"For technology to be useful and adopted these days, it requires a good understanding of the end-to-end
user journey," Ms Ngiam said. "Women have an uncanny way of understanding the user's perspectives and in
designing a user-centric product. So we need a good mix of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering
Ms Ngiam believes that it is the responsibility of Singapore's STEM community and female STEM professionals
to encourage more women to join them in the tech sector.
"In my years in DSTA, I have seen many outstanding ladies working in technology. The mindset that females
are less capable than men in the field of technology is a stereotypical myth," she said. "It is quite an
archaic mindset to think technology is a domain that women should avoid."
She added that it would be disappointing to allow this myth to take root, preventing capable women from
entering the tech sector. "We need to eliminate this myth and inspire more ladies to take up STEM," she
said. "Women will do just as well as men in technology. All we need to do is make the first difficult step."
"Women have an uncanny way of understanding the user's perspectives and in designing a
MS NGIAM LE NA,
deputy chief executive (Operations), Defence Science and Technology
CHARTING A NEW ROLE IN TECH
Losing her first chief technology officer (CTO) was a pivotal moment for Ms Charmain Tan, who does not have
a technical background.
"I had to learn the various types of technical architecture, and it was a really steep learning curve," she
recounted. Ms Tan is the founder of QuickDesk, which empowers businesses to drive sales productivity through
a blend of education and technology. It offers companies the digital tools needed to drive sales
While she eventually brought in a new CTO, Ms Tan is grateful for the challenging four months she managed a
tech agency to develop the product further in 2015. "It taught me what it really means to build software."
She started her first successful business at the age of 21 by creating winter touchscreen gloves for people
to use their smartphones in the cold. Ms Tan then decided to make a deeper foray into the tech sector,
knowing it was an area where she could innovate, solve problems and scale a business globally without the
need to manage inventories.
"As a STEM professional, you will never stop learning because you can never (afford to)
stop learning. Enjoy the process."
MS CHARMAIN TAN,
chief executive officer, Quickdesk