Left: Loh Zheng Yang, LTA Mid-Term Scholar, has a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic Engineering) from NTU and Master of Science in Future Power Networks from Imperial College London (UK). He is currently an Engineer in Power Supply & Electrical Services at LTA.
Right: Benjamin Chua is a Cybersecurity Engineer with LTA in the Cybersecurity Defense Division. He has a Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Engineering) from NTU under the LTA Mid-Term Scholarship.
"We keep your world moving" – the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and its huge body of work is expressed in that single motto.
Driven by the vision of a people-centred land transport system that connects communities and places, LTA plans, designs, builds and maintains Singapore's land transport infrastructure and systems. Its aspirations include increased land transport connectivity and a greener, more inclusive public transport system that harnesses technology to address both current and future transport needs.
LTA Scholars Loh Zheng Yang and Benjamin Chua were both inspired by these goals, and they contribute to LTA in very different ways. Zheng Yang is an Engineer in Power Supply and Electrical Services, reviewing electrical design issues to ensure a reliable power supply for our train system. On the other hand, Benjamin is in Cybersecurity Defence, detecting and preventing malicious activities which might affect the land transport sector.
Their different yet important roles showcase the vocational breadth that goes into keeping our nation moving forward.
A Special Specialisation
Though an engineering background is to be expected for someone working in LTA, Zheng Yang has narrowed his specialisation even further. Inspired by Nikola Tesla, he pursued Electrical & Electronic Engineering (EEE) in NTU.
Like his role model, he wished to use his skills to make a difference in the world, making LTA the preeminent career choice.
"By joining LTA, I could directly contribute to land transport, which helps millions of Singaporeans get around the island daily," he explained. "Also, I understood from various career fairs that LTA has many engineering specialties working together to ensure the trains' safe and uninterrupted operation for millions of commuters daily."
"I was very certain that I would learn a lot by joining LTA, and till today, I am not wrong."
The Cyber Dimension
In Benjamin's case, he acknowledged that cybersecurity does not immediately come to mind when thinking of LTA's work. It is precisely this "gap" in knowledge, however, that intrigued him and led him to the organisation.
He explained: "There is a wealth of cybersecurity content on Infocomm Technology (ICT) systems; however, there is less cybersecurity content regarding Industrial Control Systems, which operate many critical information infrastructures, including Singapore's public transport."
"I wanted to develop my cybersecurity knowledge in both areas, and LTA can offer that opportunity. I am currently working in both ICT and Operational Technology domains, and this arrangement allows me to build up my competency in both domains."
Both scholars blossomed in the organisation, as their work allowed them to directly apply their university studies in practical scenarios.
As his typical day consists of discussions on electrical design strategy, running simulations and collecting on-site data, and improving design proposals, Zheng Yang routinely calls upon his background in EEE to resolve such technical challenges.
"Almost everything I learned in university can be applied to my current work," he smiled. "NTU EEE gave me a solid foundational understanding of electrical engineering, which I can build on in LTA."
Now, he augments his foundational knowledge with varied electrical design elements, courtesy of LTA exposing him to different layouts and operational patterns. Just as no two organisations are the same, no two designs are the same, and each organisation's design is meant to fulfil a specific purpose.
"LTA has certainly opened my eyes," said the scholar, as he looks forward to learning more.
Land Transport in Cyberspace
Likewise, as Benjamin explores the world of cyberspace at LTA, his undergraduate studies have provided a solid foundation to understand cybersecurity concepts quickly.
"I play the role of detecting and preventing any malicious activities which might affect the land transport sector. This includes keeping abreast of the latest tactics, techniques, and procedures that hackers are currently using," he explained.
To stay ahead of the game, he starts his day with the latest cybersecurity news. Then, he reviews internal processes to see how they can be improved or automated to reduce repetitive tasks, and explores cybersecurity products with an eye for how they can be used in LTA.
Thanks to the scholarship, he is keenly aware of the importance of cybersecurity in the land transport sector. During his induction programme, he was exposed to Singapore's land transport sector, and how it operates. There, his eyes were opened to how ubiquitously technology is used within the sector and how public safety is of topmost priority.
"Cybersecurity ensures the land transport ecosystem is not used for nefarious purposes, such as changing the traffic light colours to cause a traffic jam. This is especially important as LTA provides a public service, in which I recognise the importance of protecting public safety," he informed us.
Keep the World Moving
As Benjamin and Zheng Yang continue to develop themselves with LTA, they hope others will join them in their journey.
"If you have just graduated, and you feel a strong urge to improve the lives of the public with the technical knowledge you have acquired in school, there is no better way than joining LTA," said Zheng Yang.
Benjamin agreed, noting: "When you step on Singapore's public transport and know that you have a small part to play in making it possible, the feeling is indescribable."