December 2015 – Liyana Sulaiman

Why did you choose to work in your field?

The field of technology is exciting. I find it exciting because technology is dynamic, meaning it can be applied to every aspect of life and changing the way the our lives function. At the same time, change also mean challenges. Precisely why I also like it, having challenges to work on makes me wake up each day knowing that there is always something we can improve or fix out there in the world with technology.

How do you be creative and innovative in your work? Is it difficult?

Creativity is more of a mindset approach than skills. In my work, we work on client cases every now and then which requires us to apply the same technology into their specific contexts. Unless we apply creativity and innovation, we will not have experienced the traction we get in terms of business. At times we do encounter difficulty such as stumbling onto roadblocks trying to implement our technology solution for our client. In such situations, creativity to look at the problem from a different angle and coming with way to remedy the situation helps. Creativity and innovation is necessary to move forward in business and life as well.

How can we (girls) be involved in technology?

Girls are needed in the world of technology. Especially now. Girls need to be aware of this fact and that they are ready whenever they are to contribute to the world of technology. The problem with the question here is girls wanting to know how they can get involved. Let me explain.

You see, the reality of the adult world is when you go for a job interview, in an attempt to get the dream job you’ll have to prove your skills and experience. In doing so you are telling the HR or the person interviewing you why you are the best person for the job and therefore you should be hired. That would be a logical thing to do, right? Unless you don’t mind losing the position to the next person or you aren’t really sure you want it, then you probably just leave it to chance (less proactive).

Same logic applies to girls who want to be in technology. First, you have to decide if this field is interesting enough for you. Are you curious enough about the possibilities? Start asking the right questions and hopefully you’ll discover in time whether technology can be leveraged to bring out your wildest dreams in life. What is it that you want to create and how can technology enable you to do so? Technology is neutral, flexible and can be applied to virtually any industry say medical, sports, food, finance, arts and design, etc. If you have a burning curiosity about Singapore’s water supply challenges, can you harness technology to improve or solve? From the example, it’s clear you can. Have you heard of Olivia Lum, Founder of Hyflux? Her water filtration technology has not also helped Singapore deal with water supply shortage by providing an alternative but also helped other countries provide clean, sanitised water to its populations.

Did you start learning technology from a young age?

No, I did not. It was not the first thing I learn Рif you are talking about coding. However the first object of technology I was fascinated with as a young kid is the personal computer. That has paved the way for my involvement in the world of technology tinkering, getting exposure selling various technology products then studying more about it in university and then now leading a tech start-up company.  Since I was into sci-fi movies, I was wondering why they always had cool gadgets to play with, how those gadgets work, etc. It made me realise technology is queer, but fun too!