Monday, December 31, 2012

The MetroDBITan student series : Issue #014 - Kingsley Boey

Hi DBIT peeps!

Today, we travel 10,850 km away from Singapore to say hi to a DBIT alumni whom we are really proud of!

Where is this place that is  10,850 km away? 

Well, I will give you a clue first to guess before revealing the answer -- it’s the same place that 16 of our DBIT Year 2 students went to in Oct 2012.


Did you guess “London, United Kingdom”? If you did, you are absolutely correct! :)

A DBIT alumni all the way in United Kingdom?  Yes!  Many of our DBIT graduates go far, and not only do many of them secure places at popular courses such as the Business and IT courses in local universities like NUS, NTU and SMU,  quite a few of them do well enough to pursue their studies overseas, at renowned universities no less!


Kingsley Boey
, our 2007 graduate is one of  such of our outstanding DBIT students!  Kingsley is currently in his third year of undergraduate studies at the prestigious University College London (UCL) pursuing  the Degree of (BSc Computer Science).

Let’s have a little chat with him to find out more!

Kingsley,  why did you think of pursuing a degree overseas and at UCL, UK?

To be honest, I have never thought of pursuing a degree overseas.  When I was in SP, my goal was very simple, to get into NUS. From there I broke down the different means to achieve that. 

Indeed after graduation, I got accepted into NUS to read Computer Science. However, opportunity came along. 

I saw the SAF was offering scholarships to study overseas (before I was enlisted). I went on to research on the various universities overseas as well as life abroad.  Eventually I decided on it. So Plan A became Plan B.  Plan A was to get the scholarship. Of course again, I made plans on the journey to get the scholarships based on the requirements.

Kingsley was awarded an SAF Scholarship to read Computer Science in UCL.
Beside him is our current Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Chan Chun Sing

Reasons for going abroad

Back to the question, I would first highlight a few reasons for going abroad. Let’s face it, you have to peer over the horizon to really know your true potential.  I figured that staying in my comfort zone would limit my horizon. To each his own. To some, staying in the comfort zone is the ideal environment to better his/her self. You have to think deep for yourself what you really are.

Up to that point, I spent my entire education in Singapore. I wanted to seize the opportunity to experience a different system. How do you make comparison if you have only experienced one? Things can go both ends of the spectrum. I could possibly be unable to fit into the system or I could indulge myself in this new experience. Weighed the factors, and took the leap of faith. For I believed my education thus far, especially what I picked up in SP, would prepare me for the challenges ahead.

Can you tell us more about the programme you are studying now?   

I am currently reading BSc Computer Science. It is a 3-year course (direct honors) . There is also the MSc version (4 years, direct Masters)

This course emphasizes a lot on independent learning.  Therefore, you would often see the coursework (projects) different from the content of the modules. This is intentionally as it encourages reading of material outside the scope.

Unlike in SP, in UCL, the weightage of such coursework are not worth a lot (10-15%). The main grading is still focused on the exams.

To sum up my first year, it was pretty much everything I learned in SP, plus a bit. I learned Java in SP. Once you mastered a language, it is easy to pick up another programming language. That was why I had a rather comfortable time in my first year.

However in year 2, the jump was significant. Programming is a given. The focus shifted from fundamentals to studying of the codes. For instance, computational complexity, operating system, compiler, computer architecture and math. A lot of math. To be exact, discrete math. These are rather dry but understanding them, you would look at the computers in this world differently. Technically, given the resources and time, after the second year, you can build a computer from scratch. By scratch I mean the building the OS yourself.

Currently I am in my 3rd year. The third year prepares the student for the real thing. Work. A couple of the modules are similar to what I learned in SP, DBIT. The business management aspects I learned came in handy as the half of the modules focus on management. Whereas the other far went deeper into the theory of computer. There is also a final year, both group and individual. The individual one is particularly interesting as you can select the project from a wide range of varieties. I am currently focusing on iOS development.

Tell us about your life in UK, i.e. how you typically spend time in campus, outside studies, and some of your feelings.  Your favourite places in UK etc

Where the heart is

We have a very strong Singaporean Society in London.  The society usually organises events such as Christmas party, Chinese New Year Steamboat Dinner etc.  These are what bring "home" to London for us.

School hours are pretty short (surprisingly) but of course, the research takes up a bulk of the time. I usually try to do all the required work on weekdays so as to free up my weekends for leisure. For a typical day, I would spend 3 hours in school for lectures and addition 3 hours on my own time for research or lab time.

My first year was rather tough to be honest. That was because of the long break I had from studying. I was rather rusty and everything was “new” to me. Luckily I had my notes from SP and they helped me greatly to get back on momentum.

Any tips for students who intend to study overseas / UK or at UCL?

Research. Do extensive research. You need to know what is installed for you. More importantly, what you really want.  Also, study the country you are going to, know the culture, know the way of life so as to have an easily time fitting in rather than getting a culture shocked.

You miss Singapore right? What do you miss about it?

Singapore FOOD. Chinese food here can never be as authentic as the ones back home! Of course, I miss my family and my friends. Well, with technology advancement nowadays, it made things a lot easier. Reality is, being a way for so long, made me realized how much I took Singapore for granted.

Share us some memories of your life in SP when you were in DBIT.
What I miss the most in SP was the lecturers. The lecturers were always there to ensure we learn. They are approachable and caring. Things are not so much the same here as you are on your own.

What do you like about the DBIT course? What do you think should be improved in the DBIT course.

What I like about DBIT is the exposure we get. Of course we end up being a jack of all trades but master of none. However, we can always focus on what we really like and continue from there. 

To be honest, DBIT really prepares the students for the world. The exposure allows us to be able to be utilized in many areas rather than just than just than just a specific set of skills.

I am not exaggerating. Who I am today, a big part goes to SP for grooming me and giving me the opportunities.

Some encouraging words or advice for juniors who are in the DBIT course now, or aspiring secondary students who are interested to pursue a business or IT related course.

Please take time to really think about what you want in life.

  • Set goals and make plans to achieve them.
  • On top of that, be flexible with your plans. The sails are never meant to be smooth. When you encounter  problems, make it a point to fix them rather than avoid them.
  • Take breaks for they are meant for us to be prepared for the journey ahead.
Whatever you can dream, you can also accomplish.

More photos of Kingsley and his life in UK / Singapore!

Kingsley shows off his sporty side and his bulging muscles ;)

At King's Cross Station, and the famous Harry Potter Platform 9¾

Award winners like him posing with the Minister of Defence

Kingsley with his RSAF comrades during training!

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