of pursuing and obtaining these certifications lies in motivating himself to successfully acquire new knowledge and skills.

“Many times, self-directed learning can be challenging because there is no set schedule or defined content scope. You might not know when or how much to study. This often leads to either overcommitting and never finishing, or undercommitting and not gaining adequate proficiency.

“Sitting for certification exams serves as a way to compel oneself to learn. First, in preparing for the exam, you have a clear understanding of the required content to pass the test based on established standards. It’s neither too much nor too little. Second, you invest money to take the test, and there is a fixed test date. This compels you to create a structured study schedule, for example, dedicating 3 hours to study on both Saturdays and Sundays. Ultimately, failing the exam would be disappointing. This is how pursuing certifications can help you establish a study schedule and content scope.

“In summary, by creating a learning environment that mimics traditional schooling, where passing the test is essential to complete a course, there is a higher likelihood of successful self-directed learning. Consider applying Ying’s tips the next time you want to learn something new!

Learning to Compete Can Be Enjoyable

Besides taking tests, Ying has another tip that enhances the enjoyment of learning, which is to compete. Recently, Ying participated in the AWS DeepRacer competition hosted by Amazon Web Services.

The AWS DeepRacer competition challenges participants to apply their knowledge in AI, specifically the reinforcement learning method. They are tasked with defining the reward function, where the challenge lies in defining it in a way that allows the car to achieve maximum speed without falling off the road.

“AWS provides all the necessary tools for us to easily deploy AI models on the car. For example, the car is equipped with a camera for input. What we needed to do was: 1. Define the reward function to determine which behaviors we want to reward, 2. Define the action space to specify the car’s possible actions, and 3. Define the hyperparameters for training the AI.

“My approach involved experimenting with different types of reward functions and action spaces. I also trained the AI on various simulation tracks to develop the best AI model.”

By practicing extensively to gain a deep understanding of reinforcement learning in both theory and practice, Ying ultimately secured second place in the competition.

Bluebikians, Let’s Learn!

As he enjoys learning and sharing knowledge, Ying is happy to take on the role of Associate Director and Head of Technical Education at Bluebik.

Every day, Ying is both challenged and delighted to discover which topics each team needs to learn and to create content that caters to those needs in order to educate everyone at Bluebik. The classes he offers can be divided into two types: live classes for those who prefer real-time learning and the opportunity to ask questions during the class, and on-demand courses for those who value flexibility in terms of when and at what pace they learn.

Furthermore, Ying encourages everyone to explore topics that are not necessarily related to their profession because learning simply for the joy of acquiring new knowledge can be a passionate hobby for anyone.

“Creating a personalized learning program is advantageous, as relying solely on on-the-job learning may not always be fast enough. Therefore, you should actively pursue new knowledge without waiting.

With this in mind, let’s embrace lifelong learning together!