I’m the 7th Toptal Scholarship Winner! #humblebrag

Reblog from Toptal’s Press Release:

San Francisco, CA, May 31, 2016 — On October 21, Toptal launched Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women, a program designed to empower and support the next generation of female computer scientists, software engineers, and developers through a combination of financial support and mentorship.

Today, we are thrilled to announce the seventh winner of the scholarship, Hsiao Wei Chen, a game developer from the Philippines who aspires to start her own incubator for game developers in Taiwan and the Philippines. She plans to put the scholarship winnings towards a Master’s Degree in Video Game Enterprise and Production at Birmingham City University in the UK, which in turn will help Hsiao develop the business knowledge she needs to start her gaming incubator.

Ultimately, Hsiao wants to understand every part of the game development process, “from programming, to completion, to distribution, and marketing,” so she can empower other game developers in her home country to independently develop their own games and bring them to market.

“Hsiao has a big dream, and she’s very driven to achieve it,” said Anna Chiara-Bellini, Toptal’s Director of Engineering, who leads the scholarship’s committee of judges. “Gaming is a very tight niche so she has a hard task at hand. Plus, her dream of starting an incubator in the Philippines is a really difficult challenge. We were nervous the project was too big for one person to take on.”

“However, when Hsiao explained how much she knows, how much she loves the gaming industry, and all the ideas she has to help her thrive in such a difficult market, we knew if anyone was up for the challenge, she was. We’re committed to helping her pursue her Master’s Degree and matching her with the right mentor to help make her gaming incubator dream a reality.”

As a scholarship winner, Hsiao will receive $5,000 to further her educational and professional development goals, as well as a year of weekly one-on-one dedicated mentorship from a senior software engineer from the Toptal network.

Hsiao’s Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women application

Hsiao first learned about the scholarship while looking for opportunities to help her pay for her Video Game Enterprise and Production Master’s Program. She was immediately drawn to Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women because the application required that she contribute to GitHub. A major contributor to open source, Hsiao keeps a blog where she posts tutorials on how to develop games and use plugins for Android and iOS.

Collaboration and teaching are integral to Hsiao’s learning process. She explains, “Whenever I learn something myself, I post about it on my blog and answer other developers’ questions.” Contributing on open source as part of the application was a clear way for her to continue her existing habit of honing her skills while giving back to the developer community.

The one-on-one mentorship will provide her critical guidance in developing her skills as an engineer and an entrepreneur. “I still have lots of skills that I need to develop,” Hsiao said. “Having a mentor who I can go to with all of my questions is going to be really awesome and critical to my success.”

About Hsiao

Hsiao developed a love for programming in high school and earned her degree in Computer Science in college. “I was always a member of my school’s computer clubs and multimedia clubs,” Hsiao reflected. After graduating, she moved from the Philippines to Taiwan and looked to build the same support systems she had found in those clubs. She learned about Global Game Jam, a hackathon in which a multitude of game developers in Taiwan get together and code for 48 hours straight to build new games.

By getting to know the small but vibrant “indie game developer community” in Taiwan, Hsiao developed her dream of making independent game development a more feasible career path for aspiring developers – and especially aspiring female developers – back in the Philippines.

“Because we’re still a so-called third-world country, it’s really hard for developers to go out on their own and pursue great ideas for new games,” Hsiao said. “There’s little to no financial incentive to go after these ideas, no matter how good they are, and I know many very talented developers who would create amazing games if only they had the financial capabilities. That’s why I want to create an incubator – to give them that support.”

Hsiao’s own game development process is a family affair – both of her sisters and her roommate are artists, so whenever she creates a new game concept, she has three artists at her disposal to help her visualize and build out the product.

Currently, she is working on an IoT pedometer for kids called Nabi Compete, which lets users earn coins for steps. They can turn those coins into play games and buy food for their virtual pets. “The idea is to get kids more active, inspire some healthy competition, and make exercise really fun.” With each iteration of her apps, she bounces ideas off of her siblings, who are both extremely well versed in both 2D and 3D design.

