Left: Ben Chua is a Singtel Cadet Scholar, and he is pursuing a Diploma in Infocomm Security Management at Singapore Polytechnic.
Right: Juve Wong is a recipient of the Singtel Cadet Scholarship and the Singtel Apprenticeship Programme. He is pursuing a Bachelor in Engineering (Hons) ICT (Information Security) at Singapore Institute of Technology.
The same way Singtel goes the extra mile for its customers, it invests in people for the long haul. From the Singtel Cadet Scholarship for Polytechnic students to the Singtel Management Associate Programme (MAP) for university graduates, the company comprehensively supports talent every step of the way. The Apprenticeship Programme that offers even more growth options is further proof of Singtel’s resolve to push promising talents to greater heights.
Singtel Cadet Scholars are making waves in the Information and Communications Technology Industry and overturning stereotypes about Singtel as “just a telco company”. We spoke with Ben Chua and Juve Wong, Singtel Cadet Scholarship Recipients who studied, developed and triumphed with Singtel’s support. They chose cybersecurity as their specialisation, and are eager to commence their duties keeping Singtel’s networks safe upon graduation.
Ben, an avid online gamer since childhood, had always wondered how the digital world was defended against cyber-attacks. After attending outreach talks, and days and nights of personal research, he firmed up his resolve to protect digital data from malicious attack and become a “cyber defender”.
“The thrill and excitement cybersecurity brings never ends and the challenges change, and evolve. It’s what keeps me hooked,” he grinned.
His journey began like any heroic quest, equipping himself with the necessary skills and experience. To that end, he is currently pursuing a Diploma in Infocomm Security Management at Singapore Polytechnic. As Singtel regularly hosts outreach activities at the institution, he got a chance to listen to one of their talks on the Singtel Cadet Scholarship.
“Sitting in the audience, I was wooed over by the opportunities of being a scholar at Singtel,” Ben recalled. “The prospect of having a confirmed internship with Singapore’s largest telecommunications provider won me over. Having given the honour and opportunity of being able to protect, defend, and better the very infrastructure that so many of my fellow citizens, peers, and family use appealed to me very much.
“After attending the talk, I applied for the scholarship immediately.”
Ben was overcome with jubilation at receiving the scholarship and its rewards, but also deeply mindful of Singtel’s intentions in granting the prestigious opportunity.
He has always placed personal accountability at a premium, and determined to do his best for the organisation that had approved of him. “To me, a scholarship means that a company invests in me. When a company invests in me, they trust and have faith in my potential,” he extrapolated.
Just as Singtel backed him fully, he took proactive steps to understand the company fully as well. He took up an internship with the organisation with a special focus on the Singtel Cybersecurity Institute. He worked in Cyber Range Development and Business Development, two departments that resonated with his desire to thoroughly delve into data security. It was enriching and exciting, and he met a valuable mentor who has been guiding his steps since.
With his education in one hand and the practical experience of an internship in the other, Ben is poised to make good use of this “full set” of skills at Singtel’s cybersecurity arm.
“I hope to be able to use my skills to effect real change,” he said. “I hope to explore the different areas of the cybersecurity business in Singtel. Every team has their specific purpose and function to the bigger ecosystem. This allows me to learn and be a much better contributor to the organisation.”
So what does the Singtel Cadet Scholarship mean for students? Ben answered with a single phrase: endless opportunities.
“This is what I love about Singtel. As a scholar, I am given the opportunity to truly use my skills in something I believe in and in an effective manner.
“As I now embark on a new journey, I believe Singtel will continue providing me these opportunities and I hope to be able to explore more of Singtel’s operations to ensure the infrastructure so many of us use remains protected.”
A Secured Future
While Ben’s experience with cybersecurity had positive beginnings, Juve’s interest began in a darker place. “Back when Facebook was just starting to gain popularity, there were plenty of ‘spam apps’ guised as games. I fell for it and that led to spam posts on my feed to promote the ‘game’,” he recalled.
“This incident got me interested in the world of information security and was the catalyst for where I am today.”
Singtel picked up on his interest, and supported him through the Singapore Cadet Scholarship where he was pursuing his diploma.
But, it was at the Singapore Institute of Technology roadshow where he realised his resolve to make a career with Singtel. At the roadshow, he met people working in the organisation, found out about interesting projects, and got a picture of Singtel’s work culture.
“My experiences at the roadshow re-affirmed my faith in Singtel’s commitment to developing local talent in the Security space,” he pointed out.
Singtel supported his dedication, and sponsored his Bachelor in Engineering, majoring in ICT (Information Security) at Singapore Institute of Technology as part of the Singtel Apprenticeship programme. He also got to intern at Singtel’s Security Products arm, introducing him to a vast field of work and the great people who work there.
“My colleagues and superiors were incredibly experienced and knowledgeable, and they worked hard to push the department forward. They shared their experiences in the industry and gave guidance and advice on how to be successful in the security sector,” he enthused.
He was also able to make contributions of his own thanks to the time management and independent learning skills his education provided him. He spoke about his time in university: “As you are the captain of the ship, how much you learn and how well you do depend entirely on how well you are able to juggle absorbing the material, various projects and your own revision.”
“This will benefit you greatly when you transition into the workforce as well, enabling you to be a productive contributor to your company without having to stress over time management.”
Juve’s own experiences, coupled with the education Singtel sponsored, have positioned him to combat security threats with skill and conviction. He looks forward to putting his knowledge of Ethical Hacking and other security models to good use at Singtel’s security arm.
As Singtel scholars typically rotate through appointments and roles, Juve has set his sights far. “One of the more unique opportunities that I look forward to would be opportunities to work at the overseas branches of Trustwave so that I can broaden my horizons and worldview,” he outlined.
As his experiences had proven, Singtel is a minefield of opportunity for aspiring scholars. “Contrary to popular belief, Singtel is not just a local telco, but rather a multinational organisation that has stakes in the consumer and enterprise spaces all over the world,” said Juve. “Naturally, this translates to a wide variety of opportunities for talent to get their feet wet and make their mark in their field of choice.”
For those perched on the precipice of scholarship decisions, Juve ended with words of encouragement: “Be passionate about what you do and strive to improve yourself and your skills at every step of the way!”
Juve builds custom mechanical keyboards from scratch, soldering and modding to produce unique pieces. He credits his hobby with honing his patience and attention to detail.