Left: Ang Bin Sheng Jovan is a Smart Nation Scholar with CSA who is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering in Computing at Imperial College London.
Middle: Smart Nation Scholar Yang Jiacheng is in her first year of the Bachelor of Computing (Computer Science) degree programme at NUS.
Right: Pursuing a Double Degree in Information Systems and Social Science at SMU, Smart Nation Scholar Nicholas Singham will join IMDA upon graduation.
The Smart Nation Scholarship, offered by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), Government Technology Agency (GovTech), and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), seeks outstanding, dynamic individuals with a passion for technology, and a desire to make a difference.
In return, it offers a range of work as diverse as the agencies behind this exceptional scholarship. Portfolios include industry exposure along with rotations across technology tracks in GovTech, rigorous and in-depth training from recognised professionals in cybersecurity with CSA, and structured development programme to deepen capabilities to step up for future roles in shaping infocomm media ecosystem with IMDA.
Smart Nation Scholars Ang Bin Sheng Jovan, Yang Jiacheng and Nicholas Singham are under CSA, GovTech and IMDA respectively. In this interview, these young, passionate students gave us their perspective of being a Smart Nation Scholar, and how it will help them advance to pursue a career in technology.
How did you each get interested in technology and your respective fields?
Jovan: In the past, my Apple ID account was compromised and the hackers siphoned money out of my bank account as I had it linked to my Apple ID. While I was fortunate enough to be able to recover the lost funds, this excruciating experience made me realise the importance of cybersecurity in this new digital age. This incident and my participation in Capture-the-Flag competitions sparked my interest in pursuing a career in cybersecurity to build a safer cyberspace for all.
Jiacheng: When I was in Secondary school, I joined the Robotics Club as part of my CCA. I had a lot of fun solving challenging problems and troubleshooting robots. I was endlessly fascinated by how ingeniously simple some solutions to complex problems could be.
Nicholas: Since young, I always had a huge interest in tech gadgets and was happy to become my family's "tech-support assistant". I enjoyed teaching my relatives how to use the latest technology to make their lives safer and more convenient. My interest in Information Systems came later, when I began understanding how technology works in systems all around us, every day.
There are many options when it comes to Infocomm Technology. Why did you choose the Smart Nation Scholarship?
Jovan: I decided to take on a scholarship that would enable me to pursue a career in cybersecurity and contribute my skills for the public good. The Smart Nation Scholarship was a good fit as it allowed me to achieve both of my goals. Cybersecurity is fundamental to our increasingly digital way of life, and I want to play my part in protecting Singapore and Singaporeans' digital way of life.
Jiacheng: In my first year of Junior College, I dropped by a scholarship fair held in school. The Smart Nation Scholarship booth's futuristic poster instantly caught my eye and I decided to find out more. I learnt that as a Smart Nation Scholar, I will have opportunities to play an active part in contributing to Singapore's Smart Nation developments. I believe that technology should play the role of an equaliser in society, rather than something that divides. And what better place is there for me to work towards that than through the Smart Nation Scholarship?
Nicholas: The Smart Nation initiative in Singapore is the perfect place for me to apply my interests in technology as it is one that understands the importance of seeking advancement in technology for the benefit of our society and nation as a whole, as the word "Nation" in "Smart Nation" suggests. I felt that the Smart Nation Scholarship will provide me with an all-rounded experience as I pursue my interests, while contributing towards Singapore's developments.
Currently, you are all still studying. What sort of support did your respective agencies provide for your studies?
Jovan: CSA provided me with opportunities to further develop my skills and knowledge. During my school semester break, I interned with CSA's Cyber Security Programme Centre. Through the internship, I gained hands-on experience as I learnt about setting up a domain network and had the opportunity to work with live ransomware (in a sandbox environment). These assignments allowed me to apply what I had learnt and gave me a ground-up perspective on what it is like to work at CSA.
Jiacheng: The agency facilitated conversations with other GovTechies, and that has helped me gain a better perspective on the numerous opportunities available in my university. As I am still in my first year, I am building my foundation in computer science. With a strong foundation, I hope to come up with more efficient tech solutions for GovTech in the future.
Nicholas: IMDA has offered me strong support during my studies. I have participated in several informative talks and webinars organised by IMDA to expand my knowledge. I look forward to the internship opportunities with IMDA to gain exposure and perspectives to the challenges and opportunities in the industry. Most importantly, I hope to be actively involved in significant projects that shape Singapore's digital future.
What opportunities are you each looking forward to the most when you start work?
Jovan: I am looking forward to joining CSA's Cybersecurity Development Programme (CSDP), where I will be able to hone the technical skills needed for me to perform my role. Thereafter I look forward to opportunities working in both red and blue-team (offensive and defensive) jobs, which would make me a better-rounded cybersecurity professional.
Jiacheng: I look forward to joining the Technology Associate Programme (TAP), and particularly the mentorship aspect of the programme. All GovTech scholars go through the TAP in our first two years. Through exposure to nation-wide projects and various development opportunities, we hone our skills in a chosen tech domain while developing professional skills, as we work towards becoming tomorrow's leaders in technology.
Nicholas: Upon completing my studies, I will join IMDA under the Associate in Infocomm Media (AIM) graduate development programme. I look forward to the expansive learning, training and rotation opportunities which will equip me with the necessary skillsets to kickstart my career in this industry.
Finally, what would you each say to convince someone to apply for the Smart Nation Scholarship?
Jovan: If you have a desire to use your skills to steer Singapore's digital transformation journey and improve the lives of others, then the Smart Nation Scholarship is the one for you. The Smart Nation Scholarship also presents an opportunity for you to pursue your passion for technology.
Jiacheng: If you think that technology should uplift people's lives, or if building Singapore's digital transformation of tomorrow excites you, give it a try. Put yourself through the application and interview process, and you might just find your unique "why".
Nicholas: Singapore may be a small country, but opportunities are endless for us as a Smart Nation, and so are the career opportunities in the vibrant tech and media sector. If you want a head start in your career in technology and contribute towards the Smart Nation vision, then the Smart Nation Scholarship is suited for you!