Denise’s decision to major in Information Systems – essentially a hybrid course of business and information technology (IT) – came as a natural choice as she has developed a strong interest in both areas since her junior college days. She dabbled in interface web design as a hobby when blogs were getting popular. Denise’s nascent involvement with her family’s business also played a part in her decision to take up an infocomm education. ‘I was helping to create a database system for the business, so that we can keep track of the stocks coming in and out of the warehouse. Infocomm surrounds us. We live, work and interact with it every day.’ She added, ‘There is so much growth potential in IT, it just never stops. Understanding the technology is definitely a good skillset to have.’
Although females are a minority in the infocomm industry, Denise never thought that the gender difference was an issue. ‘Whether you’re a man or a woman, success boils down to two main drivers – passion and attitude,’ she said.
The Infocomm Education – Greater Opportunities Here And Abroad
Denise took up the Fast Track Bachelors-Masters Scholarship in which she spent her first two years in the SMU and two more years in Carnegie Mellon University, one of the best infocomm schools in the USA. She felt privileged to have the best of both worlds, explaining that while the Singaporean and American approaches to education are very different, her experience in both universities were equally rewarding.
‘The education system in Singapore is more theoretical but it provides a solid foundation. In the US, there’s a lot more class participation focusing on analysing and solving problems. Studying abroad has really broadened my horizons,’ said Denise.
NIS applicants have a choice of four types of scholarships: Fast Track Bachelors-Masters Scholarship which leads to both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Full Local/Overseas Scholarship, and Midterm Scholarship which awards existing undergraduates studying an infocomm-related degree.
Denise commented, ‘NIS provided me with a lot of opportunities and good guidance every step of the way. During my university days, I was assigned a mentor from Barclays who continually gave me valuable advice, and shared with me his work experience. There were also many seminars that focused on soft skills which NIS supported enthusiastically.’
Opportunities At Prestigious Organisations
NIS scholars can choose to serve with any of the recommended industry partners, both from the public and private sectors, based on their aspirations and interests. She eventually selected Barclays Singapore where she interned. She is now an Analyst with a dynamic team that is involved with the development of one of the core systems integral to the organisation. She also underwent training in Barclays London for five weeks. Attending this session with other graduates from around the world was indeed memorable and a great networking opportunity for her.
Denise’s work exposure was not limited to just Barclays. Denise was an intern programmer at Tyler Projects, a local gaming design company which created the popular game, Battle Stations. She said, ‘I was involved in the development of the first version of Farm Fantasy, and was working on both the user interface development as well as backend game mechanics. It was really fun working in such a dynamic company.’
A World Of Possibilities
Denise is excited about the future of infocomm and the vast prospects that it offers. Her technical know-how and soft skills gleaned from NIS have equipped her well. She said, ‘I believe infocomm is empowering because it keeps evolving. It is a big creative space that can be anyone’s game as long as you have an open mind. By combining good ideas with technology, the possibilities of what you can do with infocomm are limitless.’
National Infocomm Scholarship
(Fast Track Bachelors-Masters Scholarship)
Now: Analyst, Barclays Singapore
Attained: BSc (Information Systems Management) from SMU, MSc
(Information Technology) from
Carnegie Mellon University
From: Victoria JC