Ultimately, Hsiao hopes to create an equally collaborative work environment for game developers and artists in order to turn game development from a super niche, tiny industry in the Philippines to a booming community of empowered independent developers.

Please join us in congratulating game developer Hsiao Wei Chen on becoming the seventh winner of the Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women program!

About Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women

Toptal STEM Scholarships for women are a series of 12 scholarships for women that are awarded monthly over a year, with Rachell being the fifth scholarship winner. Women from across the world of any education level are eligible to apply to win $5,000 and a year of weekly one-on-one technical training and mentorship from a Toptal senior technologist to help them pursue their goals as future professional software engineers.

The prior scholarship winners are Rojina Bajracharya from Nepal, Ana Sustic from Slovenia, Gabriela Mancini from Argentina, Tondi Butler from America, Rachell Calhoun, also from America, and Yasett Acurana from Bolivia.

To apply to Toptal Scholarships for Female Developers and for more information about the program, visit https://www.toptal.com/scholarships.

About Toptal

Founded in 2010, Toptal is one the fastest-growing and most innovative companies to emerge from Silicon Valley. With backing from Andreessen Horowitz, Silicon Valley’s famed venture capital firm, Adam D’Angelo, founder of Quora, Ryan Rockefeller, and other investors, Toptal today connects thousands of elite freelance software engineers and designers from around the world to over 2,000 blue chips such as J.P. Morgan and Pfizer, tech companies such as Airbnb and Zendesk, and numerous startups to provide world-class solutions that meet the most complex and challenging requirements. Toptal’s rapid growth is testimony to exploding client demand and the unmatched quality and reliability of the company’s services.

Media Inquiries

Joellen Ferrer
Toptal, LLC
+1 (415) 308-8209
joellen@toptal.com

I’m so happy ❤ ❤ ❤

Oh also, like mentioned, I’m moving to UK in September! Yeah!

Thank you Toptal, the best mom and dad, lovely sisters, beloved grandma and auntie.

Photo Caption Apps

Photo Caption Apps, apps that literally just put, well, captions or text on photos. I think it’s those emo/inspirational quotes all over Tumblr that inspired these text over photo meme(?) thing. So a seemingly simple purpose, actually has quite a few apps that are dedicated solely to it.

image

I went to Beitou, Taiwan today and took a couple of pictures, and placed a couple of captions on them.

So I played with InstaQuote, Typic, Tiny Post, Overgram and Instaplace (“Insta” and “Gram” is the new “i”?).

First  up it’s InstaQuote, it’s basically a text caption thing for Instagram, it’s actually it’s whole name- “InstaQuote – Text Caption For Instagram”. By the way, this app is free.

image

So being Insta “Quote” and all you can start off with writing a quote, but since am not a quote-y person, I just typed the name of the place I went to.

image

You can use one of your photos as the background or use one from the background packs. Oh you have to buy the background packs. Separately, and they cost about a dollar, each.

image

So stingy me used one of my own photos. Guys, check out the Thermal Valley in Beitou. Steam is literally rising from that body of water. Pretty, but smells like sulfur.

image

Oh and then you can pick one of the styles. A couple are free, but the rest requires a Pro upgrade.

image

You can change the Text Color and the Punch Color.

image

You can also change well, Text Size, Alignment, Line Spacing, etc. I don’t really get what Frame Width is though.

image

You can “Fine-tune” the font, like change the font, but it also requires the Pro upgrade.

image

And finally “Open in Instagram”.

So from this:

image

The photo came with a “natural” filter, with the steam rising and all.

image

+InstaQuote. Oh it comes with a watermark.

image

And finally Instagram-ed.

Should I rate these apps with stars? If ever, I’m not really sure what to give this app. It’s okay and all, but a lot of stuff requires the Pro upgrade or some In App purchase.

Next up, Typic, I noticed this app because it was featured in the New and Noteworthy section when it first came out. And app screenshots from iTunes look really pretty. I’m not sure if it had always been free, but anyway, it’s free right now.

image

The splash screen is kind of cute.

image

image

image

The featured picture is different every time you load the app, and I found that quite charming.

image

image

So you can take a photo or choose one from your library.

image

The app has a scroll view type interface, and you just slide across to go to a previous or next screen.

