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Our Graduates – The Journey and beyond

Published on: 14-Nov-2018

MS ALFIE FARHANA BINTE MOHAMED (Computer Science, Class of 2018)

I graduated from Singapore Polytechnic with a Diploma in Digital Media prior to joining the School of Computer Science and Engineering in NTU. The best part of my NTU journey was applying the theoretical and practical knowledge gained from the modules in Computer Science into my internship at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Throughout my three years of study in NTU prior to internship, I could not really appreciate how some of the modules that I learnt in the classes would be relevant to the career I wanted to pursue, which is to be a front-end engineer. After completing my degree, I am thankful that I studied those modules as they are applicable in my field both directly and indirectly. I also discovered my strengths and weaknesses through the difficulties I faced in NTU, which enabled me to emerge as a more capable, skillful and stronger person than I was before I enrolled in my study in 2014.

As a workaholic, I have always loved working more than schooling. I prefer project work versus taking an examination, and the internship gave me the chance to adjust to the working environment. My transformation from a student to a working adult was also very smooth. As my internship was taken during the last semester of my NTU study, I was also offered the opportunity to convert to full-time employee upon its completion. As such, the projects I did during my internship were carried over when I returned as a full-time employee, which gave me a head start on the list of things that I needed to do during my first week of work.

My advice to the current and future students is to be open-minded about the curriculum that SCSE has offered/ will be offering to you. They may not seem relevant to you now, but your future career will require you to have this knowledge. By being familiar with many areas in IT and having acquired the various technical skills during the study, you will definitely be opened to a wider variety of opportunities and choices when you graduate.

MS ANOOSHA CHIVUKULA (Double Degree in Business and Computing, Class of 2014)
President, 2012-2013, Computer Engineering Club
Senior Software Engineer @ Visa

As a confused junior college graduate stepping into NTU, I did not know what to expect as both computer science and business were completely new domains to me. While it was a challenge to take on a heavy workload and learn seemingly contrasting subjects, the well-crafted program at NTU made the process manageable and enjoyable. In addition, I had great professors who helped me relate real world examples to subject fundamentals, and encouraged me to innovate through the computing innovation and design, and the final year projects. During my time at NTU, I also had opportunities to build interpersonal and leadership skills. As president of the Computer Engineering Club, I spearheaded educational and corporate initiatives such as TechFest, hackathon and programming competitions for the SCSE student body. I got a taste of the corporate world during my summer internship at Goldman Sachs, where I also started my career. Looking back, the well-rounded education and amazing experience I had at NTU have been immensely helpful in navigating the workplace and growing my career.

My advice overall: “Explore, innovate and challenge yourself, but don't forget to enjoy during your time at NTU”

MR RUSSELL LOH WEIBIN (Computer Science, Class of 2018)
Vice President, 2015-2016, Computer Engineering Club

I was from Nanyang Polytechnic but that did not stop me from achieving and getting into School of Computer Science and Engineering at NTU. The biggest challenge I have faced in NTU was the lack of time. There were so many opportunities as a student of NTU and SCSE and it was not possible to take on all of the opportunities.

One such example was the missing out on an overseas summer exchange program. This is because I wanted to focus on being the Vice President of Computer Engineering club, having identified that I am passionate about leadership. As such, I opted to intern with a local company rather than going for the overseas program. But like all students during internships, my greatest fear was that I would not be able to perform up to standard and hence not recognized for my strengths and contributions.

I think it is important to realize that transformation begins during the first day of university, and every decision we make will have an impact to being a working adult later. Many decisions, however mundane or simple it looks can have a huge influence on our future, such as joining certain CCAs or hackathon/ case competitions that may give us added advantage through the skills developed.

Knowing that my actions in university will have an impact on my future as a working adult, I started to take conscious effort and planning to develop myself throughout the years in university. This included doing things that I was not comfortable, not confident, and sometimes, not happy with. People typically tell me that studying is much easier than working, but having worked hard during my university days and now having started work for 8 months, I beg to differ. Working couldn’t be more enjoyable because of the skills I have acquired in university.

Reflecting on my past three and a half years, I would advise you to just embrace and pursue fearlessly as our few years in university will be a short one, but it is also an important period where we get to learn about ourselves and things that we are passionate about. Be thankful for the people that you will meet along the journey and to welcome the opportunities, setbacks and changes for it will aid in your personal growth.

