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MCI (P) 100/09/2019

BELIEVING IS SEEING: WOMEN IN TECH 02 What Must Change to Have More Women in Tech? 04 His World vs Her World or Simply, Our World? 06 Tips to Thriving Amidst Change and Disruptions 08 Rama Sridhar Shares How Tech Women can Catch Up with Tech Men 10 Serene Sia Explains Why COVID-19 is a Boon for Women in Tech

Issue

03 2020


Contents Vision

EDITOR’S MESSAGE

POWER BOOST

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What Does It Take to Find (and Keep) Women in Tech?

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If Sci-fi is a Prelude to Our Future, We Need More Heroines!

Here’s to Our Wonder Women (in Tech)

To be the leading infocomm and digital media professional society in Singapore

THE BIG IDEA

Mission Lead the Way To lead and contribute to the vibrancy and growth of Singapore’s infocomm and digital media industry

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What Must Change to Have More Women in Tech?

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His World vs Her World or Simply, Our World?

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Tips to Thriving Amidst Change and Disruptions

Add Value

SPOTLIGHT

To add value to the infocomm and digital media professional’s career and personal development

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Rama Sridhar Shares How Tech Women can Catch Up with Tech Men

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Serene Sia Explains Why COVID-19 is a Boon for Women in Tech

Be the Voice

#LATEST@SCS 15

WIT Special Interest Group is Going to Be a Chapter!

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Launch of AI Ethics and Governance Body of Knowledge at Tech3 Forum

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SCS vSplash Awards 2020

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Join or Renew Your SCS Membership Today!

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SCS Medals and Awards Winners

GEEK SPEAK 25

Who Wears the Pants?

To engage and be the voice of the infocomm and digital media community

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The Magazine of the Singapore Computer Society

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FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

9:41 AM

Here’s to Our Wonder Women (in Tech)

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id you know that the first computer programmer is a woman? But perhaps, what’s even more surprising is that the tech industry in the early years was also female dominated – vastly different from what we know today. So what happened? And can we change this narrative? Well, if we were to go by findings from Boston Consulting Group and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), it is clear that there is a strong case for more woman participation in tech – gender diversity is good for business, corporate culture and our economy. Yet, according to successful tech lady Ms Rama Sridhar from Mastercard, success in the mostly male tech industry comes at the price of doing harder jobs and overcoming odds. What’s even more appalling is that if we continue on the current path, it’ll take women 50 to 85 years to catch up with men.

possibly the best time for women in tech. Question is, is this enough to bring about diversity and, more importantly, gender equality? As it turns out, there is plenty more we can do – from providing better support for care duties and offering more career advancement opportunities to encouraging more interest in tech from a young age. And let’s not forget to give them due recognition for their achievements. Everyone needs a role model – we have our Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates; the women need theirs too. As it appears, heroines are already familiar in sci-fi stories. The hope is – with more girls aspiring to these protagonists, we can encourage more interest for tech among girls. How about we start with this issue? We wrote and designed it to celebrate the women among us and the women in our lives. Enjoy reading!

Or maybe not. After all, as Ms Serene Sia from Autodesk pointed out, the pandemic has not only popularised the concept of working from home, but also enabled women in tech to not choose between work and family for the first time. They can balance both! Hence, this is

EDITOR Tan Teng Cheong CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Wynthia Goh Vladyslav Koshelyev Lim Sun Sun Patricia Liu

ADVERTISING SALES & ADMIN Claudia Lim For ad sales enquiries, Tel: 6226 2567 ext 12 Email: claudia.lim@scs.org.sg Mailing Address 53 Neil Road Singapore 088891

EDITORIAL SUPPORT Claudia Lim

EMAIL scs.secretariat@scs.org.sg EDITORIAL & DESIGN Lancer Design Pte Ltd

TAN TENG CHEONG Editor Fellow, SCS tan.teng.cheong@scs.org.sg

FEEDBACK We value your feedback for this magazine. Simply email scs.secretariat@scs.org.sg with your comments to help us produce an even more interesting and relevant magazine for you in subsequent issues. You are welcome to submit articles for inclusion consideration. For advertising enquiries, please call 6226 2567 or email scs.secretariat@scs.org.sg. The IT Society is the official publication of the Singapore Computer Society. Any part of this publication may be reproduced as long as credit is given to the publisher, Singapore Computer Society. All views expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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THE BIG IDEA

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THE IT SOCIETY / Issue 03/2020

Women in Tech –

What Must Change and Why

It’s fascinating to see how growing reliance on technology is influencing the way we live. Particularly, it is interesting to note how women have some of the most pertinent and penetrating insights into how technology can and should work for society. But that’s not all – it has become increasingly clear that women can play a pivotal role in how technology is developed, designed and marketed, as well as how it is deployed and incorporated into our everyday lives and critical societal structures.

PROF LIM SUN SUN Fellow, SCS SG100WIT List 2020 Professor of Communication & Technology and Head of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, Singapore University of Technology and Design


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or the past 18 years, my research as a media ethnographer has taken me into intimate spaces of homes around Asia. From speaking to families about their experiences with technology, I am convinced that women should be given every opportunity to shape technology and design so that these work better for society. WOMEN ARE CREATIVE For example, I know of a mother in Singapore who always keeps her iPad battery no more than 10% charged so that her toddler will move on to other toys with no tantrums and tears when the battery runs flat. This nifty parenting hack saves her considerable grief, energy and time, and demonstrates a great combination of empathy, creativity and practicality. For these very reasons, start-up incubators that invest in and mentor female innovators should be launched to nurture women’s creative and entrepreneurial energies. WOMEN HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS I also vividly recall speaking to a mother in Seoul who used text messaging to mediate a dispute between her husband and daughter. Her clever use of technology helped her husband to ‘save face’, thus making him more amenable to apologising and making up with their daughter. In addition, it exemplifies the socio-emotional intelligence women possess – self-awareness, compassion and social skills vital for understanding people, interpreting difficult situations, and resolving conflicting goals. WOMEN ARE EFFICIENT Then, every now and then, I meet mothers who juggle home and work flawlessly by running their homes as they do their organisations, with a great deal of care, organisation and attention to detail. Indeed, I always marvel at how organised, proactive and meticulous women can be. WOMEN OFFER AN IMPORTANT PERSPECTIVE It’s no coincidence that I share examples of women performing roles and responsibilities in the home because it is a fact that up to today, women bear a disproportionate share of the caregiving duties at home, be it looking after the elderly or nurturing the young. Women’s perspectives are therefore essential if we are looking to improve the performance of these critical duties with tech innovations.

