How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.
As a business analyst in the Ministry of Education, I get to play a part in the envisioning, planning, and execution of harnessing technology to make an impact in the lives of children, parents and teachers.
We work with the different stakeholders to understand their needs and see how we can meet them in a way that makes sense. There are many wants from the different parties but limited resources, so part of my job involves helping to prioritise what should be done so that we can bring the greatest value to our citizens.
The more operational side of my job involves supporting performance and security tests to ensure that what we roll out to citizens is robust and ready for widespread usage.
What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2018?
The most exciting thing I have been working on in 2018 would have to be Parents Gateway. We adopted a parent-centric approach in the development of Parents Gateway, with parents being able to use a single app to receive updates on their children across different schools.
On the teachers’ end, we focused on tasks that would reduce the administrative workload of teachers, such as the collation of responses to consent forms, so that they are able to better concentrate on what they do best – teaching our young ones.
It has been an exciting journey with the team even as we navigated through different challenges, re-evaluated our priorities constantly, and sought to iteratively build a product which would impact the lives of parents and teachers.
If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2018, what would it be?
This year, I learned the importance of appreciating differences. While I intuitively tend to seek out those who are most similar to me and affirm my views, I find that I learn the most from those who challenge my ideas. This makes things uncomfortable, but it is through working out these differences and understanding one another’s perspectives that I grow and learn more. I still struggle and can be quite defensive when challenged, but I am learning to be more open and teachable.
”I find that I learn the most from those who challenge my ideas.”
What are your priorities for 2019?
Keeping abreast of evolving and emerging technologies, and picking up new skills. Over the past three years, I have spent a significant portion of my personal time on my theological studies, which has helped me grow in my understanding of God. While this has been great for my spiritual growth, I am looking to focus more on tech skills in 2019. I hope to complete an online course on data analytics or machine learning by the end of next year.
What is one skill that has helped you the most throughout the course of your career?
I have found that being curious (or kaypoh) has proven to be helpful over the course of my career. As I constantly ask questions and follow up on them, I gain deeper insight into the problems that I am working on and am driven to find a solution for them. Curiosity also helps me to view new tasks with positivity instead of dread as I believe there is always something to be learned, which makes things less dreary.
Coffee, yoga, music… what powers you through your day?
Snacks, chatting with colleagues, and quick prayers. It’s not uncommon to find me munching on something to fuel brain activity (or at least that is how I justify it). I am blessed with interesting colleagues who put up with my quirks and chatting with them often brightens my day. And for the times when things are tough and sometimes require divine intervention, I say a quick prayer then quickly return to work.