Digital 4 Good: GovTech UX designers sharing their UX career journey!
Here at GovTech, we’re big about doing good for the country. After all, there’s a reason why we’re in the public service!
But contributing to society can be more than just through our careers. The Digital 4 Good, or D4G, initiative empowers GovTechies to give back to the community, particularly by working with the young and seniors and bringing tech into their lives. D4G frequently works with external partners who have similar aims to widen the impact of its efforts.
Why was this sharing session held online? Read on to find out!
One such recent collaboration was with Hatch, a social enterprise that, among other things, runs the Immersive+ programme. The scheme reaches out to underserved youths aged 16 to 25 with the aim of sparking their interest in tech and ultimately preparing them for an entry-level role in the industry.
GovTech’s UX designers worked with Hatch to host an industry sharing and career advisory session to share what it means to be in the UX space. During the event, they also did a portfolio review. The event was attended by 14 youths who received an insider look into the world of UX while receiving invaluable career advice.
To find out more about the programme, we spoke to Cheryl Wong, one of the GovTech UX designers who led the sessions, Choo Liying, Chief Operating Officer at Hatch and Zhi Nan, one of the youth participants.
Hi everyone, thanks for speaking to us! First off, how did this initiative come about?
Cheryl: One of my GovTech colleagues first heard about Hatch through a brown bag sharing and reached out to me to lead this pilot and expand D4G efforts to the UX fields. I read several articles about Hatch and their ethos of giving, really resonated with me. It was an incredible opportunity for GovTech UX Designers to give back. In the end, we managed to get 8 GovTechies to volunteer their time and we all saw this as a great way to contribute to society.
Liying: When this opportunity came about, we were happy to pursue it as we believe in the power of collaboration and community. With this collaboration, we can amplify the work we do by leveraging on each of our strengths. These learnings and sharing go a long way in aiding our beneficiaries’ journey to the digital industry.
Of all the ways to contribute, why a sharing session? And for Zhi Nan, why did you sign up?
Liying: We saw the potential to broaden the learners’ perspectives and understanding of the digital industry as they are able to hear directly from the experts about the work that they do in the industry. The GovTech team was very open and authentic in the sharing of their experiences and knowledge, making it a session with genuine value. We believe that learning takes place beyond the classroom and such opportunities enable learners to gain further clarity on their future path.
Cheryl: There’s this saying: “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you figure out why.” I found my “why” when I discovered the power of human-centered design and how it can be used to co-design with users to solve problems. I am very grateful to have turned it into a passion-fueled profession and thought that I could share this passion with others and hopefully light the same interest in others.
Zhi Nan: I wanted to learn more about the industry, specifically the work that GovTech does. I also wanted to hear the different perspectives from everyone, and how they got to where they are today.
Any standout moments from the session?
Cheryl: I felt the industry sharing was very refreshing, authentic and fun! We learnt a lot from each other’s diverse perspectives too! We had to shift the format from in-person to online as both Liying and I had COVID. Despite our illness, we trudged on to run it for the students. It was a great team effort! At the end, when the students mentioned things like: “I really appreciate the values and skills shared today. Truly inspirational, will continue to explore the UX pathway,” it made all the sacrifice worth it.
Liying: Yes, having to scramble to switch to an online session was a challenge. I was really heartened by the honest and real sharing by the GovTechies about their journey to the industry. During the Q&A portion, it was wonderful to see all the curious questions posed by the learners and how each speaker took time to answer all of them.
Zhi Nan: I liked how the GovTechies introduced a design item and explained why they liked it. It kickstarted a very interactive and insightful discussion and I could hear about the design thinking process and see many people (including myself) relate to it. It showed how interactive design connects people and applies to our everyday life!
Lastly, what’s next after this industry sharing? Any advice or steps to take to explore UX further?
Cheryl: I hope this session has inspired the participants to be curious and seek out UX mentors who are willing to share about their journey so they can learn more about this field and if it’s right for them. Read books, attend workshops and courses, watch videos online, read articles, and join UX community meetups to learn more. There are lots of resources out there!
Zhi Nan: I appreciated the sharing and it did spark my interest in possibly pursuing a career in the UX field. I hope to secure an internship for work experience and learn more about the nature of the job scope. If I feel that this career pathway suits me at the end of my internship, I will definitely venture down this path further.
Liying: That’s wonderful to hear! Ultimately, we believe that one’s past and present circumstances does not define one’s future career potential. The reason we do what we do at Hatch is to provide our learners with the space to discover their strengths, build skills, and enter jobs that they are interested in.https://www.tech.gov.sg/media/technews/digital-4-good-hatch-ux-hatch