Nurturing UX design and digital product management skills for career advancement


Tan Liyan

Product Specialist at Ascentis Private Limited
Completed SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme in UX Design and Digital Product Management

Please share with us your professional life’s journey and at which point in your career did you aspire to pursue this programme?

I currently work as a Product Specialist, and my venture into software product management commenced five years ago. In this span, I have been exposed to the Agile methodology, contributed to the development of globally deployed enterprise products, and engaged in fruitful collaborations with cross-functional teams to deliver successful solutions. My motivation to further my knowledge in this field stems from its relevance across various aspects of my role, including working with development teams, consulting with customers, enhancing user experiences, and implementing system interfaces.

What attracted you to your chosen programme at PaCE@NTU?

I sought out a course to complement my experience in product management, for which UI/UX knowledge is becoming increasingly important. Understanding user experience and interfaces is pivotal in ensuring a product's success. NTU's strong emphasis on technological courses added to its appeal. The programme's duration was well-suited to my needs, instilling confidence that I could effectively balance it with my full-time job. Moreover, with the grants, the course fees fell within my budget, making it a cost-effective choice that offered excellent value.

Describe the factors that led you to choose PaCE@NTU.

Several factors influenced my decision. Firstly, the quality of the educational course provider was paramount. I chose NTU due to its global reputation for excellence in education. The duration of the course played a pivotal role in my choice. I was mindful of the challenge of managing both full-time work and studying simultaneously. The programme I selected struck the right balance. Cost was another consideration, though it became less of a concern with the availability of grants.

What were the challenges you faced when trying to complete this programme?

The primary challenge I encounter is effective time management as I navigate the demands of my job alongside this programme. Fortunately, I have the support of both my employer and the accommodating trainer, as well as the understanding of my fellow course mates. This collective support has enabled me to successfully manage these competing commitments. I deeply appreciate the trainers’ willingness to assist me in catching up on missed lessons during particularly challenging periods. Another hurdle I face involves coordinating schedules with course mates for group project collaboration. I understand that this is a shared experience for those balancing part-time studies with full-time employment.

Which aspect of this programme did you like the most?

I appreciated the balance between theoretical coursework and hands-on projects. The opportunity to apply what was taught enhanced my learning experience, as I thrive in a hands-on learning environment. In the realm of UI/UX, proficiency is cultivated through practice. Collaborative group work and individual tasks also foster exposure to fresh perspectives, encouraging the development of innovative solutions that may not have emerged in isolation. For instance, learning to conduct effective user interviews cannot be gained merely from notes or theory but from practice and application, either in actual real-life situations or through class role play.

How have you benefited from the career services and support provided to you through our programme?

I was pleasantly surprised by the comprehensive nature of the career services and support I received. Initially, I believed their primary role was to assist with job placement. However, after engaging with a career consultant, I discovered that they also offer valuable career counselling. During a one-on-one meeting with the consultant, I had the opportunity to discuss both my career development goals and the challenges I was facing in my current role. The guidance and assistance I received were invaluable, enabling me to gain external insights into how to more effectively pursue my career objectives. I have already started implementing these insights in my current role, with the aim of transitioning into the role of a Product Manager.

How did you apply what you've learnt from this programme?

I actively engage with customers, working on configurations as part of my job responsibilities. From this programme, I learnt to prioritise their feedback, and provide necessary support to ensure they can efficiently utilise our CRM product for their sales campaigns and promotions. Additionally, I learnt the importance of getting user feedback, and I consistently seek feedback from our customers regarding their challenges when using our products.

I take the initiative to document the step-by-step processes involved in using our CRM product and conduct training for our clients. This empowers them to independently create campaigns, fostering a sense of self-sufficiency.

Will you recommend PaCE@NTU’s programmes to your friends and family?

I wholeheartedly endorse PaCE@NTU's programmes. The programme I attended was expertly conducted by experienced trainers, and the administrative aspect was efficiently managed. NTU's longstanding reputation as an education provider was evident throughout. With their extensive array of programmes, particularly the short courses, they cater to the pressing needs of working adults, making them highly beneficial for professional development. Moreover, most courses come with government grants, making them cost-effective.

Do you think lifelong learning is important? Please share your thoughts about it.

I take it upon myself to shoulder the responsibility of lifelong learning, believing that it shouldn't rely solely on my employer or the government. Working in the Information Technology sector, where advancements occur rapidly, continuous learning serves as the most reliable insurance policy against outdated or irrelevant skills. For instance, every IT professional must be acquainted with the latest developments in AI, blockchain, cryptocurrency, as well as new product and project management skills. Assuming responsibility for my ongoing education empowers me to stay aligned with my chosen career path.