Centre for Strategic Infocomm Technologies
Feature | CSIT

Protecting Singapore’s Cyberspace

Centre for Strategic Infocomm Technologies Undergraduate Scholar Elrina Ang Hui Min finds purpose, meaning and direction while developing innovative digital solutions to protect Singapore against advanced and sophisticated cyber threats.

Elrina Ang Hui Min gathers user requirements and develops key systems in her role as Software Engineer. She is a CSIT Undergraduate Scholar and holds a Bachelor of Science (Business Analytics) with Honours (Highest Distinction) from NUS.

Most of us cannot do without our smart phones. It contains everything that is dear to us such as precious memories, contacts, and even personal details like bank account and ID numbers. If our phones get hacked, suffice to say, it will be quite a hassle to get things in order.

Similarly, if Singapore’s critical IT infrastructure gets compromised, the impact may be catastrophic given how dependent our economy is on technology. Thankfully, we have the Centre for Strategic Infocomm Technologies (CSIT), a technical agency within the Ministry of Defence that works around the clock to prevent this from happening.

CSIT harnesses cutting-edge digital technologies to meet Singapore’s security needs. They focus on cybersecurity, data analytics, software engineering, and cloud infrastructure and services.

24-year-old Elrina Ang Hui Min is driven by the important mandate undertaken by CSIT. After graduation, she has been working as a Software Engineer at CSIT, designing, developing, and maintaining systems.

We caught up with Elrina, who shared with us what it is like to work at one of Singapore’s most important agencies, as well as her hopes and aspirations.

Firstly, share with us what inspired you on this career track.

I took a module in university that allowed me to design and develop a solution to address a real-world problem. I enjoyed the iterative process of gathering user insights and thinking creatively on ways to improve the final product that I am developing. It was also heartening to see how I was able to use technology to solve a problem, which sparked my interest in pursuing software engineering as a career.

Software engineering is beyond just connecting computers and deploying software. It is about using technology to resolve real world problems on a wide scale and coming up with creative solutions to address challenges.

Why did you choose to accept the CSIT Undergraduate Scholarship over the others available to you?

I was attracted to CSIT’s mission in contributing to national security with a focus on digital technology. After finding out more, I decided to apply for the scholarship as I felt that it would be meaningful to be part of such a mission while I develop my technical skills with some of the top digital engineers in Singapore.

How did CSIT support you while you were studying?

I got to network with and make friends with the other scholars and CSIT staff through the engagement sessions that the scholarship team organised. Most importantly, it helped to ease my transition into work as I was able to see familiar faces on my first day at CSIT.

The CSIT Undergraduate Scholarship also has provision for professional training allowance which I could tap on to sign up for relevant professional courses and certifications when I was in university. This furthered my technical skills and provided a better understanding of the work even before formally starting work.

“If you seek purpose in your career, then look no further than CSIT. Working at CSIT is extremely meaningful and important, as your work contributes to protecting Singapore’s security.” Elrina Ang Hui Min

What other advantages does this scholarship offer?

Apart from the financial support to complete either a local or overseas degree, as well as additional funding for courses outside of school to hone your personal and professional skills, you will also get a highly sought after internship opportunity with CSIT. During my internship, I got to work on an in-house project guided by a very passionate team.

I would recommend this scholarship to those who are interested in a career that contributes to Singapore’s cyber defence.

We read that you studied Business Analytics. How does it relate to your work at CSIT?

I studied Business Analytics as it was a degree that encompassed skillsets from various domains that I was interested in. Namely, statistics, computing, and business. It taught me to work with big data to deliver meaningful insights and solve business problems.

While my degree is not directly related to my current job as a software engineer, they are fundamentally similar in requiring the individual to possess problem solving skills and use technology to resolve real world challenges, which is something that I am passionate about.

Tell us more about your role and responsibilities. Can you give detailed examples of your work as a Software Engineer?

I am responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining systems that are used to support CSIT’s missions. My work is end-to-end, from architecture design to development, testing and finally deployment to ensure that our systems are reliable and scalable.

What is your most significant career achievement to date?

I was deeply involved in the development of an enterprise application that supports a unique user workflow not commonly seen in commercial products. We had also received feedback that the application was useful in promoting collaboration among users.

How does CSIT support your career development?

Upon joining CSIT, I was assigned a great mentor who provided guidance for my work. There are also many training opportunities available. To illustrate this, I have joined CSIT for less than two years, but I have already attended two courses, one on the Spring Framework and another on being a Scrum Master. These courses were interesting and useful in helping me fulfil my tasks.

How is the work culture at CSIT?

There is a strong learning culture in CSIT where colleagues are always ready to lend a helping hand. There are also regular sharing sessions where we learn from one another. CSIT is also incredibly supportive of employee upskilling, providing many opportunities for employees to learn more about their areas of interest.

Speaking of which, CSIT has four tech focus areas – cybersecurity, software engineering, data analytics and cloud infrastructure and services. It is possible to get a rotation to the different departments, including corporate functions, to challenge ourselves and gain a more holistic view of CSIT’s operations.

What would you say to students who are considering a career or scholarship with CSIT?

CSIT is a wonderful place for one to learn and grow. There are a lot of learning opportunities and guidance provided. It also has a “fail-safe” culture where you feel comfortable experimenting and exploring new ideas without the fear of repercussions for failure. This may lead to the development of creative solutions, which is important as we need to innovate and improve work processes to stay relevant.

If you need purpose in your career, then look no further than CSIT. Working at CSIT is extremely meaningful and important, as your work contributes to protecting Singapore’s security.