Early Careers, Singtel Management Associate Programme

Where I Made My First Software Product - Theodore Salim

Published 05 Sep 2019 by Reese Huang

“I’m enjoying my role as a Product Manager very much, something that I never would have expected. This, for me, is the perfect mix of technical and marketing work!"

Having joined Singtel back in 2016 as a Management Associate (MA), Theodore was given the opportunity to explore the different paths available at Singtel within his sphere of interest. Upon graduation, Theodore knew what he wanted – A structured development program offering broad exposure to value chains, yet one that could accommodate the flexibility for him to chart his own course. Leveraging on the regional presence of the Singtel Group, during his first rotation as an MA, he oversaw a global partnership with more than 15 overseas data center partners across 11 countries, spear-headed a Dark Fibre connectivity project in Hong Kong, dabbled with marketing and enablement projects, as well as managed 3 out of 9 Singtel data center portfolios based locally and in Hong Kong.

Within his first rotation, Theodore’s interest was piqued. Despite specialising in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, his experience during his first year as an MA found him appreciating the value in the commercial efforts that drove the business. Not wanting to forego his passion for technology, Theodore decided that his next role should be able to encompass both the commercial and technical aspects. After sharing these sentiments with HR Talent Management, he was offered a role with NCS as a Product Manager during his second rotation. Just as he had anticipated, it was a role that he thoroughly enjoyed through and through. As it presented the perfect balance between his two passions, it was not a surprise that for his final placement as an MA, he chose to pursue the latter portfolio.

As many would think, it all sounds rather smooth-sailing doesn’t it? But as we know, success does not come without hard work. When Theodore first began his role as a Product Manager in NCS, he came in without any former background or experience in coding or software development. He struggled to comprehend and keep up amidst all the foreign, technical jargon. Additionally, there were language barriers to be overcome too, seeing as some BAUs (Business-As-Usual) involved working with other development teams from Vietnam, India and China. All of these made communicating his thoughts to fellow software engineers a challenge. For Theodore, being in an environment that communicated mainly via tech-lingo, it was paramount that he acclimatise to the terminology and concepts fast. With his level-headed demeanour and quiet resilience, he was quick to grasp the Agile methodology, Software Development Life Cycle, Product Roadmap, and DevOps (Development and Operations) tools, just to name a few.

Currently, Theodore is responsible for manoeuvring cross-functional collaboration teams in an Agile environment across the region. Apart from several other projects, he also oversees the change management of products, from the documentation process, knowledge transfer, to the migration of source code. Fluent in DevOps tools, he plans, prioritises, reviews and drives day-to-day development efforts between software engineers, designers, and other stakeholders to ensure punctual delivery of tested product features. Applying his marketing and commercial skills, he also helps to provide in-depth competitor analysis, market research, and iterative user feedback so as to create a differentiated product that delivers and meets future market needs.

When asked about an achievement he is particularly proud of, he responded, “As a team, we delivered new features and new releases every three months for multiple product lines concurrently to keep our competitive edge. We also participated in pre-sales and tender activities, which helped to close important deals! Personally, the best part was being able to see our products being deployed and used by key customers ranging from small to large deployment across the island.” Seeing labor come to fruition never fails to be a fulfilling and rewarding experience, and Theodore’s career is no exception. To some, achieving this sense of satisfaction could seem far-fetched. Yet, we believe that with the right opportunities, ambitions can be transformed into reality. Be empowered to master your future.

Click here to find out more about Singtel’s Management Associate Program today!

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