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Taking the road less travelled into tech

Taking the road less travelled into tech

Through IMDA’s Tech Immersion and Placement Programme, these inspiring individuals have made the big switch into the ICT sector without a background in technology.

By Erinne Ong

From digital marketers to data scientists, ICT professionals are at the forefront of driving innovation in Singapore. With more than 12,000 job openings on local shores, there’s a growing drive to create more entry points into the buzzing tech industry.

Nowadays, an undergraduate degree in an ICT field is hardly the only path to a thriving tech career. Even non-tech professionals can upskill and reskill to take up tech roles in today’s digital age. This is precisely the goal of the Tech Immersion and Placement Programme (TIPP), launched by the Infocomm Media Development Authority under the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative. 

With support from TIPP, early and mid-career professionals with no tech background can pursue immersive courses, gaining the technical know-how needed to make the big switch into the ICT sector. Through TeSA, more than 8,000 Singaporeans have jumpstarted their careers in tech. Here are some of their unexpected yet inspiring journeys.

Keeping pace with digitalisation

With his interest in making things more efficient, a career in tech proved to be perfect for Mr Kevan Koh, who is now an application developer at Novade Solutions..

When Mr Kevan Koh learnt that primary school children were already learning how to code, he worried he’d get left behind in a digital economy. To meet the fast-evolving demands of today’s world, he decided to take up Le Wagon’s Web Development course through TIPP.

“I discovered that my interest was in trying to make things more efficient,” he explained. “If there is a way to make a task easier and less repetitive, I would try to do it. Programming is one of the best ways to achieve this! I also became interested in web development as I enjoyed building a product that people could see.” 

Since he came from a business administration background, Mr Koh couldn’t help but compare himself to others with more experience and formal degrees in tech. But Le Wagon’s positive culture and dedicated teachers helped him make the most of the programme, he noted. “Our final project made us feel that we could build anything if we set our minds to it.” 

Now an application developer at construction technology provider Novade Solutions, Mr Koh is responsible for fixing bugs in the code and adding features to their digital platforms, which streamline workflows for construction projects.

After seeing the value of honing one’s technical capabilities, Mr Koh encourages more people to take their first step into the ICT sector. 

There are so many opportunities for tech in Singapore that I feel it’s the best time for potential career switchers to switch now.

Mr Kevan Koh

Digitalising one step at a time

Having experienced first-hand the benefits of technology during his time as a cabin crew member, Mr Kevin Ng made the leap and is now an IT consultant!

Similar to Mr Koh, Mr Kevin Ng had the tech sector on his radar after witnessing digitalisation’s impact on different industries. During his time as a cabin crew member at Scoot, he had gone from using maps and guidebooks to using apps and the Internet, searching up recommended tourist spots in just a few clicks.

While the intricacies of the tech field were initially daunting to grasp, Mr Ng grew into an industry-ready professional by pursuing the Software Engineering Immersive course. Offered by TIPP partner and global technology education company General Assembly, this programme is structured to arm students with the technical skills to build full-stack web applications and deploy the programming languages typically used by leading organisations seeking the best technical talent.  

“I enjoyed the way the General Assembly course slowly built up from small tasks to building a full application by ourselves. The simpler tasks at the start helped me build confidence to tackle bigger problems at a later stage, and I was motivated throughout by the hard work of others around me,” shared Mr Ng, who is currently a consultant at IT company Zenika Singapore.

He also noted that while he initially worried he would have difficulty coping with the technical aspects of the course, his General Assembly instructors and classmates made it extremely enjoyable and provided a supportive learning environment. 

From experiencing the benefits of digitalisation in the past, Mr Ng is now a driving force behind innovative tech solutions. In his new role, he leverages his technical capabilities to enhance his clients’ application interfaces. For those wishing to follow in his footsteps, Mr Ng has this to say: 

Don’t let your self-doubt stop you from accomplishing great things. Instead of coming up with reasons on why you can’t succeed, think of reasons why you can!

Tools of the digital trade

Coming from a background in architecture, Ms Bernita Teo is now reimagining the user experience for the products of supply chain management provider Quincus.

Another General Assembly graduate supported by the TIPP is Ms Bernita Teo. She saw the User Experience (UX) Design Immersive course as an exciting avenue for learning the ins-and-outs of creating dynamic, user-friendly products. 

“The General Assembly course is structured to maximise the number of topics we could cover within 12 weeks, including user research methods as well as design iteration and development…to gear you up for joining the industry,” she said.  

For Ms Teo, UX seamlessly brought together her previous experiences in architecture and consumer analytics—such as designing physical spaces and preparing data-driven marketing strategies. “[UX] was perfect as it combines human-centred design, a creative approach to problem-solving and design thinking,” she shared.

With these UX principles in her arsenal, Ms Teo is responsible for several product features’ design process at Quincus, which provides supply chain management solutions. By understanding user pain points, she collaborates with the team to deliver high-quality products that customers can use with ease.

While she relishes the excitement and collaboration offered UX design, the decision to start over and pursue a new field was initially intimidating.

Just go for it. It’s never going to be easy but once you take that first step and focus on the task ahead, it gets less terrifying.

Ms Bernita Teo

Regardless of their background, ICT professionals like Mr Koh, Mr Ng and Ms Teo have all shown that taking up roles in tech is a worthwhile endeavour. With initiatives like TIPP providing professional development resources, it’s never too late to learn new skills and build towards a fulfilling tech career!

Interested in entering the tech sector? There’s no better time than now to make a career switch! Visit the Tech Immersion and Placement Programme (TIPP) page to discover how you can become an industry-ready ICT professional.

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