Jae-Hun Ko Hello! My name is Jae Hun Kim. It’s been about 4 years since I came to Jeju and I’m a front-end web developer. After coming to Jeju, I worked as a developer at an IT company in Jeju for over 2 years. After I resigned, I worked remotely for a startup for about 8 months, then I started working as a freelancer about 3 months ago.
J-Space Why did you move to Jeju?
Jae-Hun Ko My original plan was to go to Japan with my wife once we got married. My wife had worked in Japan for 3 years, and I had just gotten a 3-year work visa. But 2 weeks after she returned to Korea for wedding preparations, we decided not to go to Japan because of issues such as the tsunamis and radioactivity exposure. We ended up going on a trip to Jeju with our motorcycle. We went for 9 nights and 10 days and we just loved everything about it. My wife loved how the people there were so friendly, the family atmosphere, and everything we experienced there. She wanted to live in Jeju. So after we returned to Seoul, I looked for a job in a company in Jeju, but it didn’t go very well. It just so happened that someone I knew was development team leader at an IT company in Jeju. He recommended me and I got the job. I later found out that the salary I was receiving in Seoul was too high, so my resume had been excluded from the review. In the end, I had to accept a salary that was about half of what I was receiving in Seoul in order to come to Jeju. My wife currently runs a small workshop in Hado-ri. I help my wife and also receive projects from the mainland.
J-Space How is it working as a freelancer in Jeju?
Jae-Hun Ko When we first got to Jeju, things were a bit difficult. There weren’t too many projects that I could work on remotely from Jeju, and I couldn’t just go back to Seoul if the companies required a meeting since I was so far. In the beginning, I worked on things from friends and acquaintances, but now that those projects are almost over, I’m looking for new work. Even though I have a pretty good career, it’s not easy to find a job in Jeju. Aside from development, I’m interested in blogging or social media management, and since I have experience and know a lot about this field, I consult people around me who need help regarding social media management. Since my wife does calligraphy, we sometimes get requests from signs, and I help create something by using equipment. But of course, since we’re only in the beginning stages, it’s not too profitable.
J-Space From what I’ve seen from you so far, you don’t seem to mind the location when you work Do you have a preferred work style?
Jae-Hun Ko My work style... I typically work at home or at my wife’s workshop. I also work at cafes or J-Space, but I’m not very particular about the location. That’s why I use laptops that are light and portable, even if they’re not that great in terms of performance. I even worked while we were camping at Geumneung for 1 week in the summer.
Even while I was living in Seoul, I was always doing outsourced work outside of the company. That’s why I’ve grown accustomed to working remotely regardless of the location. I think that’s why I don’t really mind working in different places.
J-Space I’m curious about what kind of work you did in the past! Can you tell us a little more in detail?
Jae-Hun Ko I used to dance ever since I was in middle school. Up until I went to the military, I worked as a dance instructor in studios to train new singers or choreograph dances. But because it seemed difficult to make a good living off dancing, I starting learning about computers and learned web/editing/3D design.
After I was discharged from the military, I entered the multimedia department and studied there for 2 years. Once I graduated, I worked part-time for 1 month at a company that my senior introduced me to. I ended up working for 3 more months at the company’s proposal. They later recognized my skills and I worked under a 1-year contract, but because the project was a success, I became a regular employee and was even promoted in just 1 year.
My first big projects was the “Hana Bank” project, which involved renewing and operating the entire Hana Bank website. It was an extremely successful project, to the point where we received a design award. In 2010, I worked on the US website for Samsung.com and my nights and days were switched in the beginning. Perhaps they were frustrated with the delayed communication, but they wanted me to come to the United States for this project, so I was suddenly rushed to America. Fortunately, I was treated very well and I got there. For example, I lived in an apartment with a security guard and if I had to go on a business trip to New Jersey from Manhattan, they called me a premium Korean taxi. I thought all American companies were like this, but later I realized they had treated me very well. I once solved a task that a freelancer at the US company was struggling with, and the way they treated me changed after that. I began to think that I can be successful if I work in other places instead of just at my current company.
I recently made the mobile site for Galaxy S8 Visual Studio, and you’ll understand what kind of work I do once you see it. Make sure you see it through a smartphone!
J-Space When you create a website, do you plan out everything yourself?
Jae-Hun Ko No, I don’t plan everything. We discuss and work together to figure out how to give shape to what the planner planned and what the designer designed. Front-end development is the creation of all screens, actions, and animations that the user sees. Often times, it’s difficult to apply what the designer or planner requests. I try to make things as close to how the planner and designer intended as possible, but if there are things that are overloading or problematic, I give them my opinions and make revisions.
J-Space Since when did you start using J-Space?
Jae-Hun Ko I knew that there was a co-working space called J-Space, but I wasn’t using it. I didn’t come downtown very often because it’s quite far from Hado-ri. The decisive moment when I started using J-Space was when I visited while participating in the “Digital Nomad Meetup” last year. At the time, I wasn’t very happy because the entire event was in English and there was no translation. The theme of the event was supposed to be “Communicating with Developers Around the World”, but because there was no translation, which is the most important part of communication, I was very angry in the beginning. However, the center leader and the employees there apologized and they later gave me the translated version through Youtube. I saw their efforts and my perception of this place improved. Afterwards, I didn’t have much reason to come here all the way from Hado-ri, but some people from the company I was working with at the time ended up coming here for a 1-month program that was being held at the Jeju center. That’s how I started coming here every day.
