Last updated: 30 November 2022
Published on: 11 February 2022
By Izo Lopez
Even before the pandemic forced us to adapt to almost fully digital lives, many of us were already heavily reliant on technology. Further accelerated by COVID-19, social and work norms have now shifted to include remote working, online shopping, digital classrooms, augmented reality and more. Businesses, too, ramped up digitalisation efforts. In fact, in 2020, despite the nation’s overall economy shrinking by 5.4 per cent, the information and communications sector remained a bright spot in Singapore, growing by 2.1 per cent the same year.
To support the booming industry, the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) Singapore Digital (SG:D) Scholarship aims to create a steady pipeline of tech talent while providing undergraduates, postgraduates and mid-career professionals with the opportunities to chart their own career in the tech or media industry.
Find out how SG:D scholarship recipients Mr Ko Zheng Teng and Ms Sheline Sim as well as alumni Mr Dhany Osman benefitted, and continue to benefit, from the SG:D Scholarship and how they intend to contribute to the nation’s economy in a variety of tech or media roles.
Keeping industrial cyberspace secure
While his career at the time as an automation engineer was focused on industrial control systems, 30-year-old Master’s student Mr Ko didn’t realise that cybersecurity was a major concern until about three years ago when a colleague shared an anecdote of an attack. Particularly relevant to Mr Ko, the attack was launched in a Saudi Arabian petrochemical plant against safety systems developed by his company.
It was at this point that Mr Ko realised there was a gap in his skillset—he lacked the ability to safeguard the critical technologies he was working on from cyber threats. To upskill and prevent potential cyber disasters, Mr Ko applied for the SG:D Scholarship and began a part-time Master of Science in Security by Design programme at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
“My part-time master’s course at SUTD has provided me a robust understanding of cybersecurity fundamentals. I plan to continue to apply the new knowledge in my current job as an industrial cybersecurity consultant.”
Equipped with fresh capabilities, Mr Ko currently specialises in assessing and testing the security of operational technology. With all he has learned, Mr Ko has a wide variety of interests that include attack simulation, vulnerability assessment, penetration testing and more. He intends to use his new wealth of knowledge to work towards solving security challenges in Singapore.
“I believe we need to develop a strong security mindset and build a pool of experts that can recognise and understand the intricacies of operational technology systems and threats,” Mr Ko said.
Joining a community of makers and builders
As a child, Ms Sheline Sim realised her passion for digitally creating content when setting up her own servers in the sandbox video game, Minecraft. She later spent time as a software engineer after graduating from polytechnic, where she worked with a variety of technologies and coding languages like Java and MongoDB—an experience that further drove her interest in coding.
Passionate and clear of her goals, Ms Sim was attracted to the SG:D Scholarship because she found that the programme encouraged self-improvement as well as professional growth. While initially taxing, she felt the application process eventually turned into an opportunity for introspection.
“Among all the scholarships I applied to, I was by far most drawn to the SG:D Scholarship because it seemed like the values that IMDA looks for in their scholars matched up very nicely with my own values. I got this very distinct sense, from learning about the scholarship, that scholars are encouraged to grow & develop as they wish, to become their best self, which in turn implies that they will produce the best in the work that they choose to do.”
Attracted to the community of makers and builders at the University of Michigan, as well as the holistic course structure, Ms Sim will begin her Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) course in January 2022 under the SG:D Scholarship.
In this way, Ms Sim seems to have come full circle—from her early years of discovering the infinite possibilities of the code behind a game made for builders like herself, to an era where she hopes to contribute to Singapore’s future by building technological solutions for challenges like climate change and education.
A passion for storytelling
Mr Dhany Osman found himself sharpening his skills as a storyteller in 2011 through a Master’s programme in International Media Producing from Tisch Asia under IMDA’s Media Education Scholarship, now subsumed under the SG:D Scholarship.
Inspired by his parents who were both journalists, Mr Osman has always had an interest in writing and reading the news and had dreams of being a reporter. His Master’s education from Tisch Asia would provide him with the expertise to explore different aspects of the media industry like filmmaking.
Mr Osman who is still in journalism and content production shares,
“Now, as a news video producer, I put my film production knowledge to use to better prepare for shoots and ensure I get everything I need to tell a good story.”
Mr Osman draws on his passion for storytelling and a robust education supported by IMDA’s scholarship as he grows his career in media. With over a decade of experience, he advises future media professionals to expect a wild ride and hard work but continue forging ahead.
“For the most part, media jobs are not terribly glamorous, at least not until you get recognition for a finished product,” he said. “But that’s the price we pay for a job that gives you the chance to flex your creativity and take ownership of the product you create.”
Like Mr Osman, Mr Ko and Ms Sim are hoping to pursue their passions and make use of their well-earned scholarships to create and develop solutions they are proud of.
Click here to discover how you, too, can develop your talents and pursue an exciting career in tech or media with the SG:D Scholarship!