From Business To Project Management, and Now Tech: Meet The Lady Who Doesn’t Stop Learning

14 Aug 2021 Posted in ⟨Stories⟩

Determined to break into the technology industry, Yasmeen Khan applied for many tech jobs and upskilling courses that would value-add to her business and project management background. Her effort paid off, and she landed her current job at software company SAP Asia.

How did her interest in tech start? And how did the SGUnited Skills Programme benefit her? Here is Yasmeen’s upskilling and career journey with NTUC LearningHub.

As the technology sector boomed amid COVID-19, so did the demand for tech roles. One of the industry’s newest entrants is Yasmeen Khan, who joined SAP Asia as a Services Sales Support Specialist in June 2021.

Driven by her goal to enter the tech industry, Yasmeen enrolled in NTUC LearningHub’s SGUnited Skills Programme. She joined the full-time programme to upskill as an Associate Project Manager / Scrum Master for 6 months before embarking on her current career at SAP Asia, an industry leader in software and technology solutions.

Even in 2003, Yasmeen had the foresight that technology would become a major part of her life. She studied Business Information Technology in Temasek Polytechnic then, when the Information Technology sector (IT) was becoming popular.

Despite her interest in technology at that time, Yasmeen decided to diversify her skill sets by trying out different career paths after graduating from polytechnic — especially seeing that she still had a lifetime of learning in front of her.

She proceeded to pursue a business degree while working in the civil service, before moving on to take on a role as Project Coordinator in an oil and gas company. At the oil and gas company, the aspirational Yasmeen worked her way up to a managerial position in less than 4 years despite having no formal training in project management.

Her quick career advancement can be credited to her strong passion for learning, where she picked up project management skills such as project coordination, operations, and management on the job. As she improved in these hard skills, she honed her people management skills through experience and was rewarded with regular job promotions. Though her busy schedule left her with no time to upskill outside of work, her desire to learn always remained strong.

Yasmeen’s opportunity to pursue her dream career in the tech sector finally came when she snagged a 6-month contract with SAP, a software and technology solutions company, as a Business Operations Specialist, eventually staying on for 2 years. It was her first step into the tech industry, albeit in a non-technical job role, but she didn’t mind and even took a pay cut for the opportunity.

When that temporary contract ended in October 2020 due to the sudden COVID-19 outbreak, her short stint in the company inspired her to upskill so that she could land a more technical role in future and stay relevant to the changing workforce.

Yasmeen saw the possibility of breaking into the tech industry with project management — which she excelled in — and set her mind on the SGUnited Skills Programme’s Associate Project Manager / Scrum Master role. She enrolled in the programme in December 2020.

The beginnings of Yasmeen's upskilling journey in tech

The Associate Project Manager / Scrum Master role SGUnited Skills Programme aimed to equip non-tech professionals with the knowledge on how to develop project plans, oversee project implementation, and manage teams while adopting Agile and Scrum practices.

Given Yasmeen’s experience in project management, this role was a natural choice for her tech career progression. She wanted to first take up a tech-lite role suited to her strengths and progress to a more technical position later.

She completed various technical, business, and soft skills courses that would help her synergise project management strategy and action to achieve project outcomes. To her surprise, she realised she had been practising some Agile processes in her previous jobs!

“I loved my experience. I was blessed that I had a wonderful group of people I was training with,” Yasmeen said.

After class hours, Yasmeen and her coursemates would have virtual self-study sessions to help one another with the course material and share their life experiences. Yasmeen would often share the importance of upgrading and staying relevant at work to encourage her classmates to complete all the courses.

She also built rapport with the course trainers, who generously shared their knowledge during and after classes as well as on their LinkedIn profiles. Always hungry to learn more, Yasmeen diligently read all the articles and information shared to amass knowledge about the tech sector and kept herself abreast with the latest news.

Without work experience in the tech industry, there were times when she could not understand the work processes described by her trainers. As a keen learner, she expressed her concerns to her trainers. Thankfully, she was met with kindness and patience from the trainers who responded by simplifying and elaborating on their experiences better so that Yasmeen and her coursemates from similar non-tech backgrounds could better understand the material.

Yasmeen used her SkillsFuture Credit to pay for the full-time course. During the 6 months of the programme, her daughters, who were working full-time, shouldered the responsibility of house expenses while she tapped on the $1,200 monthly training allowance to support her property loan.

Breaking into the tech industry

Yasmeen’s second lucky break came midway through the SGUnited Skills Programme. Gaining confidence from her upskilling journey in tech, she told recruiters that she was training as an Associate Project Manager / Scrum Master, and was offered a role as Services Sales Support Specialist at SAP in June.

In this current role, she provides project management and internal backend support for the company’s Southeast Asian Services Partner and will be responsible for implementing processes and structures to ensure operational excellence. Compared to her first work stint at SAP, Yasmeen is now savvier and more resourceful after 6 months of upskilling with NTUC LearningHub.

With her newly acquired technical skills, she can better understand the company’s daily activities and is able to contribute more in her role. Additionally, with her knowledge of Google Suite and other office productivity tools such as Microsoft, she can keep up with her daily tasks more efficiently.

Yasmeen's next steps in her upskilling journey with NTUC LearningHub

However, this is not the end of Yasmeen’s upskilling journey. She is looking to enroll in an ICAgile Coaching course next to further her strength and passion in mentoring.

“In Singapore, it will be difficult to progress in our career and achieve our financial goals if we just stay where we are.” This thought constantly motivates her to keep learning and applying her knowledge, both in and out of work, especially as the workplace landscape changes amid COVID-19.

As technology becomes more important, even those in non-technical roles need to stay updated with the latest industry developments to remain relevant – like what Yasmeen did.

When asked what advice she would give to those who are thinking of upskilling, she said, “If you can afford it and you have the time, don’t think twice. Just go ahead and apply. The world is changing quickly and you will be left behind if you don’t keep upgrading yourself to stay relevant.”

Since 2004, NTUC LearningHub has upskilled over 21,000 organisations and achieved over 2.6 million training places across more than 500 courses with a pool of over 400 certified trainers. We are the leading Continuing Education and Training provider in Singapore and we are here to transform your lifelong employability.

For more information on how we can help, visit our Virtual Roadshow or talk to our friendly Course Consultants by reserving a Virtual Live Advisory appointment today.

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