To 24-year-old Yin Yi De, programming seemed like an arcane skill reserved for the technically-incline. He started to develop an interest in it only after taking an elective module on programming.
As a second-year Economics undergraduate at the University College London in the United Kingdom then, he began to enjoy the process of thinking through programming-related problems – a process that involves structuring codes to clearly communicate his intention to other programmers. Seeing his solutions work upon execution was the icing on the cake.
With no background knowledge on programming, keeping up with the latest trends was a struggle for Mr Yin, who had to grasp both basic and complex concepts quickly. His efforts paid off when he successfully created a text-based game using Java as the final assignment for his module. The vocabulary question-and-answer game tested players on word synonyms.
“I got so lost in the process that I would go on for many hours and even forget to eat lunch,” says Mr Yin. “The satisfaction after handing up the finished product was indescribable.”
As his love for programming grew, he decided to apply for the Smart Nation Scholarship offered by Government Technology Agency (GovTech), which led to the opportunity to pursue a Masters in Computing Science at Imperial College London.
Building a strong foundation
The scholarship provides numerous opportunities for Mr Yin to learn skills and gain knowledge he needs to master the art of programming.
His internship at Cyber Security Group last year exposed him to a variety of skills, including designing web application, exploiting web vulnerabilities and learning to present ideas to stakeholders and end users.
He is confident that his master’s degree will come in useful as he builds a solid foundation for learning new technologies.
“My current course has been invaluable in filling the gaps in my knowledge, and preparing me for any technology-related role I take up in future,” he says.
While Mr Yin has yet to map out a specific career path, he is thrilled at the prospect of joining GovTech. He will be participating in the agency’sTechnology Associate Program (TAP) upon graduation.
The leadership-training programme is designed to groom fresh graduates into young leaders as well as deepen their skills and knowledge in areas such as applications development, cyber security, Sensor & Internet of Things, ICT infrastructure as well as data science and artificial intelligence over a two-year period.
He believes the organisation will be a great fit for him, lending him the support to hone his programming and other technical skills while working on projects that serve the public.
Mr Yin hopes to use his problem-solving skills in the area of data science, as the latter has great potential to help citizens and bring about positive changes in society.
He says: “Data science empowers decision-makers to carry out evidence-based decision making. We can therefore maximise the use of our limited resources, targeting important issues that have a real impact on the lives of Singaporeans.”