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6 minute read

Managing Career Change and Personal Woes Can Be Hard, But This Singaporean Did It!

If anyone knows the challenges of change, it’s Noor Hashim. Find out how he reskilled and pivoted his career despite enduring entrepreneurship ups and downs, and his wife passing away from cancer.

While it’s always important to have supportive friends and family in tough personal and career challenges, it can sometimes feel hollow to hear platitudes like: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

The trouble is, lemons can be really sour, and they can also sour your perspective and energy towards getting out of your rut.

Thankfully for Noor Hashim, his refusal to let change and life’s lemons keep him down allowed this 50-year-old Singaporean to reshape his own career story. Hashim was even lauded by Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng in Parliament during the Committee of Supply 2023 for his efforts at reskilling, training and development.

Workipedia by MyCareersFuture spoke to Hashim, and he shared his inspiring career and personal journey with us below.

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You were previously an independent systems security auditor with a local security auditor company. Why did you leave that role, and what got you interested in signing up for a six-month course under the SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme?

Hashim: I actually had an opportunity in 2008 to start my own business doing CCTV and security systems integration.

Three years later, I sold my share in the company and then moved on to build a food and beverage pizza franchise in Malaysia and Brunei. I eventually had to sell and close that business in 2016 when my late wife was diagnosed with cancer, to focus on helping her deal the illness and hopefully recover.

However, she passed on in October 2018.

During the extended “sabbatical leave” while she was ill, and after she passed on, I was working as a freelance security system auditor, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, I realised I should make full use of the opportunities given by the government to go for retraining for the next stage of my career.

Equipped with your new tech skills, you applied for the SGUP Programme on the MyCareersFuture website in September 2022.  You landed an attachment as an IT Cloud & Infrastructure Specialist with the host organisation, Swiz Technologies. Can you share how that all went for you?

After my reskilling and upskilling, there were a number of job offers, but I eventually decided to join Swiz after seeing the passion of their director and owners.

They’re great people to start with, but the transition was certainly not smooth sailing, as the learning curves were rather steep.

Personally, the challenge was about relearning how to multitask for this job, and I found it mentally challenging to juggle the various tasks on hand initially, especially with new standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Fortunately, I was well guided by the company directors, and their patience helped, even though some of the older practices I had done in my previous tech roles were no longer relevant, which is why I needed to reskill and upskill.

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So what do you do now at Swiz, and how does that relate to the SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme?

My official job title is Cloud and Infrastructure Specialist. My main job is to ensure that the data centre (where we host our client’s data, IT platforms and backups etc.) is always running 24/7, and that its network infrastructure is always secure from external threats, such as hackers, infiltrators, and malware.

At the same time, I also need to ensure that our current resources are always patched with the latest updates and firmware from vulnerabilities that might jeopardise the data centre.

At Swiz, we have various SOPs and guidelines, with checklists and policies in place, to ensure I am able to carry out my job as required. Of course, there’s also automation in place to make my work easier if there are critical alerts or warnings, which are pushed in real-time to my handphone, tablets and laptop.

It’s safe to say that all the recent reskilling and upskilling courses I’ve taken do help in my current capacity.

Lastly, do you have any advice for those looking to upskill and reskill for their careers? How would you suggest they manage the mental aspect of things?

Firstly, one must have a passion for knowledge. It will not be easy, but it’s not impossible either. My advice: go for courses that you really have an interest in, then it will be much easier to absorb new learnings.

These days, many classes or courses are conducted online and are convenient to attend! You just need to find time and make some effort to choose the right courses relevant to your planned career goals and path. It’s not easy, I must admit, but it’s definitely doable.

Just need to be calm, composed and focused on the objective of what eventually you hope to do after your reskilling and upskilling.

For older workers, learn to work with younger colleagues or bosses.

At my age, my ego definitely needed to be placed aside when my objective was to learn new things.

Find common ground to work with your younger colleagues, and ways to be a team player. Use your own spare time to do research on the web, like YouTube and forums, for the latest career industry updates and information. Do your own research first before you ask questions. This will give them an indication of your willingness to learn and be part of their team.

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