He may have already traded in his student card for a staff pass, but SIT alumni and staff member Seaw Ker Boon chose to head back to the classroom to become a student once again. The aspiring software architect shares why he attended the Machine Learning courses under the SITLEARN Professional Development programme.
Hi Ker Boon, can you tell us about yourself please.
I graduated from SIT in 2016 and am back at my alma mater as a software engineer, developing a student-centered application called ‘Adventure Learn’ which aims to improve their soft skills and traits via personalised learning content. instead.
What are your responsibilities at work?
My roles and responsibilities at work include designing the architecture to ensure further enhancements to the application will be easy. I’m also involved with deciding which features will be added to the software, and reviewing the codes written.
Have you always been interested in technology? What is it about this subject that fascinates you?
I’ve always been interested in technology-, that’s why I studied Computing Science and also signed up for the machine learning course. It’s fascinating how technology improves so rapidly. Machine learning has played a big part in making processes more efficient, and that really caught my attention.
What were your reasons for taking up the machine learning courses at SIT?
Being in the IT industry, I believe having knowledge in different aspects of this field (e.g. Software Engineering, Infrastructure, AI) is very important. With machine learning algorithms being responsible for the vast majority of the artificial intelligence advancements and applications, it made me all the more interested to attend this course.
Why did you choose to work at your alma mater? Have you always resonated with the values of SIT?
At my previous job, I was mainly involved in programming. SIT offered me the chance in project management which involved handling stakeholders, managing people, and leading developers. These were skill sets that I readily wanted to improve on. More importantly, I like that what I’m doing has purpose. I believe what I learned from SIT can also be contributed back to the school, and that was partly why I decided to work here. The applications that I design and build with the technical skills learned from my alma mater will eventually contribute to current and future students at SIT. It is quite fulfilling to be able to contribute directly to my juniors.
Did it feel nostalgic to be back in the classrooms?
Yes. It felt like I was 21 years old again - just like a student who just began university life.
How did it feel being taught by a fellow colleague?
I think it made the lessons easier. Knowing the colleague meant I was less shy to ask more questions!
Has knowledge from the course has complemented or benefited your work?
Although it did not directly benefit my scope of work, there is a very big possibility artificial intelligence (which largely includes machine learning) will be utilised in the near future. Having completed the course and receiving a good basic understanding of the subject, if the opportunity arises, I’m further inclined to take on more advanced or expert-level classes to learn how to put machine learning into practice.
What are some contributions you hope to make in this field?
I’m working towards becoming a software architect to design software applications with the best structures so making enhancements or changes made will have minimal impact on the current systems - allowing the process to be as cost efficient and hassle-free as possible.
Is there a specific industry you are hoping get into?
Before I came into education, I was in the supply chain trade and dabbled in the finance sector as well. Right now, I prefer to keep my options open and try as many domains as possible before settling on one.
What were your first thoughts when you heard SIT was giving each student/alumni $2,000 worth of learning credits?
I was very happy and excited because I could make use of the credit to attend courses that I am interested in it but did not have opportunity to attend.
What are your thoughts on skills upgrading? Do you think its something worth consistently pursuing?
Lifelong learning is something I’ve always believed in. It’s important to upgrade your skills otherwise you become stagnant. In my own time, I also constantly review codes and build architectures. Through my own readings and research, I keep up on the best or newest in software architecture, and also study how others have successfully built their applications.
Would you recommend others to take up SITLearn Courses?
Yes, because the courses are very well-prepared and I strongly believe you will take something useful back if you go through with any of them.
Are there any other SIT courses you are considering taking up?
Not at the moment as I am quite pre-occupied! Given the time and opportunity, I would want to a course that I am very interested in. Blockchain is something that I might explore for the future!
Any advice for your fellow SIT alumni who are graduating soon or those who graduated to stay competitive and relevant in the current workforce?
You will always need to improve on yourself. Never stop learning because technology keeps on changing. Find out what you want to be, and work towards it!