Rising to the challenge

Rising to the challenge

SINGAPORE - Software engineering may still be regarded as a male-dominant field, but that did not deter Ms Gina Cheng.

She picked the field because she finds it challenging and meaningful.

"It requires quick and advanced thinking to derive satisfactory solutions to problems," she says. "Furthermore, I have a strong passion for making things workable."

Having earned a Diploma in Information Communication Technology, specialising in broadband security systems from Singapore Polytechnic, Ms Cheng completed a Bachelor of Computer Science (Digital Systems Security), awarded by the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia through SIM Global Education, graduating in March this year.

SIM Global Education provides a wide range of high-quality overseas degree programmes made available through its partnership with established international universities and institutions from the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and Switzerland.

Ms Cheng, 24, is now working as a software engineer in a information technology services company.

Her job primarily involves software enhancement. "It includes modifying or adding new effective solutions to the existing software to correct errors or improve its performance, so as to meet the user requirements and produce a better feature for the users," she says.

The job scope requires the skills and knowledge of programming and writing documentations, she adds.

Ms Cheng notes that most of the modules she studied in her degree programme are related.When she was searching for a degree programme, she was attracted to UOW not just for the modules offered, but also for the graduate prospects.

"The programme teaches various different programming languages and skills. The practicums they conduct are also highly valuable to my future career," she says. Realising her potential

The degree programme, which is available both full- and part-time, was a fun and fulfilling experience. On the whole, the programme boosted her confidence, she says.

Besides picking up programming skills, she is also now more confident in conducting presentations and report writing - two relevant skills she can apply in her work.

The diverse international population meant she also got to interact with students and lecturers from different countries. Practicals and projects helped her convert theories into application.

The wide range of final year projects for students include industrial projects, which gave students exposure to working environments.

Ms Cheng got an opportunity to be involved in an industrial project during her final year, where she got to experience project life-cycles and requirements in a short frame of time.

Ms Cheng says the programme has helped her to realise her potential. She credits lecturer Dr Heng Aik Koan for being instrumental in spurring her learning interest.

"His way of teaching developed my interest in programming and gave me a strong foundation to become who I am today," she says."Throughout the process, I realised that it does not matter whether you take a longer or shorter route, as long as you have a main goal. Nothing is impossible as long as you put in effort," she adds.

Personal development

Ms Cheng was also learning classical piano while doing her degree. While she needed time to practise, she managed to strike a balance between piano and school work.

As such, she has developed time-management skills too.

She says: "The programme helped to realise my career based on my potential and interest. It equipped me with project and programming skills. Enjoy and treasure the experience gained in this programme. Many may believe that this is a field suited mostly for guys, but I believe ladies can do well too."

About the programme

The Bachelor of Computer Science (Digital Systems Security) programme provides all the benefits of a computer science qualification, focusing on the development of high-level programming skills applicable across the widest range of applications.

It is complemented by an internationally recognised specialisation (major) in Digital Systems Security that includes Computer Security, Multimedia Security, System Security and Computer Network Security.

A high point of the degree is the third-year group project where students form teams to design, implement and document a software system. The three-year programme is available on a full-time or part-time basis. Two-year advanced standing entry can be considered based on relevant qualifications.

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