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WOMEN MOTIVATE OTHER WOMEN Since there are distinct advantages to greater gender diversity across all industries, including the tech sector, how then can we better support women so that the male-dominated tech sector is more inclusive? To begin with, women in tech numbers are not sizeable and attrition rises sharply during pregnancy and child-rearing. Furthermore, returning to work is especially daunting for a fast-moving sector like tech, as one’s skills become quickly outdated. In the long run, this attrition translates into a pipeline issue. With few women rising to the top, there are insufficient female role models for young women in the tech sector. Consequently, young women are discouraged from joining the sector or, doubtful about their future prospects, leave prematurely. WOMEN REQUIRE BETTER SUPPORT To address this issue, we need to provide better support for women who take leave for pregnancy, child-rearing or eldercare. While companies can introduce more flexible working arrangements and better childcare support, professional societies can also offer discounted membership and systematic mentoring to women on caregiving leave to help them maintain their professional networks and better transition back to work after a period of absence. More importantly, we must shift the societal norm towards greater male involvement in caregiving duties. Unless fathers are also granted paternity leave, the childcare burden will always fall on mothers and assumed to be responsibilities of women. Concurrently, more research tracking the career trajectories of women in various industries is necessary to better understand reasons for attrition, and factors that can promote re-entry into the workforce. It is only with robust evidence that we will be able to take more proactive measures to ameliorate this problem of female underrepresentation. WOMEN CAN CONTRIBUTE TO A BRIGHTER FUTURE To make technology work better for society, we need women on board so that we can benefit from their distinctive insights and talents. But unless and until we introduce the fundamental changes spelt out above, women can never fully participate in the workforce and society would be the poorer for it. Let’s make a collective effort at initiating change for a brighter and more inclusive future.


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THE BIG IDEA

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THE IT SOCIETY / Issue 03/2020

What Does It Take to Go from His/Her World to Our World?

It is no secret that the tech industry has largely been a man’s world until now. Recent efforts to create a more gender diverse industry has sparked interest among policymakers, companies, men and women to encourage more women participation in the industry. But how close are we to making it “our world”?

NAME: Women WHERE CAN YOU FIND THEM? This particular one – at Razer. WHAT’S SHE DOING THERE? She’s a Chief of Staff and Board Member in Razer, responsible for e-commerce, customer service, human resource, information technology and management of their 17 offices worldwide. It accounts for over four years of her 25-year-long career in the tech industry.


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THE BIG IDEA

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IT’S A GOOD PROFESSIONAL TIP FOR WOMEN. ANY MORE TO SHARE? Her two beliefs – “you are as lucky as how hard you work” and “it’s hard to be what we cannot see”. PATRICIA LIU Member, SCS SG100WIT List 2020 Board Member, Chief of Staff & Chief Customer Officer, Razer Inc

SOUNDS LIKE A LONG TIME TO BE IN ONE INDUSTRY. You bet – but she’s having fun learning something new every day. We hear she enjoys working with people and bringing the best out of each of them. She’s also inspired by how the marriage of people and technology transforms the way we learn, work and live, which in her current role she does lots of! SHE MUST BE GREAT AT WHAT SHE DOES! Naturally. Just imagine, she’s the first Asian female managing director at Omega Engineering. She also saw Razer through its IPO, and its growth into a global company before being inducted as a board member. IMPRESSIVE. HAS SHE BEEN THIS AWESOME SINCE DAY ONE? Well, early in her career, she vacillated between being a hapless woman who couldn’t get a word into a roomful of men, and being an overbearing and domineering woman mimicking her male counterparts to fit in. It was only after she had developed her own leadership style – ability to keep calm, lead with courage and empathy, and be her own authentic self that she started leading better and more confidently.

She believes that you must have something to contribute to have a voice at the table. Besides putting in the elbow grease to learn and gain mastery; being involved, digging in, questioning, understanding, and originating ideas are in her opinion part and parcel of becoming a subject matter expert. Then there’s the women role models in her life who have inspired her. Her mother, a strong entrepreneurial woman, not only shared the responsibility of providing for the family with her father, but also encouraged her to pursue her interest in technical, science and math majors in school. Subsequently, her stint at HP also brought her into contact with women who led by example – success comes to those who aim high and work hard to get there. ARE THESE TIPS STILL RELEVANT WITH THE ONGOING PANDEMIC? Definitely, and perhaps even more so as more companies become aware that diverse perspectives accompanying mixed gender teams mean richer contributions and end results. What’s more, with the pandemic hastening workplace changes and making work-from-home and flexible work practices the norm, women can now pursue careers without having to make work-life choices. Of course, the advent of automation technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and business digitalisation have also presented great opportunities for women to rethink their career options, acquire necessary skills and excel in high demand tech jobs.

AND MEN FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT HAVING WOMEN IN TECH? There is a strong case for it. Different viewpoints stemming from different life experiences spark new innovations and improve product designs and experiences to appeal to a larger customer base – boosting profits in the process. And that’s not all. A study conducted by Boston Consulting Group showed that Fortune 500 companies with at least three women in leading positions saw a 66% increase in returns on investment and have a purchasing power of an estimated $5 trillion1. In another survey, it was also found that a diverse workforce helps attract talent2. What this means at a time of global tech talent crisis is – if companies ignore 50% of the potential workforce and not tap into their full capabilities, there will possibly be US$450 billion of unrealised revenues by 20303. LOOKS LIKE WE ARE ON TRACK TO ARRIVING AT “OUR WORLD”. Not until the day comes where we do not have to mandate businesses or boards to have a number or statistic for woman participation and that women are included on their own merits. And diversity and inclusion are more ground-up rather than top-down – we educate girls, mentor women, make women role models visible and appoint women leaders based on their ability to deliver. That is progress – and truly arriving at “our world”.

https://www.bcg.com/en-us/publications/2017/people-organization-leadership-talent-innovation-through-diversity-mix-that-matters https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/diversity/ 3 https://www.kornferry.com/insights/articles/talent-crunch-future-of-work 1 2


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THE BIG IDEA

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THE IT SOCIETY / Issue 03/2020

4 Tips for Running a Successful Career Marathon Amidst Change and Disruption

Digital transformation is an unstoppable wave affecting many industries. And in their bid to catch the wave, businesses seek talents who are tech-adapted and savvy. The risk of displacement is real – especially for professionals in non-tech sectors. However, professionals in tech sectors are equally at risk, if not more. Here, I’d like to share some tips on how tech professionals can continue to thrive during this time of change and disruption.


