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From career exploration to clarity

From career exploration to clarity

  • 31 August 2022
  • By Shani Boh
  • 5 mins read

Shani Boh, a third-year student in Information Technology at Ngee Ann Polytechnic joined the OCBC Ignite Programme in March 2022. Besides coding, she enjoys watching dramas and movies. Her all-time favourite film is “Till we meet again” by Giddens Ko.

Hello, I’m Shani. I learned about the Ignite internship programme during our Portfolio Development module. I worked with three other interns and our supervisor, Anjali, to design and implement APIs for the API sandbox portal. One of our goals was to make the sandbox portal more engaging and easier for developers to use by improving the frontend coding for the site using ReactJS and CSS.

Learning a new language

During Ignite, I learned how to code with ReactJS and it was initially very difficult. It took some time for a newbie to JavaScript like me to learn! However, Anjali really helped me tremendously. She pointed me to many useful resources and worked with me on some examples. Over time, I got the hang of both ReactJS and JavaScript. I’m very proud of how we designed and deployed the APIs. The team and I have worked on about 10 APIs so far and it was so satisfying each time an API was published. I gained invaluable in-depth knowledge of APIs during the internship.

From supervisor to friend

Anjali was a fantastic supervisor! Besides patiently teaching us practical coding skills, she would catch up with us interns daily, asking about our day, how we were and what we were working on. If we had completed our assigned tasks, she would give us new tasks to work on. She was concerned about our professional and personal development and paced us accordingly. I really loved the team culture because we had a good relationship with our supervisor and got on well with one another. When we had meals with Anjali, she would insist that we didn’t only talk about work. She was keen to really understand and know us as individuals. We talked about the news, the latest movies and games. I had expected that our relationship would be formal and honestly, awkward, like what I (wrongly) imagined a mentor and supervisor relationship would be. But now I consider Anjali a good friend, a confidante and someone I can share my personal thoughts with.

Gaining clarity

Ignite gave me clarity on the direction to choose post-graduation. My first choice was cybersecurity but as I learned more about it, I realised it was not my thing. The internship gave me clarity on the direction I should take. As I became exposed to frontend work, I realised that I totally enjoy designing, demo-ing and launching end-user products. For sure, Ignite reinforced my decision to be a front-end developer as my career choice.

A field for both genders

When I started my studies, there were five ladies in my class and that was already considered many! Nevertheless, this is a field that any gender can join. There’s this stereotype that guys are better at math or science and that IT might not be a good choice for ladies. I know first-hand that this is not true. This industry is big with many paths one can take. Anyone who has an interest in this field should go for it!

Tips for those considering Ignite

Start by understanding what Ignite is all about and what is needed for the role. After that, do your homework before applying for the internship. Speak to any tech people you know or go to YouTube and Instagram to learn from influencers in the field. See what you are interested in and start from there. For example, if you like designing and building beautiful websites, then brush up on HTML and CSS. It takes time to learn a new language and it may not be part of your module. Come prepared so you can get the most out of the Ignite experience.

Interns in the OCBC Ignite Programme are responsible for contributing to the design and software of the Bank’s software solutions. Some skills that interns may learn are developing applications (coding, programming), debugging and testing code, documenting and testing new software applications and learning new technologies in collaboration with their senior leaders.