App for tertiary students to plan ahead

K. JANARTHANAN

This fresh university graduate has just started working, and with her IT smarts, has already designed the prototype of an app to help others make the right career choice.

Ms Keerthana Janmugam, 22, used the skills in coding and business analytics that she learnt at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to make PlanAhead. It is the prototype of an application to provide career and education guidance to tertiary students.

She created the prototype with a team of schoolmates as part of their final year project last year.

PlanAhead has tools for users to identify their personality types and the jobs which would suit them.

It compares the available pathways for a student in several areas such as job prospects, duration and starting salary in selected fields like nursing and accounting.

"Students can create and compare between multiple career pathways to allow for more informed decisions," said Ms Keerthana.

"PlanAhead also contains testimonies from various industries to allow students to gain more insights. Students can also share their recommendations on various social media platforms."

She believes her app will be able to support the Ministry of Education's recent initiative to ramp up career guidance. "Before consulting others, students may want the personal space and time to weigh the options ahead of them, which this app will be able to provide," she said.

Ms Keerthana is happy that she can make a difference in society because of the IT skills she acquired from SUTD's engineering systems and design programme.

Despite her interest in biomedical science, she decided to pursue business analytics. "I concluded that pursuing this path would give me a wide range of career options," she said.

She overcame her initial hurdles by enrolling for an introductory course in coding at a private school.

"Some of my male peers had a head start from using their National Service period to learn coding," she said. "If I had not done something to catch up, I would have been left behind," she said, adding that she used the Infocomm Media Development Authority's CITREP+ funding to subsidise her course fees.

During her undergraduate studies, she also bagged the prestigious James Dyson award with her teammates for designing Wheelson, an intuitive bicycle attachment that improves cyclists' safety while they are carrying heavy loads, especially groceries.

After a job search that started in the second semester of her final year last year, Ms Keerthana landed a business analyst position with a global professional services company a few months ago. "Initially, it was difficult to secure a job during this Covid-19 pandemic," she said. "But I continued trying by working on my resume, taking to LinkedIn, speaking with my network to nail down new interview opportunities and applying for SG traineeship roles."

The Young Women's Leadership Connection's 'Pay It Forward' mentorship programme was especially beneficial to her, providing guidance and encouragement to pursue various paths.

"I want to be a better daughter to my parents and a good friend to my loved ones. With this attitude and determination, I'm sure I will be able to overcome the current economic turbulence," she said.

 janark@sph.com.sg

 
 
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