For Josephine Ang, working from home has been her everyday normal for the past 20 years. The 57-year-old businesswoman and mother-of-one has been overseeing her own businesses while homeschooling her son since the year 2000.
Highly adaptable, resilient, and driven by a profound desire for lifelong learning, Josephine’s savviness meant that she was never going to allow herself to be left behind in a world where digital transformation occurs rapidly.
Self-Initiated Online Learning
Despite being in her 50s, Josephine is probably more familiar with Google than the average millennial as she works as an Internet Assessor, combing through search engine results daily to provide useful feedback on improving user experience. On the side, she also handles accounting data entry and coaches staff on cloud accounting packages like Xero while assisting a business owner with book-keeping and accounting.
Her journey of lifelong learning dates back to 2000 when she sold off her offline IT consultation business upon the birth of her son. It was around that time when Bill Gates famously predicted the future of digitalisation with the quote, “In the 21st Century, there will be only two types of businesses, those online and those out-of-business”.
Anticipating a change in how businesses will have to adapt to the onset of the Information Age, Josephine’s forward-thinking propelled her to set up her first E-commerce business selling certified organic skincare products.
When asked about the digital skills that she picked up on her own in order to start her E-commerce business, Josephine said, “The learning process was interesting to me because everything was brand new at that time. I had to learn how to register a website domain and set up my page through a hosting platform, and I even had to learn web designing with Microsoft FrontPage (a discontinued HTML editor and website administration tool) as back then, we didn’t have the luxury of products like WordPress.”
She said about the rapid rate of digitalisation, “In the field of technology, everything is always changing. You can never stop at learning one product.”
Learning From Others
After dipping her toes in the digital world with the launch of her E-commerce business, Josephine felt the need to continuously improve herself in order to keep up with the incoming waves of digital transformation and to stay competent in the workforce, even while working from home.
Since the introduction of the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) scheme in 2005 and SkillsFuture in 2015, she has taken more than 10 SkillsFuture-supported and WSQ courses combined.
She applied and completed her first Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Specialist Diploma in Interactive Media (Business Management) in 2013, and subsequently obtained the WSQ Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment (ACTA) (now known as WSQ Advanced Certificate in Learning and Performance (ACLP)). She also attends short courses from MySkillsFuture to enhance her knowledge of brand storytelling and content marketing, such as a Script Writing Course, which expanded her repertoire of digital skills.
Comparing self-initiated online learning to attending offline courses developed and delivered by industry experts, Josephine notes, “The disadvantage of learning on your own is that it’s limited, and you lack the exposure to industry knowledge that is immediately applicable to the workforce.”
She adds that her experience with offline courses have been particularly meaningful and memorable especially due to the aspect of learning from others. “As the duration of offline courses can range from four to six months, you can really interact and learn a lot from your course mates during the process,” she said.
Planning Ahead With Robotics
Priding herself as a lifelong learner, Josephine is already preparing herself for a future powered by robotics and automation. She has her eye set on picking up robotics as her next SkillsFuture course.
Expounding on her interest in robotics, Josephine said, “I believe that learning robotics can help me to automate my daily administrative tasks for my current roles and greatly enhance my day-to-day productivity.”
This story was first published on MySkillsFuture portal on 20 Aug 2020. All information is correct at time of publishing.