Taking the first step to shaping the nation with tech

Last updated: 30 November 2022

Published on: 14 April 2022

Taking the first step to shaping the nation with tech
The Smart Nation Scholarship offers aspiring tech professionals the opportunity to grow academically and pursue meaningful careers as architects of Singapore’s digital future.

By Jill Arul

From IT specialists and engineers to policymakers and regulators—Singapore’s tech ecosystem features a pool of talented individuals passionate about growing the nation’s digital capabilities. As both the regulatory authority and industry developer of Singapore’s technology and media industry, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is home to such dedicated individuals working on a wide range of projects for the public good.

The diverse team consists of policymakers who ensure Singapore has a robust, competitive and fair technology and media market, programme managers who help grow the industry as well as IT specialists and engineers who look into the future of frontier technology. 

To prepare a pipeline of talent to take up the mantle as Singapore’s next generation of tech leaders, the Smart Nation Scholarship offers pre-tertiary and university students the opportunity to pursue a technology-related degree of their choice and eventually take up various related roles in the public sector.

Find out how two such scholars, Ms Tan Xin Yen and Mr Chiraag Anand, hope to leverage these opportunities to contribute to Singapore’s tech ecosystem.

Empowering businesses with digital solutions

Taking the first step to shaping the nation with tech
Ms Tan Xin Yen hopes to help businesses implement new technologies and provide digital solutions that benefit society.

While watching her grandparents take a video call with their siblings overseas, Ms Tan’s eyes were opened to the huge joy that technology can bring to a wide range of people. More than a convenient tool for daily life, technology and digital solutions proved to be a source of connection and a resource that could benefit all members of society.

Inspired by this realisation, Ms Tan began searching for technology-related scholarships and university programmes as she wanted to gain greater exposure to the field and pursue projects that she was passionate about. She noticed that the projects and roles offered by IMDA would allow her to help develop Singapore’s digital economy as well as grow individuals and businesses through technology. As such, her interest was piqued and she began her journey towards a meaningful career at IMDA.

Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Information Systems at the National University of Singapore, Ms Tan hopes to tap into the breadth of the field and gain a comprehensive understanding of IT design, implementation and management. With this background, Ms Tan will be well-equipped to develop Singapore’s digital economy at IMDA.

“At IMDA, I would like to explore the fields in the Digital Industry and Talent group to empower businesses through the use of technology,” she explained.

As a scholar, Ms Tan was given the chance to learn the ropes at IMDA while still in school. In fact, during their course of study, Smart Nation Scholarship recipients have several opportunities to take on internships at their sponsoring agency—appealing especially to students who are looking to be immersed in the work culture and tech projects early on.

“During my internship with IMDA, I gained exposure to emerging new technologies and was able to see the far-reaching benefits of technology. I saw that companies were able to utilise technology to develop new products and remain competitive in the global market.”

Ms Tan Xin Yen

On top of the myriad of opportunities from IMDA, Ms Tan said that the financial freedom that the scholarship afforded her meant that she could participate in exchange programmes that would further enrich her learning and widen her world view.

Progressive policies to shape a dynamic digital future

Taking the first step to shaping the nation with tech
Nurturing his interest in tech from a young age, Mr Chiraag Anand hopes to explore the intersection of business and technology to be a part of implementing Singapore’s tech policies.

Like Ms Tan, Mr Anand also envisions himself in a career where he can benefit both businesses and the Singapore society, focused on policymaking. To this end, he hopes to harness the breadth of his double degree in Business and Computer Engineering at Nanyang Technological University.

Nurturing his interest in technology from a young age, Mr Anand has spent most of his life striving to learn more about programming languages, game engines and 3D modelling. After discovering the Smart Nation Scholarship, Mr Anand was drawn to IMDA for the organisation’s emphasis on innovation and cutting-edge technology.

In addition, through the various events like the scholarship open house and year end retreats, Mr Anand experienced IMDA’s welcoming atmosphere and got a better sense of the organisation’s culture and various roles, making him all the more excited to join the team.

“As programmers, we often lose sight of why we are building software—to make people’s lives a little easier. Effective problem solvers and innovators should have a good grasp of both technology and business.”

Mr Chiraag Anand

Specifically, Mr Anand is interested in IMDA’s regulatory arm. He was inspired by a module in his undergraduate contract law class, where he saw the value of IT regulation in fostering a digital economy. He also believes his newfound knowledge in data science will help him contribute by identifying emerging trends and opportunities for Singapore’s tech and media sector.

“The Smart Nation Scholarship provides a fantastic pathway to a rewarding career in technology as well as public service,” shared Mr Anand. IMDA is at the frontier of innovation and can easily rival any big tech firms in providing a dynamic and challenging career.”

Through such scholarship opportunities, young talents like Ms Tan and Mr Anand step onto the fast track towards meaningful and exciting tech careers—equipping them with skills and opportunities to contribute to building Singapore’s digital future.


Are you passionate about transforming our society and economy with digital solutions? Click here to find out more about the Smart Nation Scholarship!

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