In a bid to share experiences and inspire future generations, Overdrive was invited by Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) and talentguru to speak to professionals considering a mid-career change, and young students, about opportunities in the fast growing and dynamic world of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Speaking to two different groups, PMETs at the Talent4Tech seminar and to Info-Comm Technology (ICT) students at ITE College East, Overdrive co-founder Zen introduced the basics of IoT as well as shared anecdotes about launching his very own start-up and the life skills it took to start in the business.
Recounting the formative years of Overdrive when IoT was yet the formal term now commonly used, Zen spoke of an essential life skill that helped Overdrive grow from when they started to where they have gotten today: the practice of learning, un-learning and re-learning.
“Technologies change and times change – what you knew then may not be how it is now. When you think you finally know everything there is to know, challenge yourself to un-learn it and take it all in again. You’ll find that you understand it differently each time. That’s how you move forward.”
During the panel discussion at the Talent4Tech seminar, Zen shared some ideas on how to make a transition into the ICT industry: PMETs can leverage on their existing wealth of experience (in terms of their networks), their understanding of macroeconomics and business situation awareness, which they are then able to highlight in their future job applications.
A small challenge they’d have to overcome is to consider embracing and becoming familiar with current technologies and platforms available to them that will enhance their chances of finding the job they want. For example, talentguru is a good resource and starting point to explore relevant skills and career pathways for the infocomm sector.
At ITE College East, Zen remarked that their school curriculum does in fact offer short courses related to IoT, such as Internet of Things-Connect Devices using Thinkbox, Raspberry Pi, Android programming and more. He then shared with the students in the audience that these technical fundamentals they learn in school can come in handy in the future. For example, networking fundamentals (which is a core module in the ITE IT Systems and Networks Certification) is a skill that traditional roles, like a Network of System Administrator, must be highly proficient in, and is just as applicable and critical for many new jobs in the IoT space.
Given previously unfavourable conditions and numerous challenges, it is a wonder how Overdrive has managed to come this far.
“We started off choosing one of the most complex machines to connect – automobiles. Looking back, it is almost unimaginable how we have survived considering the huge challenges that we faced. The high cost in acquiring various models of automobiles for testing, as well as other regulatory restrictions made it almost impossible, especially for any Singapore start-ups to develop their technology and expertise in this particular field (IoT).”
While showcasing the various components that fuels Overdrive, Zen highlighted that they originally intended to offer an easy integration of smart devices. However, after implementing several projects, they found that an even bigger challenge that would be a real test of their abilities was for Overdrive to encompass the smart integration of any device.
Wrapping up both talks, Zen appealed to the guests to seriously consider their future in the ICT industry where boundless opportunities were available. While some of the perks of IoT might be having the chance to try or even create gadgets like what’s seen in superhero movies, it could not be more apt to borrow a quote from Batman Begins: “It is not who we are underneath, but what we do that defines us.”