MR PRABHJOT VICKY GREWAL (Computer Science, Class of 2018)

I started my studies in School of Computer Science and Engineering in NTU after completing my National Service, having been back in Singapore from India.

I am glad the school has an exhaustive list of partnered companies which students can choose for their professional internship. My intern experience with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch really helped me to understand how the technological department of a major MNC operates.

In addition to career opportunities, the provision of lecture recordings gave students the flexibility to pursue their passions out of the classroom without it affecting their academic learning. Personally, I wouldn't be able to co-found a start-up, found a consulting club and be on the leadership team of multiple other student organisations if lecture recordings were not available.

Overall, pursuing a Computer Science degree from NTU SCSE proved to be one of the best decisions of my life.

Modules like Introduction to Computational Thinking helped me to develop a logical problem-solving approach which I know will be useful in my career. Being the leader in project-based modules like Software Engineering and MDP allowed me to build my leadership skills while working with diverse and dynamic team members.

Additionally, the opportunities to intern with large firms like Singapore Airlines and Bank of America gave me the flexibility to experience different roles in multiple industries which helped me in discovering the career that I wanted to pursue.

Advice to students: Step out of your comfort zone - nothing great in life comes easy.

SEE GHIM SHEN (Computer Engineering, Class of 2012)

One key takeaway as a student back in NTU Computer Engineering program was the concept of concurrency programming by realising that life doesn’t solely revolve around work (as opposed to single-threaded/ procedural programming). Afte­r all, the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Back in those days, I was juggling with similar commitments as all of you as a student. Thankfully, I was given a humbling opportunity to help with a short project by MOE during the course of my study.  For this project, I helped to develop a program to shortlist scholarly candidates for the Teaching Attachment Programme (TAP) and Teaching Internship Programme (TIP). This was considered a pilot run for them ever since the revamp of the JC curriculum from the conventional A and AO level subjects to the newer H1, H2 and H3 subjects. The challenge for this project was that I had to understand the intricacies of the selection process within a short time while ensuring that the final deliverable was 100% accurate. Imagine my surprise when the final deliverable went on to clinch an award for significant savings in manpower costs.

That was my first foray into work in the Public Service. Upon graduation, I continued to pursue an employment in Public Service and was employed as an Executive Engineer in Land Transport Authority. Being an LTA Engineer has deepened my insights in the land transport industry, and has allowed me to gain a newfound appreciation towards the unsung heroes that connect and maintain our public transport system. It was through this career that I understood what it meant to do one’s utmost best no matter how trying the circumstances were. It was a challenging job, but still, I continued to delve deeper into the real aspects of public service because I altruistically feel that true public service transcends the definition of Public Service as a career.

Though I have been working full-time as an LTA Engineer for the past 6 years, I have also dedicated personal time to contribute as a volunteer at Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist Association (Singapore). As a volunteer, I provide bilingual interpretation service during public-facing dialogue sessions and sit as a committee member for our bi-monthly publication as well as being the webmaster for the organisation. Being a bilingual interpreter has given me opportunities to improve on my communication skills as there is a need to ensure accurate communication of information to the community.  It was also through this volunteering work that I learnt to recognise and appreciate the nuanced and multi-faceted nature of language. Currently, I am learning Japanese, and have attained an N4 level of proficiency but I will continue to pursue higher levels of proficiencies to better myself.

As a committee member for our bi-monthly publication, my appreciation for teamwork and patience gets reinforced with each cycle of the process. These may never be privy to the eyes of our readers, but our teammates will know because they breathed and fought the same war and celebrated the same victory as we did. I am truly appreciative and grateful to be sharing the same spirit and vision with my team. Due to the nature of this volunteering work, I am also constantly reminded of the fact that the publication of articles should go through rigorous sensitivity analysis to protect Singapore as a multi-religious and multi-racial society. All of these volunteering exposures have enabled me to connect better with people from all walks of life and also empathise with their daily struggles. This motivates me to strive harder to play an active role in giving back to society in whatever way I can, whenever I can.

In short, I truly believe that the education one receives should not determine what a person chooses to do in life eventually, but it is the character and attitude one acquired and possessed that will truly shape a person’s ideals and aspirations in life. In doing so, this person will be able to rise up to any challenge and be a leader amongst leaders and make a positive contribution. With that, I would like to convey my deepest appreciation to my alma mater, NTU School of Computer Engineering for the wonderful journey I have had in helping me shape my life goals and aspirations – that is, to encourage others to reciprocate and give back to the society.

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