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How digital upskilling helped three jobseekers kickstart new careers

Acquiring in-demand tech skills at NTUC LearningHub gave three go-getters the confidence and competency to take on new challenges.

After delivering her son in 2007, Ms Tulasi decided to put her career on hold to recover her health and care for her child. Now 42, she made the momentous decision to restart her career in 2018.

On the advice of Workforce Singapore, she enrolled in NTUC LearningHub’s Java Developer course in 2020 to include an accredited certification in programming to her portfolio. The course equipped her with knowledge on Oracle and Spring Boot development frameworks, and honed her analytical and problem-solving skills.

Ms Tulasi chose the course as it built on the learning she pursued during her hiatus from the workforce. She had taken a web development course and engaged in her own self-learning to ensure that she was better prepared to re-enter the tech industry at the appropriate juncture.

In addition to the technical skills she picked up from the Java Developer course, she acquired critical core skills (soft skills) such as teamwork, time management and communication, which have proved useful in her current role as a software engineer in testing and production support. She secured the role in 2021 after completing the course and excelling at an internship at the same company that year.

“The skills that I gained helped me land the job. I’m now working on the Java application and I help users fix issues they may face at work,” said Ms Tulasi. “I am able to tap on my technical, problem-solving and analytical skills to resolve their issues. My communication skills allow me to better understand from clients what the issues are, gather the requirements and meet their needs in a timely manner.”

Ms Tulasi, who is looking forward to learning about different software applications, said that it is important to keep pace with change by being technologically savvy. Noting that the past decade has seen the rise of new technologies and new ways of working, she added: “To remain competitive, we must keep finding opportunities to upgrade ourselves. The course has given me an awareness of these changes in the industry and helped me to adapt to them.” 

AFTER RETRENCHMENT, A NEW PHASE

Mr Lee was a systems engineering manager for a start-up when he was retrenched in March 2020.

Methodical by nature, Mr Lee immediately examined his finances to ensure he had enough set aside for his daughter’s university education. He then updated his resume and kept a spreadsheet of all the hundreds of job applications he sent out. But it was the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many organisations were cautious about hiring.

Three to four months of unemployment went by. Unfazed, Mr Lee decided to sign up for the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics course at NTUC LearningHub, fuelled by a childhood passion for robotics and programming. While he left midway through the nine-month-long course after securing a job as a principal engineer for a local infosecurity organisation in late 2020, he said that the programming and decision tree modules from the course are still relevant and applicable in his current role in cybersecurity.

He also found the course instructors – who all had vast industry experience – patient and knowledgeable, while his course mates made learning fun, engaging and mutually beneficial: “We were able to share our experience and industrial know-how with our trainers and fellow course mates, and we helped one another in solving key issues related to programming and building robotics models.”

Now a senior systems engineer for a data protection and data platform company, Mr Lee said that the AI and robotics course gave him a much-needed confidence boost, reassuring him it was still possible to learn even in his 50s.

“The course certainly heeded the Government’s call to refresh, upskill, learn new skills and be a lifelong learner,” he reflected. “It expanded my knowledge and skill set, refreshing and enhancing my competencies.”

“Some roles may utilise your newly acquired skills, while other skills learnt may have indirect applications, too,” he added. “As long as you have the commitment and determination, you can demonstrate and apply your new knowledge and skills.”

Take the first step in upskilling yourself at NTUC LearningHub.

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