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THE BIG IDEA

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WYNTHIA GOH Member, SCS SG100WIT List 2020 Head of NEXT Digital, NCS

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s companies adopt new technologies and invest in building new skills, tech professionals should look at managing your careers to grow valued expertise and stay relevant in a rapidly digitalising economy. For example, at NCS NEXT, our specialists are tasked to help organisations with their digital transformation. Hence, the need for our people to continue growing professionally – for themselves, NCS and our customers – is a constant priority. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE LATERAL MOVES The idea of a straight up career ladder no longer applies in a world where companies are facing a lot of disruption. As companies adapt their business strategies to an ever-changing environment, you can expect to see types of roles and opportunities evolve in tandem. Therefore, don’t get too comfortable – because the things you know how to do very well today may not be what will be valuable tomorrow. This is especially so when we see the amount of innovation happening in the technology sector. Sometimes, the right lateral move is a better way to try and advance your career than to continue in an existing role you are comfortable in but no longer stretches you. Lateral moves can expose you to new areas offering professional development. Similarly, the new project you are taking on could provide opportunities to play a bigger role in the company, thereby putting you on a better career path. BE CURIOUS, VERY CURIOUS The most successful technology professionals are the ones who are highly curious about what their field

will look like in the future. This is the hard truth – the decay rate of what we know increases with the pace of tech innovation. In nearly every tech sector domain, there are new knowledge, new technology, and new ways of organising and operating. Each of them has the potential to upend the current norm, particularly when we think about trends like adoption of cloud-based technology and the use of algorithms to automate processes and decision-making. Look for opportunities to work on projects where you can gain exposure to innovation. Or raise your hand to participate in new initiatives. Throughout your career, you should expect to not just refresh your skills and knowledge many times over, but also continuously refuel and recharge them. A successful career is a marathon, not a sprint. Given the amount of access we have to online, remote or virtual learning today, you can take charge of your learning journey instead of waiting for your company to offer you structured learning opportunities. TAKE A “TOUR OF DUTY” MENTALITY TO WHAT YOU ARE DOING Against the backdrop of changing job nature and career aspirations, I’d like to borrow the concept of a “tour of duty” from the military to make reference to employment and careers in organisations. A “tour of duty” approach towards your job is recommended because it will put in perspective what you need to know – your mission, what you are asked to deliver and how that benefits you and your company. Along with the concept of a tour of duty is the heightened awareness that your mission is time bound – you are

expected to deliver within a certain time. In addition, there is also the suggestion that future tours may be different from the one you’ve just completed. This sets you and your company up for meaningful discussions – what is next and what is needed for you and your company to be successful in the next mission. Adopting a “tour of duty” approach conditions the mind to not just accept your job as an ongoing employment status, but also recognise that your mission can change from one tour to the next, within a continuous period of employment. Significantly, it prepares one for a career pathway that is dynamic and progressive. LEARN TO ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF Wherever you are and whatever your role, you are competing in a global talent marketplace. It is not uncommon for people who are great at what they do to be uncomfortable with talking about themselves, seeing that as unattractive acts of selfpromotion. But from the perspective of sustaining a career in a globally competitive marketplace – if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound? Perceived existence is important! You need to find ways to advocate for yourself that works for you. This can take the form of participation in forums, and taking up opportunities to share what you know whilst learning from others in your field. Advocate for yourself through talking about your work, sharing your knowledge, and networking with peers and leaders who are interested in what you do. Such opportunities are always available – both in your organisation and the industry.


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SPOTLIGHT

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THE IT SOCIETY / Issue 03/2020

WOMEN IN TECH –

What Does it Take to Thrive in a (Mostly) Men’s World? RAMA SRIDHAR Member, SCS SG100WIT List 2020 Executive Vice-President, Digital & Emerging Partnerships, Mastercard First Coding Experience: Coded linear programming systems with COBOL Currently Learning: Sitar – a stringed instrument originating from the Indian subcontinent Just Watched: The Social Dilemma on Netflix Must-have Apps: Google and WhatsApp Last Browsed Tab: The Wall Street Journal Pet Topic: State of political leadership Favourite Way to Relax: A book, a cup of tea and some soft music

In a recent study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in Singapore, the number of women in tech in Southeast Asia beats the global average at 32%. Yet, while women in tech have come a long way in the past three decades, it’s a fact that the tech industry is still far from being fully gender diverse. The IT Society talks to Rama Sridhar, Executive Vice-President, Digital & Emerging Partnerships at Mastercard to take stock of progress made and what else needs to be done. Q: Question, RS: Rama Sridhar Q: Congratulations for making it into the inaugural Singapore 100 Women in Tech (SG100WIT) List. Can you share with us a little about your journey in tech? RS: I have been in the tech industry for over three decades, and in the early years, it was common for me to be the only woman out of 20, 500 or even a thousand in the room. Things changed in the mid-nineties with more girls getting into the tech space. However, many didn’t progress very far before dropping out. It wasn’t because they weren’t good but the social support infrastructures across Asia, and even globally, were lacking. Fast forward to today, more than 10 years later, we continue to feel

the impact with a lack of women representation at the senior leadership and executive levels. The good thing is, there is an increasing awareness about the problem in the industry and around the world – governments and companies are now making conscious efforts to support career development of women in tech.

Actually, these numbers coincide with our data at Mastercard, which records that over 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions are driven by women. What this means for businesses is that it’s not just men’s opinions that matter – women’s are equally important. When product designs, engagement platforms, etc. cater to women’s needs, they perform better.

