By actively supporting the growth of innovative technology companies and start-ups in Singapore and collaborating with leading global Information Technology (IT) firms, IDA aims to create an environment where Singaporeans and businesses can benefit from excellent IT and telecommunications infrastructure, policies and capabilities.
We meet up with Peh Rui Yuan and Amanda Chew, two National Infocomm Overseas Scholarship recipients, and learn how they have been prepared to take on key roles in the technology industry.
You are both working in separate areas in a very diverse technology industry. Tell us more about your job and some of your responsibilities.
Peh Rui Yuan
National Infocomm Overseas Scholar
Designation: Assistant Manager, Infocomm Policy
Studied: Master of Philosophy in Technology Policy, University of Cambridge, UK
Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Imperial College London, UK
Peh Rui Yuan: I am currently an Assistant Manager in the Infocomm Policy department in IDA. As a policy officer, I review IDA’s regulatory frameworks and policies to ensure that they remain relevant for the development of the Infocomm Technology sector. This is important because effective policies are needed to provide clarity and certainty to the industry, which in turn facilitates investment and innovation.
For instance, we were quick to review IDA’s spectrum allocation framework in 2011, which allowed Mobile Network Operators to upgrade their existing services to 4G spectrum rights and enabled greater connectivity and innovation in our local network. These opportunities to break new ground are precisely what make my work so fulfilling!
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 that of Rui Yuan’s and I believe this in itself demonstrates the flexibility that encompasses the National Infocomm Scholarship.
How have you benefited from the National Infocomm Scholarship?
Rui Yuan: As an NIS scholar matched to IDA, numerous opportunities were provided for us to gain better insights into the daily operations and job requirements typical of this fast-moving industry. These ranged from internships, where scholars were exposed to a specific function and mentored by a senior officer, to networking opportunities with senior management and the industry.
Amanda: The prestige of my scholarship most definitely gave me a leg up in my internship applications! The networking opportunities mentioned by Rui Yuan also cannot be understated – they gave me access to a global network of scholars with whom I could collaborate and exchange ideas freely. Furthermore, the strong support network in the IDA Scholarship Office made the numerous education and internship applications infinitely easier.
Share with us some highlights from your scholarship journey so far.
Rui Yuan: The scholarship gave me the opportunity to meet with and learn from people that I would otherwise never have met. For instance, one of my lecturers in my first year at Imperial College London in the UK was a NASA researcher! He supplemented his lectures and tutorials with his experience from the Mars Land Rover project. As a fan of space exploration, this was indeed an added bonus for me.
In my fourth year, I also had the opportunity to spend several days at the European Parliament and Commission as we sought to understand the policy-making process in the European Union (EU). It was an honour to meet some of the EU officials and Members of Parliament – the entire experience was definitely an eye-opener for me!
National Infocomm Overseas Scholar
Designation: Inside Sales Account Specialist, Microsoft
Studied: Bachelor of Science in Mathematics - Computer Science, Brown University, US
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 benefited 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.
These global experiences and interactions with diverse individuals really made my learning journey wholesome and special.
How did living and studying overseas contribute to your personal growth?
Rui Yuan: My experiences overseas have moulded me into a more independent person. A UK education places a much heavier emphasis on independent learning than we are used to in Singapore, and after having been thrown into the deep-end of the pool with limited information, I really learnt to stand more firmly on my own two feet!
In addition, my friendships with classmates from all over the world exposed me to many different cultures, interests and perspectives. This has made me more cognisant of the importance of balancing the viewpoints of the respective stakeholders in any matter.
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 in 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 are some important qualities aspiring National Infocomm Scholars should have?
Rui Yuan: I would advise individuals interested in the industry to be receptive to anything that may come your way. The technology sector is developing so rapidly that technologies which were on the rise today may become obsolete tomorrow. However, never disregard any piece of technology for the industry will be the judge of its relevance and importance!
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 here at IDA.