A Day in the Life of a DSTA Intern

30 Apr 2023

Qian Yu-Thumbnail

Name: Kum Wing Ho
Job: Intern
Qualifications: Wing Ho will be obtaining his Bachelor of Engineering in Computing Engineering from the National University of Singapore in 2024


I start my days with an early commute to office. Upon arriving, I check my email for any updates before diving into my internship project with DSTA’s C3 Development Programme Centre, where DSTA develops smart systems that serve as nerve centres for many military platforms.

I’m currently developing a computer vision software and system for autonomous systems which could enable the Singapore Armed Forces to identify and neutralise errant drones flying into the airspaces of military bases. Leveraging artificial intelligence, the software can potentially help to locate drones via objection detection technology and real-time object tracking, as well as allow the system to take down errant drones.


I meet up with my mentor and teammates to discuss the project’s progression and review any new features for potential development. We also update one another on the individual components we’re working on to ensure that everything integrates together smoothly. These discussions are thought-provoking because my mentor often asks challenging questions that reframe my perspective.

After the meetings, I’m either coding new software features or improving existing ones. Whether it’s fine-tuning an algorithm or exploring emerging technologies to uncover new possibilities, I’m always working towards delivering products that are good, useful, and meet all requirements. To achieve this, I sometimes travel outfield to test and observe how the new features play out in real-life scenarios. These trips are essential as they often yield unexpected results that help me adjust and refine my work. It’s interesting to see how the coding fundamentals and other theoretical knowledge I’ve learnt in school actually work in the real world.


Lunch is a great time to catch up with my teammates, and we usually eat together at DSTA’s cafeteria or a food centre nearby. As everyone comes from different disciplines, I’m able to gain interesting insights from everyone’s experiences and perspectives. Occasionally, I also grab coffee with my fellow interns from other departments. It’s interesting to learn about their projects, and how their work plays a part in Singapore’s defence.


DSTA places great emphasis on staff development, and this sentiment extends to interns as well. My afternoons vary as I get to work with a variety of different technologies such as control systems and real-time computer vision tracking software, which allows me to build up my tech expertise in various domains. While it can be overwhelming with so much to pick up, I know that my teammates are always there to guide me in resolving any issues I encounter. It’s reassuring to know that they are generous with their experience and knowledge, and are always willing to help me learn and grow. Beyond learning on the job, I’ve also attended specially curated workshops, including an exclusive tech sharing where DSTA engineers talked about the best coding practices in IT. I’ve also been able to engage with DSTA’s senior management and find out more about DSTA and how my work contributes to Singapore’s defence.


After work, I head to the office gym for a quick workout or travel to campus for my evening classes. There’s a great sense of achievement knowing that my internship has brought me new skills and knowledge, while making me a part of Singapore’s defence ecosystem!

This article was first published in gradsingapore.com. Read the publication here.