From an early age, Umar Abdul Aziz Bin Ahmad Shamsuddin has been fascinated with how buildings were constructed.
"I recall the sheer delight I found in sketching my dream house and constructing intricate buildings using Lego," he reminisced.
As he grew older, Umar decided to take up architectural studies at Singapore Polytechnic.
"Architectural studies enabled me to develop a deeper appreciation for the architectural and construction aspects of buildings. This love for design and structure fueled my passion to explore the structural components of buildings further," Umar reflected.
Umar also cites TV personality and Architect Khairudin Saharom as one of his key inspirations in shaping his career path.
"Witnessing his remarkable talent and multi-faceted nature as a practicing architect, bilingual host, and local actor, I learned the value of embracing diverse interests," Umar explained.
Umar has since embarked on an inspirational journey of his own, aiming to bridge the gap between architectural design and the technical aspects of structural engineering. Today, Umar is a Structural Engineer with WSP Consultancy Pte Ltd (WSP), a leading engineering professional services consulting firm.
A Transformative Learning Journey
Combining his passion for design aesthetics with the technical feasibility of implementation, Umar decided to pursue civil engineering for his bachelor’s degree and went on to take a master's degree.
“I wanted to validate that the designs I envisioned would be structurally sound," he added.
His unwavering dedication and exceptional academic performance as a student in the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Civil Engineering programme at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), saw him being awarded the Built Environment Industry Scholarship offered by the Building and Construction Authority.
"The scholarship I received has played an invaluable role in supporting my studies," Umar shared. “It has enabled me to dedicate myself to my academic journey, allowing me to seize transformative learning experiences.”
The scholarship, coupled with his internship at WSP in his third year of studies, cemented his desire to join the company upon graduation.
Realising Career Aspirations
Upon graduation, Umar joined WSP, he was given the opportunity to work on groundbreaking projects that pushed the boundaries of engineering.
"I was fortunate to be involved in the world's first 4-in-1 Integrated Rail and Bus Depot project," Umar said.
This hands-on experience exposed him to complex design and coordination tasks, allowing him to apply the knowledge gained in university to real-world challenges.
Umar also benefitted from WSP’s graduate development programme, which offers support to help new graduates joining the organisation to achieve their career goals. This comprehensive programme , which previously was for a duration of 12 months and recently enhanced to 15 months, includes tailored training to enhance technical and interpersonal skills, foster holistic development, and groom and develop leadership talent. With WSP's dedication to talent development, Umar has found a fulfilling career path that aligns with his aspirations and ambition.
Currently, Umar is contributing his expertise as a Structural Engineer to the design and development of the upcoming Cross Island and Jurong Regional Line MRT stations in Singapore.
In his daily work, he uses software and other digital tools to enhance his efficiency.
"Leveraging advanced engineering software for structural analysis and calculations, we optimise designs, identify potential issues, and ensure structural integrity with improved effectiveness and accuracy," Umar explained.
Making an Impact and Embracing Growth
Umar’s passion for his work has enabled him to find fulfilment in the opportunities that allows for him to make an impact, fostering his personal growth within Singapore's built environment sector.
“I find working in the built environment rewarding as individuals can make a tangible impact, engage in problem-solving, and create long-term positive change. Where there are opportunities for mentorship and guidance, I aim to engage the younger generation and cultivate their passion in engineering. Hopefully they too can have a fulfilling career path in the built environment sector,” Umar shared.
This same willingness to share his time and personal experiences saw him participating in a dialogue session with his SIT juniors last year during the iBuildSG Built Environment Formation Programme (iBEFP), where he talked about his career as an engineer and work in the built environment. The iBEFP is an internship preparatory programme for students in BE courses from Institutes of Higher Learning.
“What truly inspires me is the collaborative nature of the industry, where professionals from diverse disciplines converge to shape the built environment. Witnessing a project come to life, contributing to the city's development, and making a tangible, positive impact on society is an immensely fulfilling experience,” he expressed.
For aspiring individuals who are keen on joining the built environment sector, Umar has these words of advice: “The built environment sector offers a diverse range of opportunities. With dedication, passion, and a willingness to learn, you can make a meaningful and impactful career in shaping the urban landscape and creating sustainable built environments,” he said.
WSP Consultancy Pte Ltd is a Sponsoring Organisation in the Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS) for Built Environment Sector.
Click here to find out more about the SgIS Sponsoring Organisations from the Built Environment sector.
Student applications for SgIS will open from January 2024, click here to apply.