Soon Sze Meng
MD, Corporate Development
There are three reasons that often nudge people to consider a mid-career switch: good career prospects, higher salary growth, and greater job fulfillment. The tech industry offers all these, alongside many opportunities for real-world impact.
While moving into a specialized field like tech can be daunting to some, Soon Sze Meng, Managing Director at Temus, finds that the experience and skills developed from working in other fields often facilitates the transition.
Initially a strategy consultant for Monitor Deloitte and McKinsey with public policy and business degrees, Sze Meng's own shift into tech began after joining Visa, where he was involved in strategy and data-driven marketing. "By the time I was hired to run PayPal’s Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan business, I was immersed in the fact-driven, agile and customer-centric culture of the fintech space," Sze Meng shares.
Since then, Sze Meng's tech experience has deepened, building tech-enabled businesses in payment and gaming during his time with Singtel, leading JD.com e-commerce businesses in Southeast Asia, and contributing as a board member for tech companies like GoJek and Tiki. "I seized every opportunity to expand my knowledge in the tech space," he reveals. "These days, aspiring digital professionals from non-tech backgrounds have structured programs like Step IT Up x Temus, which hires, places, and trains successful graduates into tech roles in a matter of months."
So how can tech hopefuls get their foot in the door and set themselves up for success in tech? Sze Meng shares his experiences, career suggestions and industry insights.
Hi Sze Meng, what is your role at Temus, and what does it entail?
My role is to develop capabilities for Temus to realize its mission. These include integrating Temus' strategic acquisitions, building the Step IT Up x Temus program, and enabling clients to drive their digital transformation. There are often trade-offs and decisions ensuring we stay true to our mission of creating societal and economic impact.
What are your takeaways from your time in tech?
Customer-focused products require clarity of use cases and strictly adopting the customer's perspective – a mindset of using technology as enablement to significantly improve experiences. Financial metrics, often given significant attention in other types of businesses, are just outcomes from serving the clients and customers in the best way possible.
How do you think the tech industry will evolve?
As organizations continue to direct their investments into digital transformations, the tech industry will continue to change and evolve to solve and meet the needs and demands of its clients and customers. Given evolving dynamics, it will become increasingly apparent that capabilities, capacities and, more importantly, ideas can come from anywhere and anyone.
What are some qualities for success in tech?
Given that tech requirements are constantly evolving, one of the essential qualities is the willingness to learn and adapt. Whether technical or programming capabilities, individuals must be committed and motivated to pick up new skills as technology and programming languages evolve rapidly.
Can professionals with little formal training and experience successfully jump into the tech world?
Of course! The willingness to adapt, work hard and adopt a customer-focused mindset allows those without a tech background to be effective and successful. Anyone can carry over this mentality regardless of working experience.
What are some skills that mid-career switches can bring to the table?
Agile teams in the tech world require individuals to work intensely with each other while adapting to distinctive styles and approaches for successful outcomes. No matter the field of work, professionals with years of experience have acquired personal proficiency and interpersonal- and team-based skills that are also applicable in the tech world. Managing emotions at work effectively, clearly communicating and understanding expectations are critical to aligning shared objectives and driving agreed outcomes.
What are some considerations when making a career switch to tech?
Switching careers is a crucial decision that requires support and guidance for success. Step IT Up x Temus provides technical instruction and coaching support for people embarking on their tech careers. We equip candidates with in-demand digital capabilities through comprehensive software development training and launch their careers in months.
How does a program like Step IT Up x Temus make a difference?
The program focuses on identifying intrinsic analytical and cognitive capabilities through targeted assessment tests and focused interviews where we determine candidates' motivations and work style suitability for software development. Our assessment process differs from more established approaches, which focus more on reviewing existing educational qualifications and work experience.
Therefore, the Step IT Up x Temus selection process and training allow our candidates to succeed in the program and join the tech industry at any point in their careers without being constrained by past job and education decisions. We enable inclusivity by providing anyone, especially those from non-tech backgrounds with an accelerated pathway into tech. Step IT Up x Temus will get you there if you are willing to keep learning and adapting.
Join Step IT Up x Temus to kickstart your digital career! Only 20 slots are available; apply to transform our digital future – and yours.