About Me

Hello! I'm Leonard Chiu, Chief Technology Officer at the pharmaceutical wholesaler/distributor. I oversee all our technology initiatives, from core ERP systems to customer-facing platforms powering our operations. My role is to drive digital transformation through pragmatic technology solutions.

I took a highly unorthodox path to becoming a CTO. I never formally studied computer science or software engineering. After college, my first job was in construction and property management. While I developed business skills, I never felt truly passionate about my work.

The turning point was realizing how software and technology could optimize operations far beyond manual efforts. I’m intrinsically drawn to logical, methodical solutions over brute labor. I started tinkering with simple apps to boost productivity at my firm.

It was eye-opening to see the time and effort software could save. I was hooked on solving real business problems with code. I began teaching myself to program nights and weekends.

This was the early 2000s, so I learned languages like Visual Basic, classic ASP, and early .NET from books. Without formal training, the learning curve was extremely steep. The array of languages, frameworks, and technical jargon felt daunting.

But I persevered by focusing on one core goal – build apps that solve actual business challenges. I reminded myself that users care about ease-of-use, not complex underlying technology.

I started small - automating reports and basic data programs. Using coding tutorials and books for beginners, I grasped fundamental concepts.

Gradually, after many late nights studying and coding, I gained enough skills to develop custom apps for my company. Automating client reporting saved 10+ hours per week of manual work. I was thrilled with the increased efficiency.

Over the next two decades, I continued improving my coding abilities while learning invaluable lessons about product design, project management, and end-user simplicity from my early projects. A key insight – keep the user experience clean and straightforward, even with advanced functionality behind the scenes.

Fast forward 20 years, and some of my early business apps are now used by major corporations! Despite my non-traditional background, consistently solving problems with pragmatic technology enabled me to land the CTO role.

Now, I lead a 30-person technology team comprised of internal staff and external vendor partners. Together, we digitally transform distribution operations from automating warehouses to optimizing delivery routes and e-commerce sales channels. I enjoy mentoring team members new to software engineering from non-technical backgrounds.

While becoming a CTO without a CS degree is rare, I’m proof it’s achievable through determination and a learning mindset. I’m excited to share my unique self-taught developer journey through this blog to inspire others like me.

My goal is to show that anyone can transition into tech leadership roles with passion and grit, regardless of their background. The path won't be easy, but if you believe in the power of technology to solve real-world problems, anything is possible.

Outside of work, I have a wonderful family life. I'm a proud husband and father of two boys. I've always had varied interests - from technology and electronics to high-adrenaline sports when I was younger, like motorcross racing and scuba diving.

These days, I enjoy keeping fit at the gym, running, golfing and other low-key activities. But I still have a passion for all things tech and stay on top of the latest gadgets and innovations.

I also believe in giving back to the community. I've volunteered extensively to promote social harmony and community bonding. I assisted fellow citizens in resolving issues through grassroots organizations.

In 2019, I was honored to receive the Pingkat Bakti Masyarakat (PBM) award by the President of Singapore for my community service. It's incredibly rewarding to make a difference through technology at work and help people in my personal time.

I'm excited to share my unique career journey and inspire others to see that with determination and grit, a non-traditional path in tech is possible.