From IT Novice to IT Department Head

Posted on: 16th January, 2023

In his youth, Calvin Ong had particularly disliked Information Technology (IT). So it was quite hard to imagine that he would now be the Head of IT at CTBC Bank Co Ltd Singapore Branch, with its Head Office being one of the largest privately owned banks in Taiwan. Not only that, but within the first year of joining the organisation, he successfully completed an important project.

“My greatest achievement at work back then was completing the project on migrating the majority of the physical computer network servers to a virtualised environment. This enabled the company to have a greener data centre and high-availability capabilities,” Calvin said, with a clear spark in his eyes.

Calvin currently manages the CTBC Bank’s IT team at the Singapore branch and is a mentor to young engineers. Part of his job is to ensure that the infrastructure and systems, and daily business operations are all running smoothly too. He is also responsible for the planning of system enhancements and upgrades so that the bank constantly stays ahead in its digital transformation journey.

All these may sound quite impossible for someone who once had zero knowledge about IT.

Calvin explained, “I used to dislike IT and find it very difficult to understand when I was in secondary school. But when I was studying for my Mechatronics Diploma at Temasek Polytechnic, I had to do some IT fundamental modules during year 1, and that ignited my interest in IT. After my National Service, I decided to study part-time in an IT course to get myself certified while working full-time.”

Calvin attributed most of his current career success in tech to his education at PSB Academy (PSBA), where he attained his first IT educational achievement that kick-started his IT career. Albeit public stereotype misconceptions about private education institutions, Calvin felt that PSBA offered courses that are industry-relevant and encompasses a holistic learning experience. The progressive pathway in his learning experience with PSBA allowed Calvin to achieve his goals. Whether it was his Higher Diploma or his IT Degree with The University of Newcastle, Australia, the courses enabled him to explore different aspects of IT and shaped him into a well-rounded IT professional.

“The Higher Diploma and Bachelor’s degree courses exposed me to the inner workings of IT like Network, System, Applications and Database. This empowered me to work more efficiently and understand real-life systems better. As a result, I find that I can analyse the systems used in different industries easily and am able to recommend the right solutions for improvement and enhancement.”

The knowledge and skillsets he gained have prepared him to take on more responsibilities at work over the years. He thrives and finds success in every phase of his career development, from junior to senior management positions. With more than 15 years of IT experience in various positions and industries, Calvin has come a long way in his tech career.

“I started my IT career literally from ground zero,” he recollected.

“Having gone through junior roles like the Helpdesk to desktop engineer, system engineer, infrastructure lead, and eventually to the Head of IT, I have gained ground-knowledge that is essential for a professional in the management level. This progressive transition has allowed me to analyse problems from an engineer’s perspective now and approach them from a management perspective. Being able to critically analyse and provide solutions in the perspectives of various stakeholders makes me a better leader. On top of that, I find that communication with my team becomes much easier when it comes to technical discussions, as I understood the situations from ground-up.”

With his success today, Calvin felt that his education in PSBA was a key factor in his career advancement.

“Success in one’s career begins with self-commitment and grit,” he asserted. ”I made the decision to upskill and commit myself to learn new knowledge and skills, gaining experience and exposure with an open mind. Most importantly, as a mid-career professional, I was clear about my choice of institution and courses that will allow me to apply the knowledge I gained in the classrooms to real-life work situations relevant to the industry I would like to embark in the future. PSBA was the perfect fit for what I was looking for and provided me with the progression I needed.”

Calvin is one of the 200,000 learners at PSB Academy. Start your journey with us today.