Taking a leap of faith into HealthTech

#IMInspired > Success Stories

By IMDA Posted 12mth(s) ago Reading Time: About 10 minutes

“A year ago, I couldn’t even write a line of code,” says Daniel Ong, who majored in English Literature from the National University of Singapore Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. 

After working as a copywriter for a year, Daniel embarked on his tech journey with IHiS after completing the 12-week Software Engineering Immersive programme by General Assembly, which is supported by the Tech Immersion and Placement Programme under the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative

Read what inspired Daniel to take a leap of faith to join the field of HealthTech! 

When did you join IHiS?

I joined IHiS in March 2020.

How would you describe your work at IHiS?

I am a front-end developer who’s responsible for designing and creating the user-facing interface of my team’s applications. 

A typical day in my work life involves translating UI/UX wireframes into code, implementing logo to said code, and testing everything to uncover bugs.

What would you say is your greatest achievement in IHiS to date?

About a year ago, I couldn’t write a line of code. This year, in the span of 4 months, and with a lot of support from my colleagues, I’ve been privileged to contribute to two COVID-19-related applications: iConnect.COVID and MW Health, that have bolstered Singapore’s efforts in tackling the ‘crisis of a generation’. 

You graduated from NUS’ Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, with a major in English Literature. What made you decide to switch paths into the field of HealthTech?

Over the past couple of years, I’ve taken a greater interest in improving my mental and physical well-being, and have found a suite of apps that have made a difference in my day-to-day living (Calm, Nike’s running app and Freedom). 

These apps along with the existing research in fields such as the Internet of Medical Things and Precision Medicine, have greatly piqued my interest in this exciting industry. 

I decided to make the switch into HealthTech to make a difference in Singapore’s future healthcare landscape. 

Notwithstanding the already pertinent issues of an ageing population and rising healthcare costs, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered challenges such as the need for a robust network of tech-driven surveillance networks (for swab operations) as well as support systems for families/individuals feeling the toll on their mental health, brought about by unprecedented self-isolation. 

The issues above are by no means exhaustive, but are reflective of the kind of purposeful challenge that I anticipated to tackle when deciding to pursue a path in HealthTech. 

What were the most challenging moments in your job so far, and how did you overcome them?

These two challenges I’ve faced thus far include having to adjust to a new industry and role, while working remotely, and delivering quality code under the time-crunch of COVID-19 demands. 

As far as facing up to these challenges goes, I’ve made sure to maintain a spirit of optimism and to adopt a growth mindset. I’ve also found it healthy to talk to colleagues about my challenges, which has greatly helped my assimilation into the team and contributed to greater confidence in the delivery of work.

What is your most memorable moment in IHiS so far?

The tired jokes and sound of snacking that punctuated our numerous late working nights!

What is your advice for people trying to get into this role/industry and any tips for them? 

My advice for those interested in changing tracks to become a software engineer would be to first do a good deal of research on the variety of engineering roles available and see what interests you. 

After finding a role that excites you – you can then decide to take up a few short online courses to sample the demands of the field. To then really get the full breadth of the developer experience, you may decide to enrol in a bootcamp (like I did) and/or build your own applications, which is the best way to improve your competencies and portfolio. 

Here are my 3 tips that helped me to overcome the initial challenges:

  1. Be patient - you don’t have to know everything and give yourself time to develop the skill and learn.
  2. Be comfortable with debugging – 70% of a developer’s work involves debugging. This is the process of identifying and removing existing and potential errors in programs to prevent incorrect operation of a software or system, so do grow to appreciate the process. 
  3. Ask, ask and ask some more – It’s the best way gain knowledge of what you don’t know

If you’re keen to embark on your own tech journey, here are some programmes to help you advance your career in this exciting industry:

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