GovTechies reflect on their journey
It’s GovTech’s 6th Birthday! In this past six years, there have been countless projects that have touched different facets of society. These initiatives were only made possible by our extraordinary GovTechies who embody our ABC values – Agile, Bold, Collaborative.
To mark the milestone of our sixth birthday, we spoke to some GovTechies on the impact of their work and what keeps them going.
Why did you become part of the A11Y (a term for accessibility – there are 11 letters between “a” and “y” in the word) movement?
Kim: I’ve always had this inclination to use my strengths and skills for public good. Throughout my career, I was constantly pulled towards work or personal projects within the inclusion space and as I picked up tech along the way, working in digital accessibility felt like a natural progression. We spend at least eight hours of our day working, so ensuring that these hours go towards purposeful and fulfilling causes is important to me.
Royce: I’ve always wanted to contribute to society and have volunteered with the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADEAF) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation since my university days. However, my volunteer work was always on an ad-hoc basis. When this A11Y opportunity came up, it caught my attention. I can finally apply my technical knowledge to contribute to causes close to my heart.
What do you enjoy about your work at GovTech?
Kim: It has to be the people and the learning culture. My team members are very encouraging about my appetite for growth and support me by providing learning opportunities as well as advising me on other avenues for upskilling such as mentorship programmes and The Digital Academy.
Royce: Definitely the job satisfaction from working on meaningful projects. I wake up every day looking forward to spending a great day at work instead of counting down to the weekend. We are also in the best position to implement positive change to help citizens through technology. What are some tips you have for anyone who wants to be more inclusive in their everyday life?
Kim: Make an effort to be around people from the community. Volunteer, engage in conversations, have an open mind and don’t be afraid to unlearn some behaviours. The main gap that I’m hoping to reduce here is the lived experience and you can’t fully understand that without practising empathy.
Royce: See the person, not the disability. You can do so by engaging with the PwD community through volunteering. This helps to develop empathy and you will also get to appreciate the accessibility features around you.
What are three traits that you think are necessary to do your job well?
Firstly, empathy. We have to walk in others’ shoes to understand their pain points and think of workarounds to improve the situation. Secondly, tactical agility. We have to be creative when drafting contract requirements to achieve better pricing and efficiency during contract management.
Thirdly, resilience. Project teams are usually not familiar with procurement rules and processes. We must have the resilience to manage difficult situations and complete each procurement with a positive experience for all. What motivates you to go above and beyond at your job?
I am motivated by the trust and support received from project teams and hope to turn each procurement exercise into a happy experience. Over time, I have also benefited from improved competence and knowledge beyond my role. Why do you think it’s important for GovTechies to help one another and be team players?
As a public agency, many of our projects require cross-division or agency collaboration. Project success can only be achieved when the different stakeholders come together, leverage on our respective strengths to solve problems and move towards a common goal.
Why is GovTech’s Digtal4Good (D4G) a meaningful project?
Digital4Good builds people’s confidence in the digital society so that everyone can benefit from digitisation. The programme also inspires GovTechies to volunteer and make direct contributions to society.
Is there a particular moment that stands out for you during the past D4Gs?
In a recent session at the Digital Learning Circle workshop, a senior citizen was so delighted to discover that she could use Google Translator to read the food label in the language she is comfortable in. Now, grocery shopping is so much more enjoyable for her.
What keeps you so passionate about D4G?
Leading a team of GovTech volunteers has boosted my leadership skills and got me closer to the community. We can better understand their pain points and know how we can help them so that nobody is left behind in our digital society.
What keeps you motivated to push your limits?
In the information security space, continual upskilling is necessary to keep up with rapid changes in technology. Malicious actors are abusing new vulnerabilities and entire classes of exploits round the clock, so falling behind can lead to a critical business impact on our operations and data leaks.
What are you currently learning or planning to learn next?
I am currently learning cloud infrastructure and service exploitation. I am also keeping an eye on emerging technologies like blockchain security.
How has GovTech supported your journey?
My leaders constantly challenge me to push my boundaries by sharing new materials, writeups, and courses. They also imparted skills that are not easily acquired from the internet. I am grateful for the support!
Why were you drawn to this cause?
Sowmya: I have been in meeting rooms where I was the only woman. Gender balance brings positive changes to what we talk about and how we talk, and I have experienced that first-hand. I want to add my voice to this cause!
Liyana: Being part of the WiG ERG came naturally to me as I have been an advocate for women-in-tech issues outside of work. I am inspired to use my position well at GovTech to create a safe space for women to explore careers in tech and enable them to design what success looks like for themselves.
How has the WiG ERG been advocating and educating GovTechies on the importance of gender balance?
We do it through a mix of community and educational events.
One of our bigger initiatives is the Girls in Tech Summer Mentorship Programme. Due to the enthusiastic response last year from university students, we expanded the programme to students from junior colleges and polytechnics. We were heartened to see that our pool of participants grew, which shows that more GovTechies are supportive of our cause and that more young women are encouraged to explore a STEM career.
What achievements of WiG ERG are you proud of?
When we were recognised in the 2021 GovTech Impact Awards. It’s encouraging to know that our colleagues in GovTech are receptive to our efforts to drive active conversations around being more gender inclusive and neutral in the organisation, which will ultimately influence the wider tech industry.
Make a difference, join us!
GovTech wouldn’t have gotten this far with our Smart Nation successes without the passion and good work from our GovTechies. We are proud to be part of the team the builds tech for public good! If you see yourself as a good fit to our work and culture, you’re welcome to apply here or visit our LinkedIn or Inside GovTech Facebook page to learn more about us.https://www.tech.gov.sg/media/technews/govtech-sixth-birthday