"Never give up on a battle that hasn't happened yet"

A Story of M. Rafli Julian, Bangkit 2022 Graduate from Electrical Engineering, Universitas Teknokrat Indonesia
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
(Thomas Alva Edison, American Inventor)
There is no such thing as life without obstacles, and so is M. Rafli Julian’s (21) life. However, the numerous challenges that came into and got out of his life made Rafli―that’s what he’s called―unfamiliar with the word “surrender.” He agrees with Edison’s statement above about triumph that can happen if we keep trying and never give up. If Rafli decided to concede defeat in life, he would never be certified and hired after graduating from Bangkit.

Live from Selling His Mother’s Cake

Rafli and his family live in Kabupaten Lampung Selatan. He is the second of three children. His father was formerly a cocoa farmer, but not long after, Rafli’s father’s crops were affected by plant disease, and this made him a corn farmer. Unfortunately, the earnings of Rafli’s father on these new crops were not enough to give his family a decent living. So finally, he rented out his land to someone else and got income from rental costs and yields, although still not much.

When Rafli’s father was still farming, Rafli’s mother was a housewife. However, when Rafli’s father was no longer working, Rafli’s mother became the family’s breadwinner by selling cake in the “Pasar Inpres” traditional market. From selling cakes named “Kue Basah” and sponge cakes, Rafli’s family makes a modest living.

Despite having a limited income, Rafli’s parents still prioritize their children’s education. They want their children to get higher education, no matter how much money they take. However, Rafli couldn’t bear to see his parents paying for his education. This made him hesitate to go to college once.
“I wanted to quit college once because I saw my parents were struggling to pay my tuition fee. They disagreed and encouraged me to continue my studies. In fact, my father even sold one of his fields to pay for my brother’s education.”
Finally, Rafli complied with his parent’s wishes. It was because Rafli wanted a better future; he also wished to make his parents happy. The sacrifice of his parents motivated him to give his best while studying.

“If they can, why can’t I?”

With his parents’ support, Rafli studied at Universitas Teknokrat Indonesia, majoring in Electrical Engineering. Although he didn’t get many opportunities to learn to program deeply, Rafli was interested in learning more about IT, particularly anything related to artificial intelligence. This led him to find Bangkit, which had just started its pilot program in 2020 and offered a Machine Learning path; Rafli was intrigued to register. Unfortunately, he hadn’t reached the 5th semester. It made him ineligible for becoming Bangkit 2020 cohort.

Rafli had yet to learn that Bangkit was back in 2021 under the auspices of the Kampus Merdeka program, so he skipped this opportunity. So, once he knew that Bangkit would return in 2022, Rafli immediately signed up and made it to become a Machine Learning cohort. He couldn’t miss this career readiness program from Google.

Many things encouraged Rafli to sign up for Bangkit, such as the opportunity to learn about Machine Learning, have a wider network, participate in the Grow with Google Career Fair, and take the TFD certification exam from Google for free. This made Rafli think that what he would get from Bangkit was more valuable than just pocket money.
“After being accepted in Bangkit, I often read stories from Bangkit Alumni and Cohorts on Bangkit’s blog and newsletter. Those stories inspired me to keep giving my best and made me think ‘If they can, why can’t I?’”
As a result, Rafli changed after Bangkit. What contributed significantly to Rafli’s burgeon was his participation in the Company-Based Capstone Project at Indosat Ooredoo Hutchinson. Despite having a non-IT background, Rafli was trusted as the Project Manager and Machine Learning Developer at the same time.

After that, he became independent in learning and could manage time well. In addition, Rafli is now a person who always wants more tech insights from sources outside of his lecturing activities. Rafli’s skills in teamwork were also well-honed during his capstone project.

Becoming a Certified TensorFlow Developer and Being Hired after Bangkit

Rafli’s efforts before and during Bangkit paid off once he graduated from this program. His participation in Bangkit has enriched his resume and portfolio. No wonder Rafli reached two achievements afterward.
“Knowledge from Bangkit helped me with the TensorFlow Developer certification exam. Alhamdulillah, I managed to pass. Then, I used this certification to apply for a job. Finally, I was hired by PACMANN as a Teaching Assistant for the Data Visualization class.”
PACMANN is a research startup based in Jakarta that focuses on implementing and improving machine learning algorithms. This company is also a holding company that provides data literacy services for individuals and gives data-driven solutions for organizations and businesses. There are also courses in PACMANN for anyone interested in Machine Learning.

Machine Learning insights from Bangkit helped Rafli teach Data Visualization to his students, most of whom are college students. As a result, he is very passionate about his work because it gives him satisfaction to see his students proficient in this discipline.
“Joining Bangkit seemed difficult at first with its tight schedule and deadlines. However, you should never give up on a battle that hasn’t happened yet. Many good opportunities are waiting for us at the end of the program,” Rafli told us when he asked to advise all students in Indonesia who are interested in joining Bangkit 2023.
What Rafli said is true. Giving up before the struggle begins is not a good thing. Rafli believes that a limitation only exists inside our heads. Therefore, no matter how hard life’s obstacles may have hit Rafli, he chose not to give up and pursue his dreams one by one.

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