With the rise of the ‘Digital Economy’ globally, Singapore has developed into one of the leading global infocomm and media (ICM) hubs, recognised for its innovative capacity and strong ICM infrastructure. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. IMDA’s scholarships give talent the opportunity to be part of developing a dynamic digital economy and creating a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem. Vincent Low, a Media Education Scholarship (MES) Overseas Scholar, and Julian Tan, a National Cybersecurity Postgraduate Scholarship (NCPS) recipient, give us their insights.
What factors or goals motivated you to apply for a scholarship from IMDA?
Vincent: I have always wanted to develop games professionally since young. Besides wanting to get an education that furthers my skills as a game developer, I wanted foreign industry exposure that would open doors to career opportunities and options. I had planned to get a Master’s degree in the UK and gain valuable experience from professional studios. My ultimate goal was to eventually start my own games company and create great experiences for players.
Julian: The NCPS programme will enable me to attain technical excellence, which I have after going through my degree. Aside from that, my overarching goal is to break down the stigma that ICM and cybersecurity topics are too complicated for the general public to digest and assimilate into their lives.
Julian Tan Zheng Siang
National Cybersecurity Postgraduate Scholarship (NCPS)
Lead Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst
Master of Computing in Infocomm Security
National University of Singapore
Those sound like very ambitious and rewarding goals. In what ways did the scholarship groom you into a future-ready leader to excel in these aspirations then?
Vincent: The MES allowed me to take on an overseas Master’s degree, which provided me with an advanced skillset ready for future challenges. The scholarship also allowed me flexibility for pursuing opportunities overseas. I had a chance to work at Microsoft Game Studios UK, amongst very talented developers. No amount of education is better than actually working in the industry. The exposure I gained from working in the UK far outweighed the benefits from the Master’s degree itself.
And now, I have founded my own games startup. We publish and develop mobile games that are played by millions of players. Although part of my time is dedicated to business management, I still handle the development of games and review the titles that we publish. It has been a very exciting journey thus far.
Julian: The NCPS programme is one of the many initiatives where IMDA and the government put legislative acumen into action on lifelong learning and workforce resiliency. As a cyber-threat intelligence analyst with UBS AG, I track and assess the impact of on-going and emerging threats and risks on the cyber front. A large part of my role is distilling open and closed-source information into meaningful and actionable outcomes for stakeholders. Hence, I need strong research and analytical skills along with impeccable time management and discipline. I need to train my critical thinking to be open and creative as well to fulfil these roles. My education during my scholarship trained me in developing these assets.
Vincent Low Kuan Leong
Media Education Scholarship (MES) Overseas Scholar
Master of Arts (3D Computer Animation)
National Centre for Computer Animation,
Bournemouth University, UK
In your professional opinion, where is the future of the ICM industry heading towards in the next wave of progress?
Vincent: I believe one of the key directions for the future would be virtual reality or augmented reality. The technology has the potential to redefine the world we live in - very much like how smartphones have transformed our lives and habits in recent years. Although still in its infancy, I foresee it to be an exciting development for the ICM industry that we can look forward to, in the not-too-distant future.
Julian: In my opinion, ICM is a unique industrial sector – as it is the only sector that can be integrated with any of the other industries to improve overall efficiencies and effectiveness. For example, by introducing technology into the processes of inventory and logistics, every sector would be able to attest to improvements in lead-time and increased operational efficiency.
I would say that the ICM industry will only continue to flourish with the expansion of the Information Age. A crucial point to this would be to identify and nurture initiatives, which address critical social dilemmas such as ageing population, infrastructural strain, cost of living, as well as break downing the technical barrier for vulnerable groups of the general public, such as the elderly and our youth.
What advice can you give to aspiring scholars who will enter the industry in the near future under this landscape?
Vincent: An aspiring scholar can look forward to an exciting and challenging career in the future. The rapidly changing industry constantly offers new and interesting challenges, so there is always something to learn and discover. The industry is highly competitive too; hence expect to follow a path of hard work and perseverance. No matter if one chooses to be an entrepreneur or a working professional, one would be part of building the future of our society.
Julian: Any aspiring ICM professional entering this industry would be spoilt for choice. Ultimately, a key piece of advice I would give is to resist the temptation to take the easy way out; to succeed demands a whole lot of grit. The essential trait that I have seen in most successful professionals is having passion for their chosen field.