Q: What is driving the growing awareness for greater gender diversity? RS: There are clear benefits for having a gender diverse workforce. Research shows that gender diverse companies are more profitable. In addition, companies with women comprising over 20% of the management team enjoy 10% higher innovation revenues.

But how else can you do that besides directly engaging women in the process? In essence, women are driving new thinking, solving new problems and enabling businesses to tap into new opportunities. And if we pull all these facts together, there is really never a better time than now to force the subject of diversity in all spaces, whether tech or business.


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Q: Given these favourable factors, why is women participation still low in the tech industry? RS: Well, tech is largely perceived as a man’s space. There’s also few success stories of women having made it in tech. And even if there were, we hear stories of having to overcome odds, and ongoing struggles. So is it any wonder why we have few women in tech? The day when we can say it’s a level playing field, there will probably be more interest among young women to join the tech industry. But until then, corporations should support and provide equal career development opportunities for women. And men who make up the majority of the workforce should also stop stereotyping women and discredit their confidence. For example, it is not unusual to hear men identifying certain women as being too ambitious. We need to

SPOTLIGHT

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ask ourselves: Why is being ambitious considered a positive trait in men, but an undesirable one in women? Of course, women have a role to play too. Apart from learning to be more confident and courageous, we have to proactively match or better men’s depth of knowledge and skills. After all, we want to be recognised for being great – and not for being women. Q: What other tips do you have for women looking to join the tech industry? RS: Working in an industry with women as the minority, I’ll have to admit that I constantly feel that I have more to prove compared to my male colleagues. That’s why I have always pushed myself to take the harder jobs – the undefined and unstructured ones. What I’ve come to realise through this process is that not only do I win respect amongst both men and women when I pull

them off, but they also set me up for bigger opportunities. So my advice is to not shy away from hard work. Instead, embrace challenges as they can potentially give you leverage for personal and career development. Learning to stand your ground and make that first move is equally important. Simply by being more informed and stating your point clearly without backing off from difficult conversations is a good start. Meanwhile, being involved in networking luncheons or communities of practice is sometimes essential for career advancements and helping you to get ahead. But rather than waiting to be included, why not take that first step to reach out?

“It is my hope that disruptive forces like the COVID-19 pandemic can catalyse change and bring about a whole democratisation of opportunities for women so that we don’t have to wait 50 or 85 years – as per Accenture’s findings – for countries to become truly gender diverse.”

What are some qualities a woman tech professional needs to thrive in today’s environment?

What is an advice you have for women who are nontech native and thinking of joining the tech industry?

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What is a quote you live by?

Who inspires you professionally?


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THE IT SOCIETY / Issue 03/2020

COVID-19 PANDEMIC –

Boon or Bane for Women in Tech? SERENE SIA Senior Member, SCS SG100WIT List 2020 Managing Director, ASEAN, Autodesk First Smartphone: Palm Treo Currently Reading: Becoming by Michelle Obama Just Watched: The Social Dilemma on Netflix Must-have App: Online banking apps Last Browsed Tab: LinkedIn Pet Topic: US Election 2020 Favourite Way to Relax: Yoga

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a game changer for industries and professionals. And if we were to go by global news reports and United Nations SecretaryGeneral António Guterres’ predictions, COVID-19 could potentially reverse the progress that has been made on gender equality and women’s rights. To find out if the same is also happening in the traditionally male-dominated tech industry, The IT Society catches up with Serene Sia, Managing Director for ASEAN at Autodesk.

Q: Question, SS: Serene Sia Q: How does it feel to be recognised in the inaugural Singapore 100 Women in Tech (SG100WIT) List? SS: I am honoured to share this space with some of the best female tech leaders and innovators. What a wonderful way it is for SCS, SG Women in Tech and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to recognise and celebrate inspiring tech women in Singapore who have made significant contributions to the tech industry. Q: How significant is the Singapore 100 Women in Tech to women in tech and the tech industry at large? SS: It is no secret that gender stereotypes exist in many industries, and the tech industry is no exception. Statistically, male founders are 86% likelier to get funding than female founders – although companies with gender diverse leadership demonstrate 34% higher returns on investment.


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The recognition of Singapore’s female tech leaders helps to create more awareness about the need for women in the tech industry. Combined with global and local initiatives encouraging women to join the industry, I am hopeful that more women will join tech at all levels, including at the leadership level – to serve as role models and positively impact businesses and people. And having more women participating in the tech industry is good news for both businesses and our economy. In a recent study jointly conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and IMDA, we see companies where women account for over 20% of the management team having 10% higher innovation revenues than companies with male-dominated leadership. Q: How far do you think the tech industry is from becoming truly gender diverse? SS: Over my 25 years of working in the tech industry, I would say this is the best time for women in tech. Particularly, I am encouraged by the fact that women in Southeast Asia are participating more in tech than most of our global counterparts, according to the BCG-IMDA study mentioned earlier. That said, we still have a gender diversity gap – women make up fewer than 15% of chief executives and board-level appointments in the region. Q: Has the COVID-19 pandemic set women in tech back further? SS: On the contrary, the pandemic has created opportunities for women in both tech and across other industries. The pandemic has forced businesses to adopt remote work for employees

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– making for a more seamless arrangement for women who need to balance their professional and family lives. At the same time, we see greater participation in unpaid domestic work amongst some male peers. These dynamics tip the scales in women’s favour. Adding to that, we witnessed how the construction industry came to a standstill when foreign worker dormitories were infected by COVID-19. Just imagine: if the tech industry can automate labour in the construction industry by applying technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) in prefabrication, it will mean that we can attract more Singaporeans and women to be part of the workforce – specifically, the tech workforce. Q: Are these enough to make for a more women-friendly tech industry? Or is there more that needs to be done? SS: Women in general – and particularly women in tech – are prone to the imposter syndrome. They feel that they are not good enough unless they are 100% qualified for a role. It’s important to not only capture the girls’ imagination at an early age by encouraging interest and excellence in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but also provide support to them at crucial junctures of their careers through career counselling, awareness building and outreach initiatives. The Singapore government has played an instrumental role in these areas. Companies should also strive to build workplaces where women can bring their authentic selves and achieve

“The pandemic has provided an inflexion point for gender diversity changes, not only in the tech industry, but across all industries. This is a belief we share at Autodesk, which is why we work closely with our customers to automate how things are designed and made in digital and physical worlds – from smart cars to skyscrapers and superstructures.”

