Left: Terisha-Ann Tan Hsin Yee, SG:D Scholar (Undergraduate), is reading Bachelor of Arts (Double Major in English Literature & Art History) in Nanyang Technological University.
Right: Pamela Chua is a SG:D Scholarship (Postgraduate) recipient who has completed the part-time Master of Applied Information Systems (Cybersecurity), and is currently working as a Business Solutions Manager at SAS Institute.
As business sectors come and go, the infocomm and media industry never suffers from a lack of popularity or interest. After all, it covers everything from machine learning to online games to make a dynamic, ever-changing portfolio. With the right talent, the industry will evolve even further. For that, the Singapore Digital (SG:D) Scholarship, led by the Infocomm Media Development Authority, aims to prepare the next generation of Infocomm Media leaders to power Singapore’s push to become a leading digital economy.
SG:D Scholars benefit from a great deal of flexibility. They can choose to major in technology-related or media-related studies at their discretion, and serve their bond in an infocomm media (ICM) related job role in the organisation of choice in any industry with IMDA’s consensus.
Terisha-Ann Tan Hsin Yee, SG:D Scholar (Undergraduate), is currently taking full advantage of these flexible options as she pursues a Bachelor of Arts in Nanyang Technological University.
The SG:D Scholarship (Postgraduate) continues to support vital infocomm talent at different stages of their education journey, like Pamela Chua Hui Ting, who undertook part-time studies for a Master of Applied Information Systems (Cybersecurity) while working.
Success in Production
Why did you choose to major in English Literature and Art History?
TERISHA-ANN: When I was applying for university, I was interning at a production house (Weiyu Films, makers of Code of Law) and working on adapting a novel to a historical drama television series. Since the show was based on a book and set in the past, I had to do a lot of reading and research. Then, I realised I enjoyed reading books and researching about the past. Majoring in English Literature and Art History, I’d be immersing myself in a wide variety of content, arming me with the tools and exposure to be a good storyteller across the various mediums.
In your opinion, why should people pursue a scholarship?
They should pursue a scholarship to secure their own future - both career-wise and financially. In general, a scholarship means more job opportunities upon graduation and often, a specific training and promotion path that puts you on the fast-track.
Not only is the SG:D Scholarship flexible, but you’ll also get a chance to attend scholar events and industry talks to make those important connections that will help you get a head start in your career.
Financially, having a scholarship means you graduate debt-free.
What was the defining factor that made you apply for the SG:D Scholarship?
It definitely is the flexibility to choose my major and career path. The media industry in Singapore is changing at an exponentially fast rate - who knows if the job I signed up for will still be around by the time I graduate? Being able to choose where to work and what I’ll work as is a very attractive factor.
Additionally, most other scholarships have a set of preferred degrees and majors - people might assume that to work in the media industry, you need a communications or film degree but here I am, majoring in Art History!
How do you anticipate applying your degree to your work?
In lots of ways, actually! There are several modules that are relevant to me.
For example, I took a module called Film and Literature where we analysed popular adaptations and their source materials, like Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and their wildly popular BBC adaptation. The major assignment for the module was to write a script or make a video adapting a 19th-century text so my team created a transmedia adaptation of Les Miserables.
I’m currently also undertaking the NTU Undergraduate Research on Campus (URECA) programme, where I’m working with a lecturer to conceptualise a TV series.
What was your biggest takeaway during your university days?
My biggest takeaway from university so far is really to keep an open mind! It sounds very clichéd, but it’s true.
I was really intimidated when I first started university - I’d never taken Literature as a subject before and I had little to no knowledge of Art. Nonetheless, I told myself that I wanted to make the most out of my university education so I joined clubs, put effort into my classes and took modules that I was interested in, rather than focusing too much on what others were doing.
There was a huge learning curve at the beginning but I ended up loving my major and I’m having loads of fun!
Securing Her Future
How did you get interested in your current field, applied information systems?
PAMELA: Technology is a very broad subject covering many specialisations and I’m interested in technology as a whole, as I believe it is truly an enabler that can be applied to almost every aspect of our lives, limited only by our own creativity.
Anyone with an innate need to understand how things work or a desire to express themselves through building and creating will be fascinated with technology, be it cybersecurity, data analytics, robotics or development etc.
We understand you did your Masters part-time while working. Why should someone take up a scholarship at this point in their career?
A scholarship reduces the financial pressure and opportunity cost of going back to school, especially when one has already started working. At the same time, IMDA provides tremendous support for scholars in terms of networking opportunities and exposure to interesting and relevant workshops. I was often invited to mingle with other IMDA scholars as well as attend conferences discussing emerging technologies like brain tech.
How did you discover the SG:D Scholarship, and why did apply for it?
I discovered the scholarship by chance while searching online and I found that it was a good fit to what I wanted to study and the terms of the scholarship were also extremely reasonable. In particular, there was no bond for part-time master’s studies under the scholarship, freeing me to continue with my own career aspirations. Ultimately, however, my decision was defined by my commitment to improve myself.
Going back to school, what fresh insights did you gain?
The biggest takeaway to me was to understand the value that you can bring to the table, and not to feel inferior when your experience or technical skills do not measure up to others. As you are coming from the industry with work experience and domain knowledge, you will be able to provide a fresh perspective to problems or solve them more creatively. Experience and skills can grow over time, but your unique perspective is something only you can offer.
This was especially true in my case as I had a background in both my own and other industries. I managed to find interesting angles for my master’s research, and published my paper on IEEE International conference on RFID.
It also kickstarted the self-learning engine. It’s impossible to know everything, so the ability to pick up knowledge and skills independently is extremely important.
You work as a Business Solutions Manager at SAS Institute. Tell us more about your role and responsibilities.
I’m currently under the APAC Public Security Team and our main clients are law enforcement and defence agencies in the region. For these clients, we help solve data challenges by mapping them to SAS capabilities through domain expertise, industry knowledge and proof of concepts. In particular, we will look at their work processes and understand their data challenges and pain points. Then, we will build a POV (proof of value) to demonstrate how the problems could be solved using our SAS software and solutions.
What advice would you give to aspiring scholars looking to join your organisation?
Embrace self-learning and work hard.