Worldskills Asean 2023 Singapore Experience
It was a really hectic event and a whole new experience for me in my entire life.
The competition was held in July 2023 in Suntec Singapore. To be very honest, it was the first time I flew overseas. I didn’t feel that much tension something like everyone was expecting how the atmosphere could be.
It’s the competition. Yes, the competition that I have been dreaming of all the time winning.
It was my first year in high school, the first time I knew there was an international competition in web technologies, I instantly made my heart and mind up to climb to reach that competition. And here I am.
The training starts in October 2022 right after the national selection is over. We come every day to the training centre from morning to evening, for nine months in total.
To be honest, the training experience is quite boring. We had to repeat the same thing over and over again. I had been thinking, I didn’t feel any improvement in my skill at all, but at least I felt more dexterous when I was coding because I felt like I could code anything in a mere three hours. Sometimes, I fill my boredom by working on another project, fun projects, or projects that can make my pocket fat.
In the earlier months of training, we were infrequently doing tryouts (simulating the competition) compared to the last two months of the training. I feel like the last two months of training (June-Jul 2023) was the peak of the training, so hectic and I almost make myself burned out. I started training at 7 AM and went back to my dorm at 9 PM, repeating the same project every day. I only go back to my dorm just for sleep, and 90% of the time I sit in front of my computer and burn my eyes staring at the screen.
I rip off my emotions. I don’t feel anything anymore. All I want is the feeling of joy from the accomplishment of all the struggle I have been given for almost a year.
The flight was scheduled for 18 July 2023, five days before the actual competition begins. We were given a big suitcase (the same kind as all the other competitors) by the Kemnaker (Ministry of Manpower).
The day before we fly to Singapore, we attend an event that is attended by the minister itself. The event was held to release the Indonesia delegations (I don’t think this matters so much, I dreaded this event lol).
Fast forward, we got a nice plane with a nice meal. It was my first flight to a foreign country. I didn’t expect that flying would make my ears really hurt, especially when the plane was moving up and down continuously.
Before the competition day
We arrived in Singapore, it was around 6 PM, and we were immediately directed to the bus to go to the hotel. The hotel is quite decent I say, but it is way more expensive than the more luxury hotel in Indonesia.
There were a lot of agendas to do every day before the competition day, arranged by the people from the ministry. Like going to the beach for dinner with the Indonesian Embassy, or going for a One School One Country event. One School One Country (we call it OSOC) is an event for our competitors to visit the school whose purpose is to promote the WorldSkills ASEAN event in the next few days. I thought it was not as important as preparing for the competition, so Irfan and I didn’t go anywhere for fun until the competition day.
Two days before the competition day, we were going to the competition venue, Suntec, to do a familiarization and device checking. We went to the competition venue by bus at 7 AM. I adore the traffic, it was very smooth, contrary to Jakarta where I always dread the shitty traffic.
Each of us was given a laptop and we will compete with it. We brought our own keyboards, headset, and mouse to be checked by the experts.
On the familiarization day, we were instructed to check the laptop, the devices, the libraries that are given, the frameworks that we will use later, and the applications installed inside it, making sure that they are working.
Why should they check it? To prevent any case that someone can cheat with the help of the “memory” inside the peripheral devices. That’s why we couldn’t bring any peripherals that have memory in them.
Meet new friends
After the familiarization day, I made some new friends. They are the Web Technologies competitors from Singapore, the one I was kinda scared of after I once tried to stalk them and saw their GitHub repositories. They’re experienced, no surprise from the fact that they could pass their national selection and will compete at the international level.
I was looking forward to see how strong they are!
Finally, the first day has come. My feelings are mixed with excitement and nervousness. I know everyone feels nervous, but in different intensity. I wake up in the morning, prepare for the day, and put my laptop, earplugs, and my hand warmer into my bag. I feel amped up to bang my hand to the keyboard creating a loud clicky noise.
We walk into the Web Technologies competition block while we wait for the experts to let us go inside. As we went inside, we were instructed to sit in the middle of the area to listen to the briefing from the experts.
The purpose of the briefing was to explain the module that the competitor will be working on, including the tasks, the details, and the objective. This moment is also the chance for the competitor to ask about the ambiguous things in the module.
The speed-test module
The first module on the first day is the speed-test module. To be honest, this is the worst module result that I have been working on. I messed up in many things. I regret many things. I regret that I didn’t read the module slowly and clearly. My score is deducted by just a thing that I could solve in seconds. The silly things that messed up were: I forgot to export the database, and I forgot to save the file to psd. The small mistakes cost me three to five points.
I really really had a bad mood afterwards. That was a bad luck. I was thinking that it might be because this is the first module, and I need to adjust myself to the high-pressure atmosphere.
The CMS module
Okay, let’s go to the second module. We have a quick briefing of the module. The CMS was WordPress, the most hated module because WordPress isn’t a major tech stack that is used in tech companies (and it’s a PHP!).
We need to create a WordPress theme and plugins. The WordPress template that we need to create is a recipes website, a website that shows the best recipes where users can comment and rate the recipes.
I was quite confident in this module as I already memorized the functions, hooks, and the method to make that kind of website.
After the CMS module finished, I said to my experts that I was confident 90% (I always tell them the percentage of my confidence) I cleared the module without mistake. Meanwhile, my confidence in the speed-test module is only 50% - 70%.
We go back to the hotel and take a rest. Oh no, we can’t take a rest because tomorrow we still continue our competition.
In the evening, I tried to do a tryout because I thought it would improve my memory, but actually, it didn’t due to the lack of sleep. Lack of sleep made my memory cloudy.
On the second day of the competition, I felt tired, but I could still open my eyes widely with the help of my boosted adrenaline.
Today’s modules are backend and frontend. Irfan and I feel confident in the backend because it’s the module that we made months before.
After we finished the backend module, we felt very confident and positive about the result, until the frontend module started. The frontend module was really weird (which was intentional, the experts said). This is the most hated module by most of the competitors (I know as I have a lengthy conversation with them).
We were given a complete REST API source code that we had to setup it by ourselves. The most ridiculous thing was, that the given REST API is problematic, it does not have CORS configured, and it doesn’t support pagination while the task is to create an infinity scroll.
The second day is a mixture of confidence and absurdity.
On the last day of the competition, I felt my confidence was gaining throughout the day.
The first module on the last day were the client-side module and the web design module. It was an easy module I thought, because we don’t have to think hard to nail the logic to make the application running correctly.
The client-side module task was to make a quiz game that was intended for kids. The game should be interactive so that they can feel more fun when playing the game. It was a not-so-bad module, the instruction was clear and there was no absurdity. I said to my experts that I confidently finish it completely.
One of the functions to make was a carousel, a component that displays a list that can be moved back and forth. Thankfully, I have covered this case in the training before, so it wouldn’t be a hassle.
I was pretty confident I finished the module with 80-90%, it’s not perfect because I feel something was not right. I remember that we were given a colour palette to use, but I barely used the orange colour, so I thought the jury wouldn’t notice it and I didn’t get the score for using the colour palette.
That’s the last day. The closing ceremony is two days away.
The Closing Ceremony
After the competition ended, I was kind of disappointed in myself. The mistake on the first day can not be fixed. I wasn’t confident that I would get a gold medal. However, I still pray and hope that I will get a gold medal.
My target was to get double gold — yes it’s possible to get double gold, by having a very similar score to the first winner.
It turns out I achieved a silver medal, I already expected it. I was remarkably grateful that I could be one of the winners of the competition.