Irwin Soo: Keep Learning, for Progress Waits for None

Not one who is content to stay status quo, Irwin Soo is both change and future ready, setting his sights on continuious learning and self-upgrading (Photo Source: NTUC This Week)

“I’m 39 now and have a good 20 years to work before even considering retirement. This time is neither long nor short and in this period, there will be technological changes. It is definitely necessary to keep on learning or risk becoming obsolete,” said Irwin Soo when asked about what keeps him so optimistic about learning.

As a system planning engineer for email systems, Irwin’s day-to-day responsibilities include managing network traffic and security patching. He often collaborates with colleagues from other departments to introduce improvements and new features to the email system he works with.

“You never know when new technology may replace the email system. It is a matured product that will definitely still be around for the next decade or two. But in terms of the service offerings for email systems, it is just like our phone SMS functions,” he said.

And having climbed through the ranks in his company, from technical support to operations and now solutions planning for his client’s email services, Irwin is well aware that tomorrow’s technology can make today’s necessity obsolete.

“I often think about what’s beyond the email system. Could there be a new version of it, or new capabilities that emails could offer? Otherwise, the knowledge I have now, and the incremental learning I could pick up is limited.”

Future Planning

Sharing his career aspirations, the father of two young children hopes to one day be able to lead a team, pick up supervisory experience and also share his knowledge.

In order to progress, Irwin said that he needs to go beyond being just competent in email systems. This will involve broadening his knowledge in the fields of analytics and security.

“Given my background, I would want to be able to further enhance the security aspect of the systems I work with. I am also keen on picking up skills on designing systems,” he said.

As for possible new pastures, Irwin revealed a latent interest in taking his skills into the healthcare sector, an area where his experience and skills in managing information systems can be used to strengthen the IT infrastructure there.

Staying Ahead

“Based on today’s environment, what I know is not enough to sustain myself, which is what I hope to continue to learn new skillsets and keep myself excited about this industry and give back to the workforce. As an ICT professional, we should also always be aware of new trends,” said Irwin.

Irwin shared that with the launch of the new TeSA Integrated Career Services programme and SkillsFuture Career Advisors programme, both tripartite efforts to help working folks in Singapore, ICT professionals will be able to get that crucial boost to pursue meaningful careers.

“The ICT sector has such a broad scope, and many people may be caught up in their day-to-day work and may not know when to transit in their careers or begin picking up a new skill.

“They may also not be aware of when to take stock of their careers, or be aware of what the market needs. Such programmes will be useful in providing the necessary information, support as well as help us professionals be part of the professional network,” he said.

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