J-Space Did you have any expectations when you came to J-Space?
Jae-Hun Ko I met someone different from last time and I had a lot of fun talking to them. When you’re working as a freelancer in Jeju, it’s difficult to interact with other people and form a community.
I think it would be great if there was an opportunity that would allow me to consult others about the work I’ve done, my experience, how I designed, created, and operated major sites, and things like that. I don’t think the people living Jeju understand that they can offer a website to their customers or the importance of the site front-end yet. They care about server development, but they don’t understand why design is important or why it’s important to provide users with the same experience on the mobile site and all other environments.
There are particularly many issues with Android phones. Even if it’s the same device, the mobile platform has many issues where the site appears differently in each browser or certain actions don’t work, and people don’t seem to understand how that makes users feel and how that affects the credibility of their service... They just think its something that requires money. It would be great if we can change that. It wouldn’t have a major impact right away, but it’s definitely something important.
J-Space Do you have a personal project that you’re working on?
Jae-Hun Ko It’s a bit unfortunate, but I can’t seem to work on personal projects. Since I did not major in development, I’m not the type to explore something development-related in depth or create something new. My work is more along the lines of implementing what the designer or planner wants as much as possible and making the user screen more seamless and beautiful. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I see those results. That’s why I’m not used to projects based on what I personally want. Rather than me creating a service, I like working based on my experience.
J-Space Then do you have any hobbies?
Jae-Hun Ko I like riding my motorcycle and filming with a GoPro. I used to ride a racing bicycle, then I rode a scooter when I got married, and now I ride a small, fuel efficient motorcycle called a Super Cobra in Jeju.
I like filming and editing videos, so I’ve been using since the GoPro ever since the GoPro2 came out. I don’t really upload the videos I edited because I’m too lazy, but I like creating time lapses. Since there aren’t too many high-rise buildings in Jeju, there are so many days with beautiful skies. I film time lapses on those days and post them on Instagram or Youtube. It’s a hobby that involves a lot of equipment, but since I’m not very good at filming or editing videos, I would like to learn professionally. It’s just a hobby at the moment.
https://youtu.be/JN-J16kdjL8 [제주도 금능해변 캠핑 첫날 밤]
If you film a time lapse for 1 hour, you’ll end up with a 15 second video. I’ve been filming the scenery in front of my house or places we went to on vacation, but in the future I think it would be fun to go up Seongsan Ilchulbong or some mountain, set up my camera, and work while filming or climb up with equipment that will allow me to stream what I film with the GoPro in real-time. But it’s hard to actually carry out since life gets so busy.
J-Space I see. I saw you teaching a coding class recently. Are you also working as an instructor?
Jae-Hun Ko I recently completed the “Coding Instructor Curriculum” at the Creative Economy Innovation Center. Where I live in Hado-ri, east of Jeju, there are no places where kids can learn even if they want to. Since there are no computer academies, the far distance to downtown is not an easy endeavor. I thought that it would be great if I can teach kids in the east where there are very little opportunities for education, so I applied to the program and passed over. After the training, as I was speaking to parents and students that I had met coincidentally, I gave a lecture on what coding education was for parents, how it differs from computer education, and how parents should think. Parents were more interested than I expected, and they asked if I can teach a class for students. I’m currently creating a curriculum, and I’ll be teaching a class for elementary students soon.
J-Space Do you have any plans to post online lectures?
Jae-Hun Ko I once met with and spoke to President Hyeong Ju Lee of Inflearn when he was there. He asked me if I could teach a class, but I just couldn’t do it. I was working at a company at the time so I was very busy with little spare time. A lecture depends on how well you can explain something to help people understand the content easily including everything from making the curriculum to editing, and it was not easy to do. It’s very time consuming. I still haven’t had the opportunity to do it since it’s not something you can just pick up and do. I did create a curriculum and sent it over through e-mail, but it was difficult to actually carry out.
J-Space It seems like you enjoy filming. Is it because of the burden of editing techniques?
Jae-Hun Ko I think it’s the content itself that’s burdensome. I wasn’t confident that this material would really help people. I was always unsure about how much information I should be teaching people. Since I didn’t have a teacher, I didn’t learn any of this from someone. I acquired this information through researching and experiencing everything on my own. There’s a web publisher community on Naver called “Hacosa”, and I read through every Q&A post on the forum from the first page to the last page in 2004-2005. I read through everything and recorded things I needed on a blog. That’s how I learned. That’s why it’s difficult for me to assess what other people would and wouldn’t need. I think that’s also why I hesitated. Now, I’m thinking of creating a curriculum based on things you use and need while working, or things I needed while I worked.
J-Space What do you think about running an online consulting platform?
Jae-Hun Ko It would be great. For example, if there’s someone who wants to create a shopping site, I could consult them based on their capacity after assessing their budget and what they’re trying to achieve. Since I have a lot of experience in many different fields, I think it would be great if I can guide them based on my experience.
J-Space I see! I wish you luck in everything you do in the future! Thank you so much for sparing time to speak with me!
Contact of Jae-Hun Ko
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