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personal and professional success. For example, at Autodesk, our commitment to diversity has translated into results – 50% of our board members and over 40% of our managers and supervisors are women. However, while enforcing workforce hiring goals and supporting an inclusive culture are important, getting the right person for the right job should take priority. Throughout my career, I’ve met my share of good and not-so-good female leaders. The latter were sometimes promoted due to corporate policies promoting diversity at the top. This is detrimental to the company, employees, and future efforts to diversify the workforce; promoting women who are not right for the role, or too early for the role creates a glass cliff that sets female leaders up to fail, and cements the bias that women are not good enough. Therefore, as essential as it is for companies to have gender diversity policies, strong implementation of these policies is just as important. Q: On a concluding note, can you share what’s next for you? SS: I have seen first-hand how automation has improved productivity, saved time and reduced errors. And quoting Forbes, “Today, no company can make, deliver or market its products efficiently without technology.” I see myself staying in this exciting industry for a long time. My hope is that by sharing my experience and journey, I can inspire more women to come forward, to grow and take on leadership positions in the tech industry.


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POWER BOOST

THE IT SOCIETY / Issue 03/2020

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Finding the Women in Tech

Singapore’s first-ever 100 Women in Tech (SG100WIT) List has generated much buzz about female talent and diversity – but women continue to be underrepresented in the thriving tech industry. The burning question is: How can we attract – and keep – women in tech?

SOLVING THE TALENT CRUNCH

In the first quarter of 2020, 5% of tech jobs were left vacant.

THE CAUSE FOR WOMEN IN TECH.

BETTER FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

Companies demonstrate 10% higher innovation revenues when their management teams are >20% women (as compared to male dominated firms).

EXTRA LEVERAGE AGAINST COMPETITION

Gender diversity boosts innovation, improves brand perception and makes companies more attractive to workers.

29% of tech graduates are women.

Women account for 41% of the tech workforce. (As compared to 32% in Southeast Asia, and 28% globally.)

However, women only make up 27% of senior management, and 12% of CEO/board level roles across industries.

THE CURRENT SITUATION. IN SINGAPORE


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Information adapted from Boosting Women in Technology in Southeast Asia (2020), https://www.bcg.com/en-sea/publications/2020/ boosting-women-in-southeast-asia-tech-sector

#3

THE 3 CRITICAL MOMENTS THAT SHAPE A WOMAN’S PATHWAY IN TECH.

#2

Deciding whether to stay in a tech career.

Selecting a first job in tech.

#1

Choosing a tech-related college major.

FACTORS: • Personal interest • Perceived difficulty of major • Breadth of major focus

FACTORS: • Personal interest • Perceived difficulty of working in the field • Career prospects

FACTORS: • Desire to pursue alternative career paths • Family-related responsibilities • Advancement opportunities

THE KEY STRATEGIES FOR ATTRACTING AND RETAINING FEMALE TALENT.

#1

#2

#3

• Exposure to tech subjects in school • Career counselling • Participation in events promoting higher education in tech

• Career counselling • Company-led awareness initiatives • Marketing material aimed at women candidates

• Employee surveys on diversity and inclusion • Transparency about gaps and progress on gender diversity • Diverse leadership team

HIDDEN GEM*: • Networking and supportive tech peer groups

HIDDEN GEM*: • Public commitment to gender diversity from company’s leadership

Encouraging women to study tech.

Influencing women to pursue tech careers.

* Hidden gems refer to less widely available initiatives that are perceived to be highly effective.

Supporting women to remain in tech.

HIDDEN GEM*: • Coaching and professional development (including formal/informal mentorship)


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The Future is Female – and Sci-fi is Already There The stories we read as kids greatly influence our worldview, aspirations, role models and choices we make. Science fiction (sci-fi) in particular kindle interest in the sciences, spark curiosity and foster creativity. That explains why my peers in tech and I grew up devouring sci-fi stories – reading books, watching movies, playing games, among others. Yet, the vast majority of stories we were exposed to as kids had a fundamental blind spot.

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he main protagonists generally fit a specific profile: a white guy who was more adept with a gun than math. If there were scientists in the story, they would play minor roles and of course, be males. However, the tide has recently started to shift. As a sci-fi fan, I notice ever more storylines written with female protagonists who are great with technology, math and sciences. Here are a few examples from the stories I loved. NEW TECH SAVVY FEMALE LEADERS SAVE THE DAY Take Naomi Nagata, one of the key characters from the cult novels The Expanse – made even more popular by the recent TV series produced by Amazon. Having attended one of the

best technological universities in the solar system, Naomi is the chief engineer of the spaceship Rocinante, whose crew frequently finds itself in the midst of interplanetary calamities. Her crew is lucky to have her, as she often saves the day through unparalleled knowledge of the spaceship’s hardware as well as her calm and composed demeanour. Similar to the Rocinante, the iconic spaceship Serenity from the TV series Firefly also counts a woman as part of its crew – Kaylee Frye. Kaylee is a self-taught engineer – who was so in love with propulsion engines that she snuck on board Serenity to learn about it. And even though she started as a stashaway, Kaylee eventually becomes a valuable member of Serenity with her ingenuity and raw technical talent.

THE IT SOCIETY / Issue 03/2020

VLADYSLAV KOSHELYEV Member, SCS Academy Lead, Facebook Founder, The Koshelyev Company

FEMALE LEADS INJECT FRESHNESS INTO ESTABLISHED FRANCHISE Then there’s the Star Trek franchise – a series that doesn’t need an introduction even to those outside sci-fi fan circles. Its most recent instalment Star Trek: Discovery not only features an incredible storyline but also three leading female characters – Michael Burnham, Philippa Georgiou and Sylvia Tilly. Michael started her career in the Starfleet as a biologist and grew to become a brilliant data scientist on the Discovery spaceship. After graduating into the Galactic Federation’s science department, Philippa had an illustrious career journey to become Discovery’s captain (her other self in a parallel dimension is also the ruler of the Terran Empire). Not to forget shy Tilly, who often doubts her skill but frequently saves the game through both her technical and emotional intelligence. LARGER THAN LIFE FEMALES IN THE REAL WORLD AND THE FUTURE These women heroes have given me enormous inspiration for my work and life. That is why I am really excited about girls and boys experiencing these stories – aspiring to such protagonists and becoming scientists, builders and creators when they grow up.


