Left: Lee Wei Gen, Singapore Digital (SG:D) Undergraduate Mid-term Scholar of 2020, is in Year 3 of Bachelor of Science in Information Systems specialising in Cybersecurity at National University of Singapore.
Right: SG:D Undergraduate Scholar of 2020, Ong Tze Kym, is in her first year of her Bachelor of Communication Studies at Nanyang Technological University.
The world of Infocomm Media (ICM) is shaped by individual aspirations. With the aim of preparing Singapore's next generation of ICM leaders, the Singapore Digital (SG:D) Scholarship offered by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) provides its scholars the opportunity to embrace flexibility in charting their career paths, broaden their horizons through overseas exposure and achieve personal new heights through support for professional development. Every year, budding ICM talents blossom under the scholarship, trailblazing their distinctive digital media futures.
Not only can SG:D scholars pursue their degree in diverse fields of learning - ranging from Computing to Media - their career options after graduation are boundless. An SG:D scholar can choose to serve their bond in any ICM-related job role in an organisation of their choice upon graduation.
This scholarship offers many more distinctive advantages. SG:D scholars can tap on the vibrant global community of past scholars and industry experts to get the most up-to-date, sector-specific insights during networking sessions and company visits. The scholarship also provides funding support beyond the school curriculum for scholars to deepen their skillsets and gain overseas exposure through courses, certifications, overseas programmes, and more.
For an in-depth look at just what the SG:D Scholarship offers, SG:D Undergraduate scholars Ong Tze Kym and Lee Wei Gen shared how the scholarship set them on the path to success.
To start off, the SG:D Scholarship offers flexibility in the choice of degree. Both of you are in very different fields, why did you choose those areas of specialisation?
TZE KYM (Communication Studies): Having a career in communications fits my outgoing personality along with my interests. I love talking to people and I am passionate about making an impact on other people's lives. Being in this sector will give me the platform to extend my reach to people, bringing me one step closer to my aspiration to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
WEI GEN (Cybersecurity): I developed a strong interest in cybersecurity after reading “Permanent Record” by Edward Snowden which described his motivations for leaking highly classified information on global surveillance programmes. I realised that cybersecurity risk is a huge problem right now, but few people are addressing it. There's not enough focus and attention paid to this issue, and it's a huge problem in our society, and I have decided to be the one to work on it.
Tze Kym, why did you decide to take up the SG:D Scholarship?
I have chosen the SG:D Scholarship because it allows me to serve a threeyear bond at any local company, giving me the flexibility of choosing where I want to work. It is very important for me to work for a company with values that align with my own, while having the autonomy to choose which company I want to work for after I graduate.
I also applied because of a personal reason: this scholarship serves as an assurance for me to continue pushing on in my studies so that when I graduate, I can finally give back by being part of Singapore's workforce in the ICM sector.
For Wei Gen, we understand you have applied for the SG:D Scholarship twice. Why was this scholarship the only one for you?
I was determined to apply for the SG:D Scholarship because it keeps my opportunities open for the future. The bond can be served at any company in the ICM sector, so I can pretty much go where I want in Singapore. This keeps my options open and that remains a huge incentive for me.
Not only that, the scholarship supports us to develop holistically, encouraging us to do independent learning through sponsored courses and certifications, as well as overseas experience. That's why I applied for this scholarship the second time despite not being selected the first time.
How did you benefit from being an SG:D scholar?
Tze Kym: The SG:D Scholarship team takes good care of us – they frequently organise talks and events for fellow scholars, along with having a chat group with other scholars that creates a shared community to better foster this sense of belonging.
Thus, being an SG:D scholar gives us the opportunity to reach out to fellow scholars, industry professionals and relevant individuals where you can source for connections to working opportunities, job attachments and even internships!
Wei Gen: It exposes me to a lot of connections and opportunities. For example, we have a global community of more than 1,000 scholars, comprising individuals from the media industry to data scientists.
In my case, my connections were previously limited to my own community of people. Hence, the scholarship expanded my range of connections and many of them also have a diverse range of experience in the industry as well. I gained a lot of insights from them.
And how has the SG:D Scholarship changed the way you study at university?
Tze Kym: To be honest, I am quite a playful person so I dread sitting at a table and having to do revision for my studies. Since the scholarship comes with the expectation to continuously do well in my studies and maintain a good academic standing, I use that pressure to ground myself. I see it as a motivation to keep working hard through difficult times, while keeping me disciplined when I start cutting myself too much slack.
Wei Gen: The road to become a scholar fundamentally changed how I approached my studies. I had to go beyond what is taught in class, so I embraced independent learning such as taking online classes, reading specific papers on topics of interest, and going out to the “real world” to gain more connections.
To that end, the scholarship provides a lot of support. For example, IMDA gave me funding support for various certificates in cybersecurity. I also got to meet a diverse spread of people from different industries, which really helped broaden my mind and form connections.
Looking to get a headstart in the ICM industry with flexible education and career options? Apply for the SG:D Scholarship at www.go.gov.sg/SGDscholarships
The SG:D Scholarship has had a huge positive impact on your lives. So, where do you intend to go from here?
Tze Kym: I am thinking of being a content creator in the future, as I really enjoy the creative process of ideas running through my mind and seeing how my original ideas come alive into fruition. I hope to produce content that is entertaining, educational and informative to my audience, and it is definitely not an easy feat. But I am someone that enjoys taking up these challenges and being a content creator gives me just that!
Wei Gen: I'd love to play pivotal roles in strengthening companies' cybersecurity postures holistically. So, perhaps as a Chief Information Security Officer or an external cybersecurity consultant.
I also have a different goal that comes from my dabbling in entrepreneurship. I want to propose innovative solutions to protect public privacy from being exploited by large firms. For example, I could create an app so that a browser does not leak information to external parties when someone uses it.