I DA aims to develop a vibrant infocomm ecosystem in Singapore’s technology-driven society, and one of the ways it does so is to partner with educational institutions and infocomm organisations to nurture the potential of infocomm talent in Singapore.
One prominent aspect of this initiative is the National Infocomm Scholarship (NIS), which brings to life aspiring scholars’ dreams of shaping and leading tomorrow’s infocomm technology industry. The NIS offers endless unique and exciting routes and careers at promising organisations that mould and develop the minds of tomorrow’s infocomm leaders.
We sit down with National Infocomm Overseas Scholar Amanda Chew and National Infocomm Fast Track Bachelors-Masters Scholar Chloe Lim to find out how their fruitful scholarship journeys have brought them a lifetime of opportunities and groomed them to become valuable players in the infocomm technology industry today.
Tell us more about your key roles and responsibilities.
Chloe Lim: As an Associate Consultant with IDA, I am currently involved in mobile app development and am currently working on a bus service app aimed at private bus operators. It aims to collate information from different bus operators and present this information for the convenience of commuters – hopefully, this can lead to a solution that will help ease the morning rush hour traffic crunch.
I was also recently appointed the lead of a new team for our security chapter that will explore solutions and partnerships with external teams to address the security needs of our apps now and in the future.
National Infocomm Scholarship (Overseas)
Inside Sales Account Specialist, Microsoft
Amanda Chew: As an Inside Sales Account Specialist in Microsoft’s Enterprise and Partner Group (EPG), customers are at the forefront of my work. I focus very much on serving their product, technical and licensing needs. I have to come up with the best solutions to fulfil my customers’ needs, and this has often required me to manage my accounts via the phone while orchestrating entire sale processes from beginning to end.
As you can see, my work is very different from Chloe’s and I believe this in itself demonstrates the flexibility that encompasses the NIS.
Share with us some highlights of your overseas NIS scholarship journey.
Chloe: At Carnegie Mellon University, I attended an education technology class where we developed a personalised online learning program or Cognitive Tutor, which is an intelligent tutoring system that models the learning process of students – for instance, it will assess students’ answers to various academic assignment questions and provide immediate feedback based on the accuracy of these answers. We also programmed our Cognitive Tutor to help students discover formulas on their own while scaffolding the process by providing feedback that will best suit each student’s individual level of competency, and I found the entire concept very intriguing and fascinating.
Amanda: My time at Brown University in the US was particularly memorable because I was able to meet and study alongside like-minded individuals from all over the world, even though we came from different backgrounds and had different ways of realising our goals. During my time at Brown, I also did international internships in Nairobi, Kenya and Istanbul, Turkey. I benefitted immensely from my time in these countries, where I taught 3D Computer Animation in the slums of Kenya and created a mobile application that allowed Kenyans to crowd-source and democratise information.
While exciting, the multi-faceted work that EDB officers do can sometimes be challenging. Chee How explains, “As EDB officers, part of our work involves engaging and convincing companies to invest long-term in Singapore. After securing the investment, the work doesn’t just stop there! We continue to work closely with the company and other government agencies to oversee the execution through which a range of issues may arise; from sourcing for a new plot of land for their facility to ensuring that the workforce capability in Singapore is able to meet the needs of the industry.”
These global experiences and interactions with diverse individuals really made my learning journey wholesome and special.
National Infocomm Scholarship (Fast Track Bachelors-Masters)
Associate Consultant, IDA
How have you grown from your journey living and studying abroad?
Chloe: My scholarship journey has honed my expertise in the infocomm industry in so many exciting ways. Although I am still learning the ropes here, the exposure gained, foundations built and friendships forged during my journey have made me love what I do even more. I have definitely become more independent too – being many miles away from the comfort zone of Singapore, I realised there were pre-existing support systems of family and friends that I sometimes took for granted. Living alone in the US during my studies has made me more appreciative of the people around me and helped me grow in managing household matters.
Amanda: After living and working in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America, I have learnt to take the best practices and unique perspectives of these cultures and apply it to life. This helps me to be nimble and open-minded when approaching any task, and I have taken care to apply this mindset to both my work and personal life. Most importantly, I cherish the international friendships I have forged and the lessons I have learnt from my friends.
My experiences across four different continents have become one of the most defining episodes in my life, and it has without doubt made me a better-rounded person.
What words of wisdom do you have for aspiring National Infocomm Scholars?
Chloe: Aspiring scholars should never be discouraged from joining this industry just because you lack background knowledge. You will be provided with opportunities to gain the necessary skills and knowledge along the way, just like I was. If the infocomm industry fascinates you, the NIS might just be the choice for you – a stepping stone that makes a difference in your life and also enables you to make a worthwhile difference in the lives of others through technology!
Amanda: In the technology sector, the best qualities I’ve seen in people who thrive in this environment are boldness, agility and persistence. It’s important to possess the boldness to dream big and understand that there are no limits to technology – with it, you can and will create the future. Furthermore, the agility and open-mindedness to adapt to the fast-paced changes and trends and the persistence to push ahead in the face of obstacles will stand you in good stead in this rapidly evolving industry.
A career in the technology industry is no walk in the park. It requires hard work and discipline in order to excel, and I truly believe that there is no better place to begin your career than with NIS.