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Women in Tech SIG Will Be Elevated to a Chapter

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he community of women in tech is steadily growing, and many of them in turn have contributed to the tech industry’s growth. The inaugural Singapore 100 Women in Tech (SG100WIT) List, championed by SCS in partnership with Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), gives recognition to their achievements. Building on this momentum, the SCS Women in Tech (WIT) Special Interest Group (SIG) will be elevated to a Chapter in January 2021 and helmed by Tan Lee Chew, Managing Director of Amazon Web Services.

The new WIT Chapter will further the collaboration with IMDA to foster a close-knit community among female professionals and students in the local tech ecosystem, including running the next edition of the SG100WIT.

More activities such as webinars and forums will also be organised to inspire tech interest among girls – with the aim of encouraging more to take up STEM courses, and eventually grow into tech professionals and leaders in the future.

Check out the proposed nominations for WIT Chapter’s Executive Committee: Name

Organisation

Tan Lee Chew (President)

Amazon Web Services

Prof Lim Sun Sun (Vice-President)

Singapore University of Technology & Design

Charu Mahajan (Vice-President)

IBM Singapore

Jamie Neo (Honorary Secretary)

HP Inc

Chan Ai Ling (Honorary Treasurer)

Dell EMC

Feon Ang (Committee Member)

LinkedIn

Stephanie Hung (Committee Member)

ST Engineering

Anju Jaswal (Committee Member)

Azbil Corporation

Debbie Lee (Committee Member)

TechTV Network

Prof Sierin Lim (Committee Member)

Nanyang Technological University

Serene Sia (Committee Member)

Autodesk

Cheryl Tan (Committee Member)

Clozette

Lum Seow Khun (Chapter Advisor)

Microsoft Singapore


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THE IT SOCIETY / Issue 03/2020

SCS Launches AI Ethics and Governance Body of Knowledge at Tech3 Forum

Launch of AI Ethics and Governance BoK. From Left: Dr Kwong Yuk Wah (SCS), Mr Yeong Zee Kin (IMDA), Guest-of-Honour Mr S Iswaran, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (SIT), Dr Chong Yoke Sin (SCS)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AI-powered products and services underpin Singapore’s progress as a digital economy. Hence, as the world mulls over the execution of AI ethics and governance, Singapore stands to benefit through a balanced approach of enabling innovation while protecting consumers’ privacy and public interests concurrently.

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he launch of the AI Ethics and Governance Body of Knowledge (BoK) on 16 October 2020 at the virtual Tech3 Forum reinforced the importance of supporting AI development through instilling ethical guidelines with case studies, business use-cases, etc., and a certification programme for AI practitioners. It was on the same premise that SCS and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) signed an agreement to jointly launch the Certificate in AI Ethics and Governance course during the event.

NTU Deputy President and Provost, Professor Ling San said, “With AI playing an increasingly pivotal role in digital solutions, there is a need to look at the ethics behind the development and deployment of AI solutions. The new MiniMastersTM in AI and AI Ethics plugs this gap by helping participants understand and solve problems brought about by the impact of AI. This collaboration leverages NTU’s strength in AI research and education and the

collective expertise of SCS’ network of industry experts to benefit university graduates and IT professionals who wish to build their micro-credentials in the AI industry.” “SCS is confident that this certification course is well designed to bring about greater awareness of the ethical

deployment of AI technology. Developed based on guidelines presented in the AI Ethics and Governance BoK, the course structure will facilitate the adoption of a self-regulatory process – critical for ethical AI creation and implementation. We look forward to training professionals in AI ethics and governance with NTU,” said Dr Chong Yoke Sin, SCS President.

SCS-NTU Agreement Signing Ceremony. From Left: Prof Louis Phee (NTU), Prof Ling San (NTU), Dr Chong Yoke Sin (SCS), Dr Kwong Yuk Wah (SCS)


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CERTIFICATE IN AI ETHICS AND GOVERNANCE COURSE Course Outline Developed based on guidelines presented in the SCS AI Ethics and Governance BoK, the course will facilitate the adoption of a self-regulatory process – critical for ethical AI creation and implementation. Who should attend? Professionals, managers and executives involved in AI implementation.

Why should you attend? You will gain AI Ethics related skill sets; and have a sound understanding of how to develop and deploy AI in a responsible manner. There is no prerequisite for participants.

Nearly 500 professionals, including members from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Singapore, Institute of Banking & Finance (IBF), Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) and Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF), attended the virtual SCS Tech3 Forum and took part in the lively panel discussion moderated by Prof Annie Koh from Singapore Management University (SMU) and Howie Lau from Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). Themed Black Swans & Blue Ocean: A New Digital Paradigm, Tech3 Forum also featured four different workshop tracks, providing tech insights and trends pertinent to Accounting Tech, Banking & Finance, Legal Tech and Manufacturing Tech.

How to register? The certification course, which will be incorporated into an upcoming MiniMastersTM programme in AI and AI Ethics offered by NTU, will be launched in January 2021. For more details and registration of interest for the certification course, please email scs.secretariat@scs.org.sg

“We may be living in uncertain times, but investments in building digital infrastructure, governance frameworks and capabilities of our enterprises and people will certainly stand us in good stead.” – Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information

Ideation Panel Discussion. From Left: Ian Chong (Samsung Electronics), Stephanie Davis (Google), Tan Kiat How (Prime Minister’s Office), Prof Annie Koh (SMU), Howie Lau (IMDA), Feon Ang (LinkedIn), Cai Yilun (SenseTime), Debbie Lee (TechStorm TV)

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THE IT SOCIETY / Issue 03/2020

SCS vSplash Awards 2020 Lauds AI Innovations that Impact Society

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hat is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? How can we harness its power to impact society?

