Presented at Singapore Polytechnic
How i became an Engineer!
Singapore Polytechnic, 17 Nov 2016
Digital Technologies Team
My Origin Story…
• Got interested in computers & Internet when i was in National
• Studied History and Political Science in NUS (1998-2001)
• Taught myself web design
• Worked part time as a web designer (HTML, CSS)
• Co-workers were IT graduates from Temasek Polytechnic (3 girls)
• They taught me programming in Cold Fusion
• Picked up PHP in 2001 on my own
• Client only had Linux server (not Windows)
• Ran my own web hosting business after university
• Joined a digital agency in 2006 (Comwerks Interactive)
• Started the Singapore PHP User Group in 2006
• Organised the ﬁrst PHP Conference Asia in 2015
• Worked in startups: Foound (2010) and mig33 (2012)
• Worked as a Software Engineer / Consultant:
• Neo Innovation Inc. in March 2014
• Pivotal Labs in Feb 2016
• Singapore Power (Digital Technologies) in Aug 2016
• Co-founded iOS Dev Scout in 2012
• Started Engineers.SG in 2013
• Created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf as a collection of CGI scripts
written in C
• In 1997, Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski of Tel Aviv, Israel started a
complete rewrite of the parser - ﬁrst steps to becoming a real
• Released PHP 3 in 1998 - Changed meaning to “PHP: Hypertext
• Currently version PHP 7.1
Michael Cheng with Rasmus Lerdorf
With Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress
PHP Job Prospects
• Full stack / website development
• Digital agencies - building microsites for brands / marketing
• CMS - WordPress, Drupal
• Average salary:
• Entry level: ~$2000+
• Intermediate to Senior: $3,500 - $5,000
What you should focus on?
• Be curious, ask questions, ﬁnd out how things work
• Learn about Web Technologies (PHP is a good starting point)
• Learn about Mobile App Development (iOS, Android)
• Learn other programming languages
• Develop a product mindset
“Hmm one think I will wish I knew
is Java is a very important
language to learn OOP concepts!
So put effort in it!
I used to think Java is crap in Poly,
but then I realised the beneﬁt of
OOP and how Java does it in Uni/
work and realised it is important!”
Singapore Polytechnic (2001 - 2004)
Head of Engineering at Tech In Asia
“I think attending conferences +
meetups like PHP ones had
helped me understand tech a lot
more. Also, taking interests in
building useful projects can help
spur greater interests in what we
do. When we see projects
getting used, it reinforces our
Sam Mauris Yong
Ngee Ann Poly (2009 - 2011)
Undergraduate at NUS School of Computing
Why grow as an engineer?
• Better understanding of how products are build
• More experience, can give better advice to business owner
• Understand limitations & improve your BS detector
• Be able to recommend better user experiences
Join the tech community
Curated list of FREE
community events and
open source projects
Tech Ladies Tech Talks
React JS Meetup
Talk.JS + Talk.CSS
Too many tech events!
Engineers.SG is a
initiative created to help
document the Singapore
tech and startup scene.
•19k page views / month
•19 conferences recorded
We need volunteers!
Training on 19 Nov 2016 at HackerspaceSG
How about *real* tech conferences?
So what if i just want to be social?
PHPConf.Asia After Party
WordCamp Singapore After Party
How about women groups?
• Singapore Geek Girls is a local
initiative for females to connect,
share, contribute, mentor and
learn from each other.
• We want to empower the next
generation of women in
technology through fun, informal
and interactive activities.
CodingGirls is a Singapore
organization to empower
more girls to code and
achieve their ambitions in
the technology world.
Tech Ladies Tech Talks
Team Engineers.SG Tech Ladies
Go be an engineer