NTU Career Tracks 2023

A Career in the Digital Economy

Materials Science and Engineering (2019)
Software Engineer, DBS Bank

Please tell us about your role and responsibilities

I am currently working on a DBS feature called LiveBetter, which is a sustainability initiative by the bank. I am in the Android team and my role involves developing the app using mainly Java and Kotlin programming languages. My day-to-day responsibilities include looking at ways to enhance the user  interface/experience of the app and updating the app with new features. My team communicates often with our business team on how best to bring their ideas to users through the app.

People with software skills can get to work in many cross-functional squads of DBS, such as those working on devOps and Cloud services, as the mobile app is not the only thing we are constantly improving and requiring maintenance.

What made you pursue a career in this field?

I felt that tech is a promising sector to be in and there are plenty of job opportunities and possibilities. It is also a field where qualifications do not matter as much, as long as you show potential employers you possess the necessary attributes such as problem solving, logical thinking and a curious mind to explore solutions.

What do you enjoy most about this role?

I get to learn new things every day and grow continually, which appeals to my personal goals when it comes to looking for fulfilling work. I also enjoy the fact that every change our team makes can be seen in the updates of the app. This makes me feel accomplished as it is something tangible that our app users can benefit from.

I am also fortunate to be in an environment where I am given sufficient opportunity to learn, and have a team lead who is patient and willing to be there to answer any doubts I have.

What are some work challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

I did not come from an IT background. I was offered this position through the Technology in Finance Immersion Programme (TFIP), which is a career conversion programme. My lack of IT knowledge meant I had to study twice as hard to learn basic concepts and practice my coding skills outside of work to catch up with my peers and even interns in my company. Turning on my work laptop the moment I get home is already a well-practiced habit for me. Though it sounds exhausting, the sense of fulfilment I get from learning something new each time never gets old and fuels my passion.

I will not claim to have overcome this challenge yet as every day is a big reminder that there are still many things that I do not know. However, I see this as an opportunity to find out and this attitude is what matters to do well in this industry.

What is needed to be successful in this role?

Adopt the mentality that there are a lot that you do not know. It is normal to feel the imposter syndrome and inadequacy but be brave and seek help even if it is for a problem that you deem trivial. Persist and do not give up. You will find yourself looking back a month or even a week later and realise how far you have come in a short time. Time passes very quickly when you are in the tech industry. As a senior developer once told me: “a senior software developer is a junior who does not give up.”

Please share your advice with students who are keen to pursue a career in this field

“Tech roles sounds sexy”. Maybe it is. “Tech roles are high paying”. That can be true, but you will need to have the skills deserving of the high salary. Make learning a habit as there is always something new developing and you need to continually upgrade to stay ahead. Set a learning goal and remind yourself that you are never done, only a work in progress.

Have interests outside of work so that your life does not revolve around your work. For myself, I am also an emcee and public speaker who has hosted over 100 events.

A Day in the Life of a Software Engineer

Travel to work

Replying to emails and keeping myself up to speed with business decisions on the features we are implementing on our next app release

Our team has a daily (virtual) stand-up meeting as DBS follows the AGILE methodology. Afterwards, there may be a quick Android team meeting between my teammates to check on our progress.

Proceed with coding

Lunchtime is generally flexible and I usually take an hour with my colleagues

After lunch, I will carry on with my coding work. Sometimes, there will be meetings between stakeholders to discuss app improvements and how best to implement them.

No one stops you from leaving on time but you can always stay if you feel that you work better in office and there is something you must finish before leaving

Values are the qualities that give you a sense of purpose and keep your career satisfaction going.

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