Nowadays, few of us get to apply what we learn or love to a job in the real world. But Singapore Digital (SG:D) Scholarship (which incorporates the former Media Education Scholarship) awardee Daryl Bong, is making the most of his bachelor’s degree in Game Design.
The 27-year-old is applying what he learnt to build non-game apps, and to create and refine app interactions as an interaction engineer at Singtel, to which he is bonded for four years.
“After my O levels, I graduated with a diploma in Game Design and Development from Singapore Polytechnic. I planned on doing my degree after National Service, and was applying for the DigiPen Institute of Technology and Singapore Institute of Technology (DigiPen-SIT) joint degree programme when I learnt of the SG:D Scholarship.”
Open to all Singaporeans, it consolidates various industry bonded scholarships offered by the Infocommunications Media Development Authority (IMDA).
Open to change
However, when IMDA matched him with Singtel as his bonding company, he could not see how this would utilise the skills from his education.
“Then I learnt that Singtel was still transforming, and realised I should be open to doing the same,” he says.
The full-tuition scholarship saw him through the four years of undergraduate study (2013 to 2017). He says: “After seeing others cram extra classes to graduate faster and pay less fees, I was grateful for both the scholarship and bond.”
The year 2015 was particularly memorable. He spent three months at DigiPen’s Redmond campus in America via its Overseas Immersion Program. Soon afterwards, Dungeon Delvers, a 2-D action game he co-designed with three other DigiPen-SIT students, won the Best Student Game Award at the Independent Games Festival China.
Then, during a six-month internship with Singtel’s On-Air Promotions team, he created motion graphics for advertisements and interstitials. “Seeing my first ad on-air was so fulfilling. I also helped automate workflow processes with tools I created.”
New responsibilities, exciting new projects
His Singtel bond commenced six months after graduation with the Management Associate Programme (MAP), an accelerated leadership programme that permits two rotations within Singtel across two years.
In his first year, he joined NCS (formerly National Computer Systems), and built an augmented-reality (AR) app using Unity, a game development software, for clients and partners to use at a global NCS convention. “I completed this exciting solo project in two months.”
Now halfway into his second year and currently an interaction engineer, Mr Bong creates and refines interactions of Singtel apps together with Singtel’s Digital Experience team of UIUX (User Interface and User Experience) designers and business engagement managers.
“This world is still new to me,” he says, “but my studies on micro-interactions, polish, feature management, testing, and experience design really pay off here. A project I’m working on now introduces game-like elements such as player engagement and game mechanics into an otherwise non-game environment.”
Of the future, Mr Bong says: “Whether I will be doing apps and such for Singtel or myself is not as important as the actual work and how it touches people.”