The SCDF’s Data Analytics Specialist vocation offers a meaningful and enriching National Service that has set these two NSFs on tech-related career paths.
TEXT AND IMAGE: SCDF
Emergency Medical Technicians and Fire & Rescue Specialists are typical examples of vocations associated with full-time National Service (NS) in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
However, there are many other options in the Lifesaving Force — one of which is Data Analytics Specialist with the organisation’s Transformation & Future Technology Department (TFTD). Here, full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) are trained to assist in managing projects involving computing and data analysis.
LCP(NSF) Ian Tay Rongde (front) and LCP(NSF) Mahadhir Bin Mohd Ismail (back) working on their assignments in office.
DEDICATED TECH TEAM
LCP(NSF) Tay is part of a team working on an algorithm to support the SCDF’s Inventory Management System (IMS), which enables it to be more proactive and efficient in ensuring its lifesaving inventory is readily available.
“The IMS is an automated system that prompts officers in the Logistics Department that an item requires replenishment. The algorithm aims to reduce the chances of such shortages,” explains LCP(NSF) Tay, who has been working on the project since October 2020 — just four months into his posting at TFTD.
LCP(NSF) Tay adds that programming the algorithm to ensure the efficiency of the IMS requires weeks of academic research, system testing and evaluation.
OPTIMISING RESPONSE TIMES
Working on the Dynamic Resource Optimisation (DRO) is LCP(NSF) Mahadhir, who was posted to TFTD in January 2020. The DRO is a system developed by Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) and the Singapore Management University (SMU).
It aims to assist SCDF’s Operations Department and Emergency Medical Services Department (EMSD) in making strategic decisions to deploy emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, at different locations across Singapore. Doing so optimises the response times of ambulances to incident sites during an emergency.
“One recent simulation is for the EMS masterplan, which aims to increase the number of deployment locations across the island,” says LCP(NSF) Mahadhir. “The selection of the new deployment locations is based on historical data. Locations nearer to places with higher call loads will be given a higher priority — which means we will deploy more ambulances to that area.”
A VIABLE CAREER PATH
Before his posting to TFTD, LCP(NSF) Mahadhir was still exploring career options. It was during his stint with TFTD that he developed a keen interest in computer science. He is now planning to pursue a degree in computer science after serving his full-time National Service.
“Engineering is gearing towards the use of automated systems and big-data analysis. Python and Excel are vital software skills to have if you want to pursue a career in Engineering or Computer Science. The skills and knowledge we gain here in TFTD help us to think like data scientists, and prepare us well for future pursuits in our studies and career,” says LCP(NSF) Tay.
LCP(NSF) Tay has received a scholarship to pursue a degree in material engineering at the National University of Singapore and plans to subsequently do his master’s degree in data analytics. He adds that serving his NS in TFTD is not only meaningful and enriching but also provides him and his fellow NSFs an added advantage for their future endeavours.