This was the challenge student participants were put up to in the latest edition of SCS vSplash Awards 2020. Returning for the 17th year, the competition was held entirely virtually via Zoom and Mozilla Hubs VR platforms for the first time. While the training was conducted on Zoom, virtual spaces were created using Mozilla Hubs VR for presentations, judging and even the showcase and award ceremony. In addition, effective zoning of virtual spaces into Sponsor Expo, Student Expo, Viewing Room and Presentation ensured that virtual experiences paralleled that of physical ones in previous years.

Despite the format change, however, as per previous editions, every SCS vSplash Awards 2020 student participant went through a complete journey of experiential training workshops conducted by some of the best tech experts from Amazon Web Services, IHiS, Huawei, SenseTime among others. Some participants also received one-on-one mentorship for their prototype development. Twelve teams were eventually shortlisted for a final presentation at the Finals. Addressing the students in his digital avatar at the finale ceremony, Guestof-Honour Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry said, “It is important for all of

us to pursue hard and soft skills beyond tech and AI, which can augment and supplement what tech platforms have to offer. Because our adaptability is particularly critical in this next normal – not the new normal, but the next normal.” Adding on, Dr Chong Yoke Sin, SCS President, said, “As the largest professional society in Singapore with over 42,000 members, we are committed to supporting the continued vibrant growth of the tech industry. That is why despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, SCS was determined to continue with SCS Splash Awards. And indeed, from the many great ideas we saw, our persistence has paid off.”


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PRE-TERTIARY CATEGORY Prize

Team

School

Short Description

Champion

Wallace

Dunman High

The idea is to deepen cultural and heritage appreciation through incorporating art installations like dancing fountains into the town council’s cityscape to reflect the collective emotions of people based on their Instagram captions.

1st Runnerup

AI-Dunmanians

Dunman High

Asia is complex with 2,100 spoken languages. As Natural Language Processing (NLP) within AI advances, the team hopes to develop a voice assistant-enabled wheelchair, suitable for Asian persons with disabilities (PWD).

2nd Runnerup

Splish Splash

Dunman High

With this implementation, the team aims to enable the blind to get around by deploying AI to look out for dangers and help them reach their location safely in the shortest time possible.

TERTIARY CATEGORY Prize

Team

School

Short Description

Champion

JBAwesome

National University of Singapore

Development of Physical Disability and Speech Difficulties Assistant-based Eye Tracking, Object Detection and Smart Answering with T2 Predictive Input Method.

1st Runnerup

Assurance

Republic Polytechnic

Wrong decisions can be costly. Assurance collates information into an algorithm for processing and presenting factual verdicts to car drivers, comes with a decision companion application.

2nd Runnerup

Edutomahawk

ITE College West

Using AI technology and machine learning framework in Python, the application facilitates better communication for those who have speech impediments or hearing disabilities.

Judges at the vSplash Awards’ Finals. From Left: Ng Sock Poh (SG Enable), Dr Yi Shuai (SenseTime), Wong Choon Bong (CSA), Hedren Sum (NTU), Yeoh Yun Qian (Huawei), Christine Ang (IHiS), Koo Sengmeng (AI Singapore), Gin Wong (SingPools)


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THE IT SOCIETY / Issue 03/2020

ANCHOR THEME WINNERS Anchor Theme

Team

School

Short Description

Empowering the Differently Abled sponsored by GIC

Edutomahawk

ITE College West

Using AI technology and machine learning framework in Python, the application facilitates better communication for those who have speech impediments or hearing disabilities.

Empowering the Differently Abled sponsored by Singapore Pools

Splish Splash

Dunman High

With this implementation, the team aims to enable the blind to get around by deploying AI to look out for dangers and help them reach their location safely in the shortest time possible.

Enabling Healthcare and Well-being sponsored by IHiS

JBAwesome

National University of Singapore

Development of Physical Disability and Speech Difficulties Assistant-based Eye Tracking, Object Detection and Smart Answering with T2 Predictive Input Method.

Re-defining Future of Living, Empathy and Smart Cities sponsored by Huawei

Wallace

Dunman High

The idea is to deepen cultural and heritage appreciation through incorporating art installations like dancing fountains into the town council’s cityscape to reflect the collective emotions of people based on their Instagram captions.

Re-defining Future of Living, Empathy and Smart Cities sponsored by Sensetime

JBAwesome

National University of Singapore

Development of Physical Disability and Speech Difficulties Assistant-based Eye Tracking, Object Detection and Smart Answering with T2 Predictive Input Method.

Re-imagining Cybersecurity with AI – Opportunities and Concerns sponsored by CSA

Phishing Fellow

ITE College West

Create and train an AI to identify and detect phishing emails.

IN NUMBERS

184

68

12

5-month

student participants

hours of training

teams

long competition

Guest-of-Honour Mr Alvin Tan delivering his speech


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Stay the Course. Stay Ahead.

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here is no stopping the velocity of change, but you can plug into our communities of practice, broaden your horizon and realise your career aspiration with us. How about also inviting someone to be part of our professional network to shape the future of work together? For a limited period, we are waiving the entrance fee of $85.60 for new members. For existing members, renewal eVouchers and CapitaVouchers are up for grabs. Be sure to invite your friends and colleagues to join SCS membership, and don’t forget to also renew your membership if it is expiring soon.

NEW MEMBER 1-Year Membership Only $139.10

Waiver of $85.60 Entrance Fee

3-Year Membership $374.50 (U.P. $417.30)

EXISTING MEMBER

5-Year Membership $556.40 (U.P. $695.50)

Renewal Gifts Up for Grabs

1/3/5-Year Membership $15 Renewal eVouchers (First 500 online renewals) $10 Renewal eVouchers (Next 500 online renewals)

3/5-Year Membership $20 CapitaVouchers (First 200 online renewals)

Technology is a key driver of the changing nature of work and skills in this digital age. Be sure to update your profile with us so that we can better serve you with our activities and programmes. Reach out to membership.dept@scs.org.sg if you need any help to login to the Member Portal.

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Recognising Budding Youths in Tech

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The future in tech is bright and filled with opportunities. However, for these realities to be fully realised, youthful energy and fresh ideas are pivotal to energising and growing the tech industry. That is why every year, SCS celebrates youth tech talents and encourages their continued development through the SCS Medals and Awards. Over 20 youths were recognised this year.

