Liyana
Fauzi

Lead Product Manager, Government Technology Agency

“I would say the biggest hurdle was making the decision to further my studies at NYU. I had already accumulated 10 years of work experience then, and the thought of jumping back into formal education was scary. It was not easy, but turned out to be one of the best decisions for my professional career.”

In the context of my career, I believe that success is when I can be true to myself knowing that I have used my capabilities to my fullest potential and for good causes. At the same time, I think that there should be a balance between career success and other aspects of your life that are important, such as still being able to spend time with family and friends.

I was inspired to sign up for HTML and Javascript classes over the school holidays when I was a teen. I had wanted to make my blog (which was the rage in those days!) look nicer. I was also in the school’s computer club back then.

Over the years, I realised that I appreciated how technology can be used to make lives better. I love that we can automate routine tasks and use the time saved to do things we love like spending time with family and friends. For example, I am really fascinated by the potential use of cross-border credentials to automate the immigration process so that we can spend less time queuing and more time with our loved ones.
I would say the biggest hurdle was making the decision to further my studies at NYU. I had already accumulated 10 years of work experience then, and the thought of jumping back into formal education was scary. It was not easy, but turned out to be one of the best decisions for my professional career.

The opportunity to take a break from work and to focus on studying enabled me to pick up new skills that I use in my current role. I was also fortunate to have been able to take on product management internships in a media company and in a start-up. These were memorable experiences for me and opened up my worldview to the other parts of the tech industry that I had not been exposed to before.
I think that sometimes the biggest challenge is not advocating for myself enough. As there aren’t many role models that come from a similar background, I don’t always have a sounding board for certain issues that I face. I am so glad that we now have communities to support each other – to be cheerleaders for each other along this journey.
I would tell her to say yes to most career opportunities; there will be something to learn even in the simplest of tasks especially as a younger person starting her career. I would also tell her to not worry about not knowing everything; there will be too many things anyway. Simply hone your craft. Be good at the form of tech you are pursuing, and no one can take that skill away from you. Most importantly, find a way to use your skill to help others.