SINGAPORE- 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, said Ms Joana Liew, TikTok owner ByteDance's head of talent development in Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Turkey and Africa.
Making the point at a virtual grassroots dialogue session hosted by MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling on Wednesday (March 31), Ms Liew added: "The future of technology is constantly evolving, and so are the skills and talent needed to successfully adapt and thrive in this exciting industry.
"Today, there is a wide variety of roles in the tech space beyond those requiring hard-core 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 virtual session, part of TikTok's new jobs and skills educational live-stream series launched on Wednesday and aimed at equipping young adults with knowledge of the jobs and skill sets of the future so that they can make more informed career decisions.
The week-long series consists of sessions called #JobTok with homegrown tech talents from TikTok and GovTech. The session with GovTech was broadcast on TikTok live at 8pm on Wednesday and TikTok’s session will be broadcast on April 6.
Other panellists at the virtual session streamed on Ms Tin's Facebook page and on Zoom were TikTok's head of business marketing for South-east Asia, Ms Ng Chew Wee, and ByteDance's enterprise software business Lark’s vice-president of commercial in Asia, Ms 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 that they did not have the necessary skills to make the leap.
Ms Ng said that she had worked in marketing in the public sector and other industries for a decade, but still 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 know the government sector very well. I know 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 said.
Ms Ng said she has seen many job hunters being discouraged when they do not fulfil all the job 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 that you can bring skills to the table, go ahead and take the chance," she said.