Expanding the horizons in Tech with STACS’ Blockchain Engineer Intern, Loh Yih Hang
At STACS, we believe in equal opportunities for everyone across different departments. Through every employee’s learning experience, we encourage ownership, regardless of projects and roles.
Putting the spotlight on our Blockchain Engineer Intern, meet Loh Yih Hang, who shares his story on how he rides on the digital waves to upskill himself for his future tech career that propels a sustainable future, and the invaluable advice for fellow budding engineers.
Learning more about our Blockchain Engineer Intern
We asked Yih Hang to share more on some of the projects that he has undertaken thus far as a Blockchain Engineer Intern, his career aspirations, and a few pro-tips for his fellow peers…
Adopting a forward-thinking mindset from the Engineering team in the Tech space
Q: What are some of the biggest takeaways from STACS, or specifically from the Engineering team?
A: That would be to “do it once and do it right.”
With STACS growing at a fast pace, it is easy to succumb to the idea of “building fast and shipping products out”. This means if we had to backtrack, or restart on the tasks, so be it. The culture of the Engineering team is to keep the idea of scalability and maintainability in mind from the very start, to ensure minimal troubleshooting. Even if this comes at a cost of taking more resources and slower development, a forward-thinking mindset results in lower tech-debt.
Q: Share with us the biggest project you have taken on during your stint.
A: The biggest project I have worked on so far is upgrading our old blockchain to a newer version. Given the task to research our required features along with set-up, I had to explore and tinker on the configuration. On top of that, I had to also consider aspects from choosing the consensus algorithm, to understanding how many nodes are required in the process.
In tackling some of the challenges presented, we had to rely heavily on online resources. Thankfully, we found a Discord community for blockchain developers that allowed us to connect with them and work together to solve these problems.
One of the projects include sending Ethereum transactions to this new blockchain that I have set up. Deciding on Web3J, a Java library to handle Ethereum transactions, I must be familiar. I then worked together with the team closely (the experts on Java) to not only use this library, but also turn it into a Software Development Kit (SDK) the team could use.
Placed to be in-charge of sharing my findings and recommendations with the Engineering team, there is a certain level of pressure as I was supposed to be the SME (Subject Matter Expert) and had to address any questions that my team members posed. Undeniably, this pushed me to grow beyond my comfort zone.
This was the largest project that I had to take on. From conducting preliminary research, writing code while debugging any problems that popped up, to sharing my knowledge and fielding any questions that my teammates had, I had the opportunity to dive deep into a particular topic and be the SME. Along the way, I made new discoveries and had to make some tough decisions, and this gave me a deep sense of ownership and responsibility — something I appreciate very much.
Q: What are some of the skills you have developed professionally and personally?
A: I have learnt so much on how the entirety of blockchain works, its consensus mechanisms, fault tolerance, etc. Most importantly, I have had the chance to explore the entire process of running my own local blockchain, writing and compiling my smart contracts via Truffle, and deploying this to the chain via Web3J.
Despite STACS being my first internship, I have gained invaluable experience of working with other engineers in a professional environment and grown a lot from their advice, taking responsibility and treating every challenge it as a learning tool.
Innovating with STACS
Q: What is it like to Innovate with STACS?
A: While most of the innovating come from translating client requirements into technical plans — which I am not involved in — my definition of innovation with STACS is to constantly be curious. My team lead (S/O to Niveetha) witnessed it first-hand. :p I am thankful that she is always supportive and ensuring that my questions are answered and that I understood and interpreted the clients’ requests accurately. We bounced off ideas through the Q&A process, and I have to say it is refreshing to think that my curiosity resulted in the products!
Q: STACS culture in three words?
A: Welcoming, Diverse, Autonomous
Technology — a force for good and green
Q: How has technology been a force for good in your life?
A: Technology has seen its rewards, especially in terms of convenience.
The iPhone was launched by Apple in 2007 and since then, modern technology has grown and revolutionized the world tremendously. The Internet has brought the world together, accelerated globalization, and enabled communication from all spheres.
One of the biggest changes that has impacted me is the rise of e-payment methods. From having to carry cash around back in school, to just needing my phone to go about my daily life today, I can use PayNow or other e-payments in-lieu of physical currency. The rise of technological disruption through sectors like food-delivery services or taxi services has also radically changed the business landscape in the world today and will continue doing so, just like how STACS is doing so. Yet, it is also good to remain acutely aware of the effects that relying heavily on technology can bring about, leaving marginalised groups with little access to technology behind.
Q: What fuelled your passion and interest in the Tech space?
A: A programming course back in secondary school has exposed me to learning how to design unique solutions that solve problems, and that was something of interest to me. The diversity of specialisations in this field attracted me even more, especially with the opportunity of taking up many projects — from blockchain research and development to more traditional Spring Boot API development. Being part of a team that revolutionizes traditional finance in driving a greener future is the reason that keeps me grounded to do good and be green with my skills.
Q: What motivates you?
A: The main thing that keeps me going is finding purpose in what I do with the people I count to be supportive — be it in personally or professionally. Having a clear objective of the things I want to achieve, keeps me going during the hardest of days.
Big dreams serving great purpose
Q: What are some of the beliefs you held that moulded you?
A: There are 3 main beliefs I hold, mould me into the person I am today.
1) Giving it my best. Often, I might find myself in certain situations to oblige and fulfil a certain responsibility. It is easy to go in with the mindset to just giving the bare minimum and getting it done. But that always gives me little to no fulfilment. And that is why I subscribe to the mentality of committing 100% and giving it my all to make a positive change.
2) Living life with no regrets. Whenever I am faced with a decision to make, I try to make the one that I am happy with, or at the very least, think I will regret the least. I have lately kept myself accountable and get used to being committed and steadfast.
3) Be grateful for the littlest things. I personally find it helpful to recognise something I can be grateful for — be it having nice family dinners or something as simple as getting the time to hang out with my friends.
Q: What are some of your aspirations in life that you would love to see fulfilled?
A: The first aspiration of my life is to be able to make a positive difference in the world using tech. I would like to work on a tech product that can not only benefit, but to make lives easier. Secondly, to explore the world. Travelling is one of my hobbies — experiencing new countries and their cultures.
Q: Who are your pillars/ strongest advocates/ role models you look up to?
A: My parents have been my strongest pillars of support since Day 1. They always encourage me to pursue my interests and to try new things even if things were to go south. They have inculcated good values in me, encouraging me to think of my decisions from a moral perspective. This, I am deeply grateful for.
Q: What is your personal purpose?
A: Cliché, but to leave the world in a better place as when I came into it. Whether through tech products or volunteering to help my community, or even supporting my friends, I believe gestures, big or small, are what counts, and is what I derive my fulfilment from. At the end of the day, I would like to be remembered by how I have positively impacted my friends and the world, rather than my achievements.
Positioned for a Winning Team
Q: Any tips you would like to share with your fellow peers/ interns?
A: 1) Understand your inter-personal working style and any areas you may be weak in, taking your internship as an opportunity to work on these areas. Open communication is key in navigating a work environment.
2) Setting clear and measurable objectives for the internship. It certainly is easy to get in the mindset of getting an internship just because. Setting goals and achievements prior will enhance the internship experience even more.
3) Code with ownership. As interns, we know that we will not have to deal with our code in the future as we only have a timeline of a few months. As such, it may be tempting to go for the short-cut. A pro-tip would be to start and end strong and learn the proper and future-proof way of doing things.
At STACS, our goal here is to motivate every employee to take ownership of their experience and career, discover the many realms of opportunities where they can excel in, and allowing them to create and innovate to their best capacity — individually and collectively.