Tech executives say skills from elsewhere are transferable

(Clockwise from top, left) MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling hosting a virtual grassroots dialogue session with panellists Joey Lim, Ng Chew Wee and Joana Liew yesterday. The session was part of TikTok's new live-stream series, aimed at equipping young adul
(Clockwise from top, left) MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling hosting a virtual grassroots dialogue session with panellists Joey Lim, Ng Chew Wee and Joana Liew yesterday. The session was part of TikTok's new live-stream series, aimed at equipping young adults with jobs and skills education. PHOTO: BYTEDANCE

Entering the tech industry can seem intimidating for many without a relevant background. But skills and knowledge picked up from working in other industries are transferable, those who made the jump from other industries related.

Ms Joana Liew, TikTok owner ByteDance's head of talent development in Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, was among those who made the point at a virtual grassroots dialogue session hosted by MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling yesterday.

"The future of technology is constantly evolving, and so are the skills and talent needed to successfully adapt and thrive in this exciting industry," said Ms Liew. "Today, there is a wide variety of roles in the tech space beyond those requiring hardcore tech know-how, in areas such as marketing, design, strategy, governance or sales."

She encouraged job seekers, including mid-career switchers, to be open-minded and not hold themselves back from applying for tech roles they might be passionate about pursuing, even if they do not meet all the criteria required for the role.

Ms Liew was one of four panellists at the session, part of TikTok's jobs and skills educational live-stream series launched yesterday and aimed at equipping young adults with knowledge of jobs and skill sets of the future to make informed career decisions.

The week-long series consists of sessions called #JobTok with home-grown tech talents from TikTok and GovTech. The session with GovTech was broadcast on TikTok live at 8pm yesterday and TikTok's session will be broadcast next Tuesday.

Joining Ms Liew and Ms Tin as panellists at the session streamed on Ms Tin's Facebook page and on Zoom were TikTok's head of business marketing in South-east Asia Ng Chew Wee, and ByteDance's enterprise software business Lark's vice-president of commercial in Asia Joey Lim.

Ms Tin asked the panellists what advice they had for mid-career workers looking to jump into tech, relating that some of her residents had shared that they were interested in tech-related jobs, but felt they did not have the necessary skills.

Ms Ng said she had worked in marketing in the public sector and other industries for a decade, but jumped at the chance to try for a position at Google as she believed the tech sector would be a new economic growth driver. "I had zero tech experience but I knew the government sector very well. I knew that's something I could bring to the table... I saw this as an opportunity to enter the (tech) industry and here I am seven years later, having done different sales, marketing and business developer roles at different tech companies."

She added that she has seen many job hunters discouraged when they do not fulfil all the criteria listed in a job description, but they should still try their hand at applying. "A lot of times, employers are not going to find a candidate that checks off all the boxes, but if you check some of them and feel you can bring skills to the table, go ahead and take the chance."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2021, with the headline 'Tech executives say skills from elsewhere are transferable'. Subscribe