Making a mid-career switch can be challenging for many people, as it may mean learning a new skill set and starting from scratch in a new job all over again. For Ernest Chew, switching his role from an IT administrator to a product manager has been relatively smooth, partially because of his IT degree at PSB Academy.
Ernest was drawn into the Information Technology (IT) when he had the opportunity to work on firmware development and was later reaffirmed when he saw many firms investing into digitalisation. Having graduated with an engineering diploma, he decided to pursue further studies in IT for better career prospects.
“After much research, I discovered that PSB Academy in partnership with The University of Newcastle, Australia offered an IT Degree,” Ernest recalled. “The course matched my expectations because it offered modules that emphasised on real-world applications with IT systems. The duration also seemed shorter than that of other options at that time.”
Although it was tough juggling work and part-time studies, Ernest found his classes well-paced and his classmates and lecturers helpful. “Although the class timetables were usually packed, I enjoyed every moment of my learning journey because my classmates were helpful,” he said. “My lecturers were able to teach the modules in a swift and concise manner, which helped us to grasp the concepts quickly and easily.”
After attaining his degree, Ernest joined an IT Services company as an Oracle database administrator, where he provided end-to-end support while spearheading various other projects. “He credited the module Database Management System, in which he scored Distinction during his degree, for enabling him to qualify for his technical role in his new company,” he testified.
Several years later, Ernest moved on to PSA Singapore where he currently heads the agile product team that focuses on creating IT software products and platforms for the logistics community. Managing a team was a new skill he had to learn with his new role. “One of the key challenges I faced at work is managing people’s expectations,” he said. Ernest had to quickly develop soft skill sets, such as empathy, in order to gain a deeper understanding into the requirements of a certain project while working out a suitable resolution to address my team members’ expectations.”
“I believe that having a growth mindset is important as we should constantly be looking out for areas of improvement and progress,” he reflected. “Switching from engineering to IT was a major decision in my career. I am glad to have been accepted by the university, despite having an engineering background. That was the first step that I bravely took towards my aspiration, which brought me to where I stand today.”
Contrary to popular misconceptions, Ernest doesn’t feel that he was at a disadvantage because of his education. “My workplace practises fair appraisal and merits us according to our contributions, instead of the university we attended,” he reaffirmed. “I am thankful that PSB Academy gave me a chance to study with a great Australian university, which gave me and other like-minded mid-career professionals a chance to continue to upgrade our knowledge.”