August 22, 2023

Climb Hire Perspective: Kevin Nyun’s Career in Tech Started as a Monk

Kevin Nyun is a Services Operations Intern at TPG.

Kevin (top row, center) before entering the Monkhood for the first time as a boy in Myanmar.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a country tucked between Bangladesh and Thailand on the Bay of Bengal in Southeast Asia. Myanmar, with its rich cultural and religious history, has one of the largest Buddhist populations in the world. At some point, many young men in Myanmar will study and live as monks. Aung Khine (Kevin) Nyun, Cohort 2 Climber, born and raised in Myanmar, experienced monkhood firsthand before relocating to the United States to pursue his passion and desire for a career in technology.

Growing up under military rule, which lasted until 2011, Kevin was not exposed to emerging technologies outside of the country. Despite civil unrest, Kevin describes his upbringing as “fun in a way, because we were always adapting. Sometimes there would be no electricity in our neighborhood, and we had to use candles to study at night. Talk about being optimistic!” he says of his childhood. His family could not afford internet growing up, so when he wanted access to the web his only option was the local internet cafe in town.

Kevin (right) with his sister in Middle School.

“Education in Myanmar is focused on memorization and alignment toward the state and party line, without much room for free thinking,” says Kevin. Additionally, Kevin lived as a monk twice before the age of 16, so much of his energy and focus during this time was on his religion and his community. “Monkhood is an important part of Buddhist culture to repay the debt we owe to our parents for raising us, and this is part of a giant good deed connecting all of humanity,” he says. He would carry elements of his Buddhist upbringing with him as his family uprooted their lives in Myanmar and moved to the United States in 2012.

Kevin and his family came to the United States in search of greater opportunities, both educational and career-related. Kevin transitioned from the life of a young monk and student to that of a junior at Mission High School in San Francisco. In this new environment, he was shocked to see that most students didn’t play freely in the neighborhood as he had in Myanmar: “Maybe it’s the internet,” he wondered. Kevin was immediately impressed with the caliber of the local education system. “I was able to see my full academic potential. I naturally became a leader amongst my classmates, rising to the top in every class. This was never the case back in Myanmar,” he said. At this time, Kevin developed his passion for technology, and would subsequently apply the learnings of gratitude and perspective acquired in his Buddhist teachings toward his newfound opportunities in the U.S.

Kevin (right) moved to the U.S. with his family in 2012 when he was 16.

Kevin went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from The University of California, Santa Cruz. Upon graduation, he secured a job with Vendor Direct Solutions (VDS) as an office floater. VDS is a third-party IT service provider for premier law firms in the Bay Area. Though he enjoyed the work, Kevin realized that this job would not provide the growth trajectory needed to obtain his dream of a career in technology development and architecture. This realization brought him to Climb Hire, where he made a lasting impression on the community by always putting his classmates first. “From the beginning of the program, Kevin was a go-getter, finishing his assignments early in order to help out his fellow Climbers. Besides offering help with assignments, Kevin also offered an upbeat perspective and words of encouragement for his peers,” says fellow Climber Stacy Thomas.

After obtaining his Salesforce Admin Certification Kevin is kickstarting his new career (alongside fellow Climber Lucy Sithole) as part of the Services Operations team at the global investment firm TPG. Kevin is implementing cutting-edge Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology and learning new platforms along the way. “Working at TPG will help me continue to learn and improve my technical skills, to serve as crucial backend support in the day-to-day finance operations of the firm”. Kevin is one step closer to realizing his dream.

Interested in hiring? Contact Kate Smalkin, Director of Talent & Employer partnerships:

Climb Hire Perspective: Matt Magallanes' Transition from Car Sales to Customer Success
Grit and Determination: How Lucy Transformed Her Career with Climb Hire