INSPIRE programme a rewarding experience

National 4 minutes, 54 seconds


THE first batch of INSPIRE interns urge prospective participants to be mentally and physically prepared for the experience.

INSPIRE, which stands for Internship Student Programme for ICT Related Education, is a pioneering internship programme that was organised by the Authority for Info-Communications Technology Industry (AITI).

The Brunei Times sat down with the six Bruneian students who were sent to work at different ICT, broadcasting and media companies in Singapore, for up to six months, and asked them to share their experiences.

Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) student Nur Liyana Amalina Suhaili, 22, called the programme a “broad learning experience” and said it was very challenging, but surprisingly also very fun.

The media and communications student had been attached under media production at Singapore’s Mediacorp.

“I think the impression that people get is that it’s going to be fun – going to work abroad – but they don’t really think about the workload itself. Production is a hard profession, and it’s really hard work behind the scenes.

“You need to be passionate about it, because if you’re not, you will not go to the actual mile to accomplish, to try and excel at what you’re doing,” Nur Liyana said.

She also emphasised on the importance of commitment and creativity in a media-based in industry.

Also from UBD was Najihah Kamilah Hj Md Rosellan, 22, who worked in areas of censorship, event management, translation, and social media management, also at Mediacorp.

Najihah said she was grateful and glad she was chosen for the first INSPIRE intake, calling it a “bittersweet memory”, and saying that she found it very difficult to end the internship, after having grown very passionate about, and used to, what she had been doing.

She said she learnt about the significance of marketing and branding during her time in Singapore, further saying that although Brunei has yet to reach the point where the entire population is using social media, it was still important and sensible to apply social media advertising in the Sultanate, especially if the goal was to attract youth attention.

Najihah told prospective INSPIRE participants to grab the opportunity if given, as the experience really developed her and her fellow interns, by helping them before more confident and independent.

Meanwhile, Ak Md Hardine Pg Hj Marali, 21, also admitted that the web development internship he had carried about at Singapore software engineering company Cicada Cube was very challenging.

“The knowledge I gained at school was adequate, but not adequate enough for the Singaporean standard. So I found it quite challenging, but I understood that I needed to ask a lot of questions, and my supervisors helped me, so I managed to complete my assigned tasks,” said the student from Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB).

During his internship, he had been involved in a biometric palm-vein software development project that Cicada Cube was working on.

Md Hardine said that he planned to adopt the knowledge gained to use in his final year project at ITB.

Similar sentiments were shared by 25-year-old Abdul Rasyid Hj Osman, who is in his second year at ITB.

Abdul Rasyid said he had been involved in four projects as a web developer intern at social media marketing company TechSailor Singapore.

“I had to learn how to create social media apps, using the frameworks, and then how to integrate them with Facebook.

“These social media apps are used to help attract clients, and I don’t think there are much of them in Brunei, at the moment. I would like to contribute to introducing it here,” Abdul Rasyid said.

An initial lack of adequate ICT skills was also mentioned by ITB student Dk Siti Rasyidah Pg Hj Azis as a challenge at the beginning of her work attachment at facial biometric recognition specialist company XID Technologies Pte Ltd.

“We were working on the assembly on the hardware of facial and palm vein recognition systems – and it was quite difficult. We had to be very precise with connecting wires from standalone devices to the system, and I also found installation of the applications to be very challenging,” Dk Siti Rasyidah said.

However, the 21-year-old student said that she managed to come up with a system design, with the help of her supervisors, and walked away with knowledge about something that was not available in Brunei.

She urged INSPIRE prospective to always be “hungry” for knowledge, and to be proactive in seeking knowledge, on their own.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Md Naqiuddin Ihsan Awg Mat Japar, also an ITB student, shared that he was tasked to do testing as a quality assurance (QA) engineer at software engineering company Hello Technology.

“It was quite challenging as I have not learnt QA engineering in ITB, prior to going over to Singapore, but I took it as a challenge and even requested for a task to submit an iPhone iOS7 design for the application, as it was still an iOS6 design at the time, and I knew that iOS7 was arriving.

“I delivered the design and they accepted it, and they are still implementing it right now,” Md Naqiuddin explained.

He also said that he had designed a website for the company during his internship, a customer portal where people were able to access to find out more about ‘Tok-Tok!’, an enterprise messaging application that was capable of sending bulk messages to tens of thousands of people, in Singapore.

When asked about the social experience of INSPIRE, Md Naqiuddin said that the main thing he would advice any INSPIRE prospective to do would be to avoid procrastinating.

“Life in Singapore is very fast-paced, so you would get left out very easily, if you do procrastinate. Also, you have to be mentally and physically prepared, as their office hours are not the same as it is in Brunei, as they change depending on project deadlines,” Md Naqiuddin said.

The Brunei Times