SCS Gold Medal Winners

SCS Silver Medal Winners

Li Jianpei The University of Newcastle Singapore Bachelor of Infocomm Technology (Year 1)

Alicia Png Sze Yi Ngee Ann Polytechnic Diploma in Animation & 3D Arts

Daniel Tay Ee-Jin National University of Singapore Master of Computing Programme in Information Systems

“Technology proves to be a critical enabler for businesses during these extraordinary times. Hence it makes graduating with a Master’s now particularly significant. It was challenging to balance schooling commitments with work and family, but the perspectives and knowledge gained, as well as friendships formed made it worthwhile!” – Daniel Tay

Wendy Welliana The University of Newcastle Singapore Bachelor of Infocomm Technology (Year 2) Yeo Lay Lan National University of Singapore Master of Computing Programme in Information Security

THE IT SOCIETY / Issue 03/2020

Kevin Toh Zheng Ying Ngee Ann Polytechnic Diploma in Information Technology

“Technology constantly evolves for the better – encouraging and enabling creativity amongst people. Each innovation provides a learning opportunity and the potential for further improvements. I hope that the skills I’ve acquired will allow me to positively contribute and benefit our society.” – Kevin Toh

Victoria Chee Kai Wei Singapore Polytechnic Diploma in Information Technology Chen Yi Singapore Polytechnic Diploma in Business Information Technology Lim Wei Jie Singapore Polytechnic Diploma in Information Security Management

SCS Award for Outstanding IT Youth Achievement Recipients Tjandy Putra Nanyang Polytechnic Diploma in Information Technology Jonathan Toh Jia Jun Nanyang Polytechnic Diploma in Business Informatics

SCS Prize Winner

Nur Fadhilah Bte Amir Ngee Ann Polytechnic Diploma in Animation & 3D Arts

“As a student who had limited computer exposure, it was eye-opening to see the infinite possibilities technology brings. Technology not only improves lives of everyday citizens; it is also relevant across all business sectors. I am excited at the prospects of working in an industry that offers so many opportunities.” – Nur Fadhilah


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SCS Award for Outstanding Project Work Recipients

SCS Award for Best Final Year Student Recipient

SCS Special Industry Prize Winners

Sim Ci En Nanyang Polytechnic Diploma in Financial Informatics

Aldric Bek Zhen Feng Singapore Management University Bachelor of Science (Information Systems)

Nicole Bernadette Ong Qianling Temasek Polytechnic Diploma in Information Technology

“Taking an IT-related diploma was not something I imagined I would do. However, I’ve since come to discover the beauty behind the ever-changing technology. This makes my learning rewarding and enriching.”

“There was never a dull moment throughout my academic journey because there was so much to discover and learn. I am excited about the future of the tech sector, and I am sure there will be many new opportunities for making a positive impact in this industry.”

“While studying Information Technology and Computer Science may be challenging, it is a great privilege to be a part of this thriving sector. The tech industry is booming now and I am excited to learn more about the intricacies of computing and various technologies in my further studies.”

– Sim Ci En Yong Kai Qi Nanyang Polytechnic Diploma in Information Technology

SCS Final Year Best Capstone Project Winner Fong Jun Hao Singapore Institute of Technology Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Information and Communications Technology (Software Engineering)

– Nicole Bernadette Ong

– Aldric Bek Low Weimin, Ian Temasek Polytechnic Diploma in Information Technology

SCS Skills Mastery Award Winners Neo Kai Quan George Temasek Polytechnic Diploma in Information Technology Joseph Ong Temasek Polytechnic Diploma in Digital Forensics

Lim Tow Ann, Mario Temasek Polytechnic Diploma in Information Technology

SCS Excellence Awards 2020 Wang Tianduo Singapore University of Technology and Design Bachelor of Engineering (Information Systems Technology and Design)


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GEEK SPEAK

25

Who Wears the Pants?

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hat’s easy isn’t it? Men have worn pants for centuries. And there’s no reason why they shouldn’t – after all, pants are designed specifically for men. But guess what? If you think that it is just pants that are designed for men, you are wrong. In a world where the proportion of men to women stands at roughly 1:1, our world is actually almost exclusively designed for men. And we have plenty of examples to prove that. SMARTPHONES For one, the smartphone is built for men’s hands. Women’s hands are on average, around an inch smaller. That means ever-increasing screen sizes are increasingly making smartphones harder to hand(le) for women. Is it therefore any wonder why most women prefer leaving smartphones in their bags – inadvertently rendering steps-tracking apps anything but hand(y)! PERSONAL VOICE ASSISTANTS To rub salt into the wound, even the apps in smartphones are not designed

for women. For example, although voice assistants (like Siri) with female voices by default have been around for almost a decade, programmed responses to “I’ve been raped” or “I’ve been sexually assaulted” only came about as recently as four years ago when it came to light that their default responses had been “I don’t know what that is”. The reason? The programmers – mostly men – are unlikely to find (or imagine) themselves victims to these circumstances. That also explains why it took so long for Apple to incorporate menstrual tracking functionality in its Apple Health1. WEARABLES Okay, you would think the name “wearables” suggests that they are good for wearing by both men and women right? Well, if their bulky forms, utilitarian designs and big, thick straps are any indication, it’s clear that smartwatches are not built for women. The same goes for the virtual reality experience. We often talk about

The Health app was first released in 2014, but the menstrual tracking functionality was only incorporated in 2019.

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its potential in changing how we experience the world. But for the smaller-built women with smaller heads, closer eyes and smaller hands, the ill-fitting electrode-lined suits, headsets and hand-controllers are really more of a migraine generating, rather than world-changing, experience! Fact is – it is no fault of men that women have been omitted in the design of products, and this world. After all, it is hard for men to design for women when they have never walked in women’s shoes before – just like how it is impossible for women to fit men’s pants. So why ask men to engineer products for women which often end up being just a remodelling of the men’s – smaller, cheaper and slapped with more ‘feminine’ colours like pink, red and pastel shades? Let’s leave it to women to design their own pants! After all, it doesn’t matter who’s wearing the pants as long as it’s for the good of everyone, right?


Profile for SCS secretariat

SCS Magazine 2020 Issue 3  

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