S ingapore’s infocomm industry has a finger on the pulse of today’s digital age. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2013, Singapore ranks as the first most network-ready country in all of Asia and the second in the world.
Advancing the local infocomm industry is the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), which confers the National Infocomm Scholarship (NIS) to individuals who wish to drive improvements in the sector. Two recipients of the NIS are Koh Lin Xin and Terence Lim, who play important roles in Singtel and Microsoft respectively. They share more about their jobs and offer some advice for those who wish to join the infocomm sector.
What drew you to the NIS?
Koh Lin Xin: Information Technology (IT) has always fascinated me. The foundation of the World Wide Web and how networks function tickle my imagination, forming the core of my learning interests. The NIS stood out because of the prospect of networking with both government and private sector industry leaders. This is significant as it provides opportunities to acquire in-depth knowledge regarding various technology organisations.
Terence Lim: I have always loved technology since a young age. The pivotal point was when my teachers in Junior College (JC) recognised me for my interest in IT as well as my achievements as a Singapore Computer Society IT Youth Leader Finalist and nominated me for a partially funded study trip by IDA to Silicon Valley. During my 3-week tour, I visited leading IT companies and exchanged ideas with IT professionals, who inspired me to pursue a career in the sector and also to study at a university overseas. I also had the opportunity to learn about IDA’s vision of supporting the growth of the IT industry in Singapore and the benefits of the scholarship programme, which strongly aligned with my personal aspirations. I felt that the NIS was an all-in-one package that I had to pursue.
Terence Lim Wei Shan
Recipient of the National Infocomm Scholarship (Overseas)
Technology Solutions Professional, Microsoft
Could you tell us more about the roles and responsibilities of your job?
Lin Xin: As a management associate in Singtel’s Enterprise Security division, I am exposed to various corporate functions which are essential to Singtel’s operation. For instance, I was heavily involved in the design and structure of the recently launched Singtel Cyber Security Institute. My role involved discussions and liaisons with partners of various managerial levels to address the expectations of the setup. This Institute can emulate the environments and operations of enterprises using state-of-the-art technology, which made the design process a challenging one. However, the sense of achievement I felt upon its completion made it well worth the effort.
Terence: My first role within Microsoft was that of a Technical Evangelist. It gave me the amazing opportunity to utilise my technical skills, and work closely with independent software vendors (ISVs), start-ups and student developer audiences to adopt Microsoft platforms. My role also involved the management of the Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) Programme, the mentorship of prestigious events such as the Imagine Cup competition and execution of technical hands-on workshops. I was later presented with the opportunity to take on a new enterprise customer-facing role under the Microsoft Academy for College Hires (MACH) programme. Today, I am a Technology Solutions Professional, and my key focus is to drive Windows 10 in the enterprise space. As a result, I get to work closely with partners and enterprise customers to land new productivity, security and deployment scenarios with the new serviceability model of Windows.
What are some challenges you face at work, and how have you overcome them?
Lin Xin: My main responsibility is to monitor and manage project schedules. I need to ensure gaps are identified early and rectified in the shortest possible time. The challenge was for me to seek the subject-matter experts who could help. However, thanks to a closely bonded Singtel family spirit, the team helped to extend my reach and we overcame obstacles together.
Terence: My work in Microsoft is extremely exciting as I get the opportunity to solve unique challenges every day and they differ with every customer. Some of these challenges in driving Windows 10 Enterprise adoption is identifying blockers and finding ways to help the customer overcome them. One of the wonderful perks of being part of a technology giant such as Microsoft is the vast amount of resources readily available. With access to the best minds and mentors around the world, I am able to leverage on the strengths of my peers and colleagues to overcome these challenges.
Koh Lin Xin
Recipient of the National Infocomm Scholarship (Overseas)
Management Associate, Enterprise Security, Singtel
What can aspiring NIS scholars look forward to?
Lin Xin: Aspiring candidates can look forward to a fulfilling journey throughout their studies and career. I recommend the NIS because it affords you a wide breadth of exposure, from multi-disciplinary undergraduate courses and fundamentals of computing, to opportunities to innovate and manage multi-million dollar technology investments. The process has been enriching for me and gives me plenty of room to stretch my knowledge and abilities.
Terence: One of the best eye-opening experiences I had as a student at the US’ Carnegie Mellon University under the NIS programme was the opportunity to volunteer in Rwanda for three months. As an IT consultant, I had the opportunity to work closely with orphaned and vulnerable youths who suffered from the genocide, and to help them to realise their maximum potential through technology. This has inspired me to pursue my passion in technology to improve lives. It also fuelled my interest in travelling around the world and experiencing different cultures. Having benefitted from the NIS, I can say confidently that this is one of the best scholarships to take up if IT fascinates you. You will get to meet the best minds in the IT industry and receive a lot of networking opportunities, on top of pursing an IT-related education at a top-notch university.