I was unknowingly destined to study the best course.
Back in the 1990s, the most popular course in Philippines was computer engineering. When I was in primary and high school, I was really strong in math and science, so I always knew I wanted to be in technology, and I specifically wanted to be a computer engineer. I wanted to study at the Mapua Institute of Technology, but it was very difficult to get into computer engineering there and I ended up going for my second choice, which was industrial engineering. Luckily I was accepted. Without knowing it, industrial engineering was the best course for me, as it opened more opportunities for me to enhance my capabilities and showcase my abilities. I was really suited to this field of study and ultimately it helped me on my journey to IT.
While there are a lot of women interested in technology in the Philippines, during my time we were only around 10-20% at the Mapua Institute of Technology. The standards were very high, and every semester around 30-50% of the class would fail out of the course. For me, graduating as B.S.I.E. (Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering) was a great achievement.
Striving to provide a better life for my family
While I was at the Mapua Institute of Technology, my father died. It was a difficult time for me and my family as he was the main provider. My mother wanted me to stop studying and go to work to support them. But I was determined to finish my studies – I wanted to do more than just support my family, I wanted to provide for them for the long term. It was hard, but I knew I needed to step up and be strong. I was extremely motivated and wanted to give my family a better life. This has been my inspiration to this day.
Process engineering was my stepping stone
My first job out of university was at Bayan Telecommunications, Inc. (BayanTel) in the Philippines as an Inventory, Planning and Control analyst and Property Analyst. In 1998, IT was booming, and more and more people were becoming interested in IT. I knew I was also capable of succeeding in the Information and Technology field, so when I was at BayanTel in 1998 I decided to make the shift to process engineering. Here, I needed to understand the flow of the systems, coordinating both sides – business and development. I focused on developing a system out of business needs, ensuring that it was feasible. I know where my strengths lie – I’m really good at process analysis, so I knew I could succeed in IT, and process engineering was my stepping stone.
My next job was at Stradcom Corporation, a company offering IT services to government agencies such as the Land Transportation Office (LTO), where I worked on delivering IT services and transforming manual processes into an automated system. In 2000, I moved to Singapore to work for Singtel and NCS, taking my first steps towards fulfilling my dream to have a comfortable life and be financially stable. I was there for almost 19 years, working as a business analyst, systems analyst, migration and release manager, QA manager, service delivery manager, and fulfilling any role I was assigned.