A Day in the Life of a DSTA Intern
26 Apr 2022

Shane Chan

Name: Shane Chan Shun Jie
Job: Intern
Qualifications: Shane will be obtaining his Bachelor of Computing in Computer Science from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2022

8:30 AM

My mornings start off with a light breakfast. After the energy boost, I work on my internship project with DSTA’s Simulation and Training Systems Hub (STSH) – building a data analytics software to enhance a driving training simulation system. The software will enable Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) instructors to analyse training data and use these insights to improve training methods and provide more informed feedback for soldiers. I also have meetings with my mentor and team members to ensure my software development is on track, and review potential new features for the software.

10:30 AM

I’m coding new software features or improving existing ones. These are great opportunities to get hands-on experience and apply fundamentals learnt in school and through online research. On top of that, the DSTA internship provides valuable opportunities to gain exposure in various fields in the technology industry.

This is actually my second internship with DSTA. My first was with its Enterprise IT Programme Centre in 2020, where I had a lot of fun working on web development for a microsite. I learnt to apply design thinking and took part in the prototyping and user testing phases. I was also able to develop a working prototype using React JS. It was such a great experience that I applied for a second internship as I wanted to try my hand at tapping different technology areas, namely data analytics and information systems. My current internship at STSH has been equally exciting and eye-opening, knowing how the latest extended reality technologies are harnessed to transform SAF training capabilities and experience. I also developed a visualisation tool using Folium library in Python to aid instructors in deciding the best driving route to meet training objectives.

12:30 PM

When I’m in the office, I have lunch with my mentor, team members or other interns, where I gain insights into the professional work done in DSTA, as well as learn about the other interns’ projects and experiences. It’s quite cool to hear how DSTA contributes its expertise across different domains even beyond defence. When I’m working from home, I get to join exclusive online technology talks organised for staff who want more food for thought during lunch breaks.

1:30 PM

My afternoons are spent on developing and refining the data analytics software. If I run into issues, I can always consult my mentor and team members. They’re always happy to have impromptu discussions to guide me and ensure I still learn and grow along the way.

DSTA’s work in the digital realm is very much in line with the wider technology community, in that we strive to keep up with trends and leverage the latest technologies for the SAF. The vibrant and innovative culture, as well as a constant push for technological applications, mean that you get good exposure to various technical areas. That convinced me to apply for a full-time role in DSTA, and I managed to secure a job offer after my internship. During my first week back, I was glad to see familiar faces who helped me transit smoothly into my career. I’m excited to delve more into software engineering and product management work, where I would be working on various applications to support our country’s National Service.

6:00 PM

After wrapping up my work and penning down the next day’s agenda, I might head out for a gym session or a short run before dinner to recharge. At the end of each day, there is a sense of satisfaction knowing that my efforts, big and small, all contribute to shaping and enhancing Singapore’s defence.

This article was first published in GradSingapore’s Internship Guide. Read the full publication here.