Want a seamless transition into tech? Here's career advice from a millennial techie.

21 Sep 2022 - by John Ang

john ang ai and data delivery manager temus
John Ang
AI and Data Delivery Manager,
Temus

The world has seen rapid acceleration and adoption of all things digital within the last decade. And as one of the fastest-growing sectors globally, the tech industry is abundant with career opportunities, while digital talent is in short supply. 

But, pursuing a tech career may seem daunting when you come from a non-technical field of work – even more so if you're switching mid-career. 

So how exactly does one successfully transition into tech? John Ang, a Data and AI Delivery Manager at Temus, shares his experience switching careers and pearls of wisdom gleaned along the way. 

On what sparked his decision to pursue a career in tech

Coming from a finance background, I spent the first two years of my career working in a bank, followed by three years in a finance role at a startup, before making the jump to tech. 

When I joined the bank, I had a colleague who showed me how he had written a VBA macro (Visual Basic for Applications) to automate a 45-minute task down to just 20 seconds. It was magic. From that day, I started messing around with code during my free time. I only decided to go ‘all-in’ after a few years. 

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On his pivotal journey into tech 

Truthfully, it was very intimidating. I had no "lay of the land" and no sense if whatever I did would pay off professionally. There were many days when I wondered if I would ever reach a level of skill that would make me employable in a tech-related role. 

Eventually, I reached a lightbulb moment, where everything started to click – but the journey to gaining skills and confidence wasn't an easy one. It's what every beginner goes through. 

On overcoming the tough start

I gave myself a year to fully commit to the switch into tech. I immersed myself in learning, building projects and applying for tech-related roles. I tried everything at least once – boot camps, books, meet-ups, online courses and more. All of this knowledge has been helpful to me at one point or another. 

If I could give my past-self a tip, it would be to worry less about doing or learning the "right" things and letting your interests guide you more. For example, if you like data science, pursue that path. If you enjoy web design, immerse yourself in UI/UX or front-end development. Your skills will carry whether you're coding up a machine learning model or building a mobile app, and you'll go much further doing something you're interested in. 

Instead of figuring it out on their own, people from non-technical backgrounds can now opt for hire, place, and train programmes like the Step IT Up x Temus to accelerate their learning journey and get a leg up into tech. Trainees acquire the digital coding and programming skills needed under the watchful guidance of industry experts and coaches , following a hyper-customized training curriculum tailored to the roles they were hired for. And besides getting sponsored for the cost of training, trainees receive a stipend throughout the training period, and land a full time role as a coder / developer upon graduation!

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On the advantages that non-tech professionals can bring to the table 

One of the most significant advantages that people with a non-technical, yet broad-based education might have over those with a traditional computer science education is cross-domain expertise. Code exists to build what people find useful, and having that experience to identify those areas is an invaluable skill.

Working on the business side of things has allowed me to zoom quickly into organisational problems that would deliver the most value if resolved. I've effectively used this skill to ask the right questions, frame my problem statements in the context of the business need, and convert these business needs into precise coding and software engineering requirements. 

On what it takes to be successful in tech

The most important thing is to always be open to learning. This sense of learning agility is today all the more important just as the tech landscape will be constantly changing. Today, a key feature of tech jobs is the ability to also learn on-the-go, and to do so almost on a daily basis. 

On his job at Temus and what it entails 

I work as an AI and Data Delivery Manager in the Temus’ AI & Data Centre of Excellence. My job involves working with customers to understand how to use digital solutions to drive business transformation and with our engineering teams to operationalise and deliver those solutions. 

On his favourite Temus project 

My favourite project so far was an organic movement that surfaced while envisioning ‘the future of education’. Over the past few months, as we've worked on multiple education-related projects, some of my team members at Temus  realised that we have the tools to radically re-imagine education for Singapore. A small team got together and started ideating. Today we  have over 10 people from various backgrounds and professional specialisations crafting workable solutions to turn that vision into a reality. 

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On how joining tech has enabled him to spark change and make a difference 

Tech powers change in the world. This is true across almost every sector and industry. The ability to build a better world with  tech inspires and empowers me to  shape the future, and create the change I want to see in the world. 

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On why people who are interested in joining the tech industry should apply for Step IT Up x Temus 

Having a platform to interact with like-minded peers, while building real digital solutions, are invaluable experiences to someone who is just starting out. There is also tremendous value in joining a fast-growing company with a societal purpose. Imagine the projects you'll get a chance to take on and the opportunities that’ll come  your way!

If you're interested in tech but haven't had the chance to make the transition into our space, Step IT Up x Temus is as close to a "no-lose" situation as it gets. The biggest opportunities come to those who are bold enough to seize them!

Applications for Step IT Up x Temus are open till 24 October 2022. Visit stepitup.temus.com to jumpstart your digital transformation.