The fast-changing nature of work has prompted many Singaporeans to upgrade their skills to stay relevant. TODAY’s Voices section is publishing first-hand accounts of young Singaporeans who have recently done so to give their careers a boost, or even pursue new paths in life.
In this instalment, Ms Marcella Tang, 27, a former corporate banker, describes how the buzz around tech jobs sparked an interest in a career move. A data analytics course, along with some helpful advice from her instructor, helped her bridge her knowledge gaps and land a job as a cloud solutions architect in 2022. Working in tech has also given her more opportunities to be creative and think outside the box, she adds.
I am a former banker turned cloud solutions architect.
I started my banking career in 2019, after completing my Economics and Management degree at a local university.
After working as a corporate banker for a year, I noticed a lot of buzz around tech jobs and salaries.
This sparked my interest in a career pivot from banking to technology, specifically cloud technology.
Cloud computing is revolutionary in that it offers information technology (IT) services such as storage and networking on-demand — with additional scalability and flexibility — as opposed to traditional on-site technologies which can be limited by space.
It is one of the most popular emerging technologies now with strong growth prospects, and I was keen to be a part of it.
Initially, I was unsure how to get started. As someone who didn’t major in IT, there were significant gaps in technical knowledge and work experience I had to bridge.
In November 2020, I left my banking job and joined a consulting firm specialising in financial services technologies such as core banking systems — the back-end systems banks use to process transactions.
I then dedicated my free time to learning as much as I could about the tech sector.
I learned how to code through online courses, read books on cloud computing, and earned industry-recognised certificates such as the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Foundations Certification to validate my knowledge of various cloud technologies.
I was making progress, but realised that I needed expert guidance. In October 2021, I enrolled in a data analytics course with tech training provider Vertical Institute.
It was a 21-hour long, part-time course, which allowed me to attend lessons from home.
Initially, I was apprehensive about the steep learning curve and time commitment required to gain proficiency in tools such as MySQL, a database management system, and Tableau, a data visualisation platform.
However, my instructor allayed these concerns by providing thorough explanations that were easy to comprehend, even for beginners like myself.
The programme’s practical training covered a variety of topics, including machine learning and Python coding.
My instructor had himself made a successful switch from finance to tech and offered guidance on how to navigate the industry.
I listened with a keen ear for any insights that could help me.
For example, he shared tips such as which certifications to take and tech blogs to read. They were the exact materials I needed to deepen my understanding of various technical proficiencies.
By taking these steps, I was able to fill the knowledge gaps necessary to land a job as a cloud solutions architect at a tech giant in January 2022.
I now work with organisations to design and build cloud computing architectures and provide technical advice on areas such as database management and networking on the cloud.
Despite not having an IT background, I have been able to leverage my knowledge to work effectively alongside my peers.
As someone who has made the shift from banking to tech, I can say that there are several things that I felt I could not achieve in the banking field, but have been able to accomplish since transitioning to tech.
First, I have more opportunities for creativity and innovation in the tech industry.
In banking, there are established rules and guidelines which can sometimes limit one’s ability to think outside the box.
I have also found that the tech industry offers more opportunities for career growth.
While there are certainly such opportunities in banking, the progression can be slower and more limited.
The journey was challenging, but I am proud to have taken the initiative to grow my skillset.
The tech industry is continually evolving, and keeping pace with the latest developments remains an ongoing challenge.
Hence, I have made it a priority to continuously learn through various means such as industry conferences and courses.
If you are considering making a career change, I recommend that you explore upskilling courses and relevant certifications as they will make the transition easier.
More importantly, surround yourself with like-minded individuals to bounce ideas off each other.
As someone who has made this transition, it really has been one of the best career decisions I have ever made!
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Ms Marcella Tang, 27, is a cloud solutions architect at a global tech giant. She enjoys travelling, exploring new places and trying new food. In her free time, she likes to exercise and take long walks along East Coast Park.
If you have an experience to share or know someone who wishes to contribute to this series, write to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.