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IT and Technology
Life On The Job: Digital Strategist
Sutheshan Shanmurajah shares with gradmalaysia.com the inside story of a digital strategist.
Back in 2001, I chose to study a brand new undergraduate degree in mobile communications engineering as I believed in the power of mobility and internet in improving society. It was the right choice as today in the year 2014 this technology has advanced so much that we live in a connected digital world that has improved the way we run our daily lives. However, implementing new revolutionary technology requires many stakeholder involvement and that propelled me to pursue a postgraduate degree that taught me how to navigate business management, politics and policy making in bringing changes to society. I rely on what I studied at both my universities to bring fresh thinking to my job.
My company and job
I work in Maxis Berhad, the leading telecommunications company in Malaysia. I work in various strategy functions in the organisation and have been involved with, among others, acquisition of new companies overseas, bidding for new technology licenses and scouting for new business opportunities to bring the latest innovation to Malaysians.
The best and worst bits
I like my role in strategy that requires me to continuously think of new possibilities of using technology to introduce new solutions to the market. It gets more exciting because the industry dynamics, customer demands and technology advancements changes almost every day!
My most memorable achievement at work
My most memorable achievement was working on a merger & acquisition (M&A) project that was the largest transaction in South East Asia that year. It was quite an exciting time for me because I had to learn finance from scratch, present to investors and prepare strategy papers for the Board of Directors, among other interesting activities.
Getting the job
I was interviewed in Manchester as the Maxis team flew down to UK to conduct the interviews. It was just the usual interview but I suppose it was honest answers about my passion for the industry and its impact to society that may have made the difference. It was quite exciting to be given the job on the spot and this was my prime reason for accepting the job from a confident and fast decision-making company.
Be prepared for
In my role in strategy it involves tight deadlines, but with effective time management and with the right motivation, you’ll love working in this environment, especially in the telecommunication industry that is continuously evolving with new innovation.
University degrees help frame your thinking structure and work experience helps put them into practice. But what is important is to realise what your passion is and work towards achieving that because that is what will keep you motivated and help you excel in your career!
Life On The Job: Java Associate Developer
Lim Kai Yuan shares with gradmalaysia.com about his journey as a java associate developer!
My first year
During my first year with arvato Systems as a fresh graduate, I had a lot to learn and pick up in terms of technical skills and programming-related knowledge, especially during my probation period. My colleagues are from various different countries as our company is multicultural and they were very friendly and helpful whenever I had inquiries. I personally think that the learning culture here is good, especially for a fresh graduate, because of colleagues who are very willing to teach and share their knowledge.
During my first six months in arvato Systems, my team members and I were sent to Gütersloh, Germany for a three-weeks training. We were able to work together with our team members in Germany and learn from them during the training. Of course, while we were there, we extended our stay and travelled around Europe. It was really interesting and a good opportunity to go to different countries within Europe because it was an eye-opening experience to see different cultures.
As I progressed in my first year from being a probation staff to a confirmed staff, I was exposed to different types of tasks and project phases. With those experiences, it not only made me a better software developer but it also improved my career as a whole.
My role as a java developer not only requires me to just program stuff, but it also requires me to think of solutions for the problems that are faced by the clients. Most of the time, this job is not only about coding, but it is also about helping the clients to understand and solve their problems. Part of my job is to also communicate with clients about the task requirements so that the end results are aligned with their expected output.
Our work culture
The company really promotes work-life balance as they really care about their employees. One of the perks of working here is that we get to work from home, once a week. The learning culture is also good whereby we have activities like the Brown Bag (knowledge sharing) sessions. We also have a mini library where the books are contributed by the company and also by the employees. The working hours here are also flexible as long as we manage our assigned tasks well by ourselves.
- Attractive job tasks - 4
- Being appreciated at work - 4
- Friendly colleagues - 5
- Good leadership style - 4
- Good work-life balance- 5
- Travel opportunities - 4
- Positive personal development - 4
Three life lessons
- Be ready with your soft skills as you will be expected to communicate frequently with our counterparts in Germany.
- Always keep yourself up-to-date with the different technologies so that you can provide different alternatives or give a better estimation to clients.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions if you have uncertainties. Be sure to have a clear understanding on the requirements.
The fun part
The tasks that I usually get are challenging enough and are not routine based, so it requires me to think a lot. Being a person who likes to solve interesting problems and who was once an active chess player, I like solving problems that arises from these types of tasks, and it is what I like the most about my job.
My advice (to my younger self!)
- Explore different types of programing technologies as much as possible especially its framework.
- Take up more challenging tasks during my time as a freelance web developer during my university days.
- Be more humble. Learn to say, ‘I do not know but I am willing to learn’.