The Recipe for Success? Hard & Soft Skills, Mixed With An Endless Desire to Learn

15 Apr 2020 Posted in ⟨Stories⟩

Learning is not just for those in the early stages of their careers, as embodied by NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB) trainee Angelia Tan. Even in a senior managerial role, her fierce passion to never stop growing and to keep up with ever-changing technologies is something to aspire towards.

“You will never find me sitting in the office for 365 days,” Angelia smiles. Being the General Manager at Omni Integer, a small firm which provides security and surveillance solutions for local government agencies, Angelia’s role encompasses everything under the sun. Meeting customers for sales, sourcing new technologies, conducting training, providing technical repairs and consulting customers are just some of her responsibilities. “The best part is that what I do is never stagnant. It’s always moving and it’s very dynamic. The technological aspect is the most fun, because you need to stay updated to keep up with the game. This means that we constantly have to travel to discover new technology and meet manufacturers,” described Angelia.

A Steep Learning Curve

 

But getting to where she is now was no easy ride. Coming from a background of mechanical engineering and organisational psychology, her past 9 years at Omni Integer has broadened her scope immensely. To further expand her knowledge base, she recently took a Networking Fundamentals course at NTUC LHUB. “The class was actually very stressful, because it focused so much on binary which I am very weak in!” She laughs. “But it was very eye-opening and interesting, because I know how the backend of networking systems actually function now. NTUC LHUB has created a conducive environment for learning, with such convenient training facilities.” With her eyes already set on taking up a few more courses such as Linux, Fortinet and Cisco, Angelia also advocates upskilling for her team, especially when it comes to IT and cybersecurity skills.

9 years ago I had zero electrical skills, but now I can go on par with any electronics professional. Why? Because I am willing to learn.

“Technology is the number one aspect of our business. We can’t go out there and claim that we know what we’re doing if we don’t have the IT fundamentals, so it’s crucial to pick up skills properly from ground zero in order to stay up-to-date with the latest trends,” she said. While the fascinating surveillance capabilities of Angelia’s firm’s tech remain top secret, what she can share is that they are often approached by Singapore’s law enforcement. “We managed to retrieve definite proof that helped them put criminals behind bars,” she told us excitedly. “Despite the hard work involved, moments like these make everything worth it!”

Having the Right Balance of Skills

It is not just all about being tech savvy, however, as soft skills are necessary to shine. One skill in particular that comes naturally to Angelia is building relationships with her customers. It is a skill that she further honed over the course of doing sales for 7 years in a biometric security company (IDLink Systems) she co-founded in 2002, before leaving to pursue other opportunities. “Relationship building is a very important skill to have in order to get things going. I think my background in psychology helps me tremendously because when we meet customers, most of the time I can confidently gauge whether the customer is interested or not just by their body language,” Angelia remarked. As someone in a position to make hiring decisions, Angelia says that having a good attitude and work ethic is what they look for in candidates. “Of course we look at skills as well, but those can be learned along the way. If you have the right attitude and the desire to learn, then you’ve already won half the battle,” she said.

The Fuel to Never Stop Learning

Anyone who speaks with Angelia can immediately sense her passion and belief in lifelong learning. A part of that is inspired by her role model – her mother. “Even at 71 years old, she has recently discovered the wonders of YouTube!” she exclaimed. “She would just mess around with her phone and tell me about all kinds of recipes or interesting facts she learned. It’s very inspirational to see her still wanting to learn even at her age.” And what better time to learn than now, especially with the recent SkillsFuture Credit top-up? Angelia is one of many who used her SkillsFuture funds to upskill at NTUC LHUB, but is baffled that more people are not doing the same. “The government is giving you free money to learn!” Angelia uttered in disbelief. “Most of my friends don’t use it at all, which I don’t understand.” “Having travelled extensively and lived overseas for studies and work, I feel so fortunate to be Singaporean. For a country like ours with no natural resources, our biggest resource is people and that’s why using SkillsFuture for training is so important! It equips us with the skills to stand tall on an international platform and show the world what Singapore has to offer,” she said proudly. Stand tall Angelia did, especially when considering her position in a male-dominated industry. “I think that my biggest achievement to date was to create a name for myself in this field,” Angelia reflected. “When I first started, customers would approach my boss for technical issues and would doubt my capabilities when he would direct them to me instead,” she reminisced. “But through hard work, perseverance, and the help of excellent teachers, customers are now comfortable approaching me directly and are reassured that I can solve their problems.” As for what the future holds, Angelia’s career goal is clear – to continue growing. “I hope to pick up as much knowledge as possible, while chasing technology as it advances,” she decided. “I have to keep growing because the moment I stop, I will fall behind, and I can’t let my past efforts go to waste!” Since 2004, NTUC LearningHub has fulfilled over 2.4 million training places and transformed over 16,700 organisations. Regardless of collar, age or nationality, we are here to help you change your skills to keep up with a rapidly changing workforce. For more information on how we can help, talk to our friendly Course Consultants at NTUC Trade Union House, Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability, LHUB @ Tampines Mall or any of our roadshows islandwide.


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