So this app actually comes with filters.

image

The filter made my photo really pretty, I think.

You can tap on the Caption button to type your well, caption. Adjust Text size, font etc. Some fonts need to be bought too. But the free ones are good enough for me.

image

And then you can, well type your caption.

This photo is taken at the Plum Garden. Plum flowers can apparently bloom in winter, or maybe these were just token.

image

You can also add frame, in black or white. And if you chose frames, you can even adjust the corners to be a little rounded.

And you can also change your text color, black and white is also the only option though.

You can make your picture a litter blurry, to emphasize your text, but I chose not too, since the flowers are just too pretty.

You can also adjust your text opacity.

image

And yes, “Open in Instagram”.

So from this:

image

To this:

image

No need to add filters and stuff in Instagram anymore. Oh and no watermarks either.

Next, next, is Tiny Post. It’s free.

Tiny Post is kind of interesting because it’s not just a caption app. It has a social networking thing going on too.

You have to sign up for an account first, and then you’d have this profile, and whatever photo with caption that you make will appear in your profile.

image

It’s pretty, pretty basic. You take or choose a photo and then you’d get to this page.

Where you can well, type your caption.

And then change the font of your caption. I’m not a big fan of the childish looking fonts though.

And look, filters! Filters named after places, quite pretty.

So this:

image

Became this:

image

Pretty basic, and slightly boring.

image

And there it is in my profile page.

This doesn’t have “Open in Instagram” in its Share options though, but you can share it to Facebook, Twitter though. Oh and Copy it’s URL, which means this photo is actually on the internet, then? Right, social network-y and all.

And then there’s Overgram. Over and Instagram, get it? This one is free too.

This app looks pretty hipster. Check out the splash screen:

image

This app can produce pictures like these apparently.

image

It starts off pretty standard. Choose one of your photos or take a new one. I like this user interface. It’s pretty slick.

image

You can crop it. Since it’s going to eventually end up in Instagram, it has to be cropped into a square.

image

Like the screenshot says, you can double tap to edit the text.

image

You can even change the color, while you’re at it.

image

Do you remember seeing a yellow triangle in the previous, previous, previous screenshot? So you slide that out and you get this round dial of a UI, which you can slide to see a variety of options.

image

Like… oooh… cool fonts… Upgrade for more fonts. But the free ones are pretty cool already.

image

Align…

image

Size…

image

And of course, “Open in Instagram”.

This app doesn’t come with filters since it probably figured that Instagram already has them.

So from this:

image

This is the Beitou Library. It’s a pretty eco-friendly building, and it’s one of Taipei’s green libraries.

image

Overgram produced this. It has a watermark. But you can remove it with a Pro upgrade, which costs about a dollar.

image

Plus a filter in Instagram. Oh and when you use Overgram to share to Instagram, it by default has this description already, the pretty standard “I made this with…” spiel, plus a tons of hashtags. So people can actually find your post easily. And one of the hashtags is like #pleaselike, so the nice strangers on Instagram will actually Like it. And Likes are always give me a nice feeling.

Finally, Instaplace. Instaplace, given the key words in its name, it adds the name of the place where the photo was taken as a caption on your photo, which you’ll eventually put on Instagram. It’s free today, but for today only I think.

image

So you choose or take a photo and that it usually automatically adds the location. Or you can also use the My Place or Locate button to help it detect the location.

There are a bunch of skins:

image

image

image

I think the skins are pretty cute. Some went a little overboard with the logo placement, though.

image

And then you hit that giant share button there, to share.

From this:

image

To this:

image

Yes, it has a watermark too. But I like recently discovered that you can remove it in the Settings (hidden in the More button).

image

This adds a bunch of hashtags too to your Instagram post. So yeah, likes.

And that about sums up my trip to Beitou, but my photo caption apps (slowly becoming) addiction does not end there.

Some other pictures that I took and added captions to:

image

image

image

image

So follow me on Instagram? @purplelilgirl

If you guys want me to check out any apps that you made, feel free to contact me, I don’t charge for reviews.