“When I was growing up, both my parents worked at Singtel, so I was introduced to the world of tech very early on. At the age of nine, I was thankful to be a beta tester of Teleview, a service by Singtel that gave me Internet connection and access to educational information.

And while my friends spent their holidays playing with the Super Soaker at the void deck, my mom enrolled me in HTML JavaScript courses. From then on, I was always intrigued by the magic of technology and what it could do.

I didn’t know I’d have a career in creative tech back then. What I did know was that learning how to piece words and logic together through coding made me want to work in an industry where I could create things.

That’s why I enrolled in an art school and majored in design communication. It allowed me to explore my creativity through many different mediums and learn how to turn my ideas into things that were actually interesting and worthwhile.

Unfortunately, when I graduated with my degree in 2007, it was the peak of the financial crisis. Ad agencies were not hiring people with a creative tech background because TVCs and print ads were still king at the time.

I knew how much money my parents had to fork out for my unconventional education, and waiting for the economy to get better wasn’t an option, so I took up random production jobs to earn some money on a freelance basis.

Those jobs involved everything from washing studio toilets to buying breakfast for the production crew at 3am before a shoot. I never told my parents the truth of what I did because I didn’t want to disappoint them.

But I made the best of the situation, and through networking, I caught a lucky break to work at the ad agency of my dreams. It was the position of a PA to the regional operations director, and I took it up hoping to prove what I could do as a creative tech person.

After about a year, I was promoted to digital producer and eventually product manager. Today, I’m the Head of Creative Technology whose mission is to not only help companies sell their products, but to also solve problems and make an actual difference with technology.

When I became a creative tech person, I also made it my mission to help out other young female creatives to get to where they want to be without having to hustle as long as I did.

There weren’t many career role models for me to look up to when I was starting out, but I believe that the more I talk about it, the more I can help unlock the passion for tech in other women and push them to get to where they want to be in their careers.” – Dillah, 32



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Arman Shah

A former travel writer with fond memories of solo adventures in Southeast Asia, Arman is now Founder of The Everyday People. He's also the co-host of Channel Empathy, a podcast about the marginalised in Singapore.