Her story is called by some as the most inspiring story of all times not because of how high she has risen but because of where she started and the odds she was up against.
To get where she is today, Sun Ling has beaten very long odds.
Born in a rural hamlet in central China’s Hunan province, Sun shot to Chinese social media stardom for her rags-to-relative-comfort career trajectory. Her story begins in a household of such modest means that her mother had to sell blood to make ends meet and a primary school education interrupted by the need for her hands in the family’s fields.
She has no fancy college degree, having gone to work on the assembly line at a Shenzhen factory directly from high school.
Yet today, the 29-year-old works as a contract software engineer at Google in New York, coding on workdays and playing frisbee on weekends, with an annual salary of about US$120,000.
She barely completed high school and started her career at a factory in Shenzhen examining batteries. But her ambition and perseverance got her the big break that she deserves. Skeptics would wonder if she is a walking advertisement for Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Illinois. Some critics who claim she just got really lucky disregarded the unwavering effort she put in every step of the way. She had to work 3 jobs to complete a programming course right out of high school, then earned a university degree and learned English while working an entry-level coding job. She even picked up ultimate frisbee to practice her English with expats! But the big break really came when she enrolled in a master program at Maharishi University.
After nine months studying on campus and 60 job interviews, Sun received a job offer from EPAM Systems, a vendor for Google, late last year.
60 job interviews! That is the kind of “luck” you need to break out of your destiny. Others who didn’t try as hard just won’t have that kind of “luck”.
And the story is not over yet.
“My next goal is to become an in-house Google software engineer,” she said. “It won’t be easy. But your life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”