Dreams can come to us at any age, and 46-year-old Katherine Chua proves that it’s never too late to embark on a journey towards your dream job.

Having worked in administration all her life, Katherine Chua never thought that she would be interested in Data Protection as a career.  

While working at a global supplier company in Singapore, the energetic 46-year-old developed an interest in data protection and began to take up SkillsFuture Credit-eligible courses in Data Protection to satisfy her curiosity in the field.

Rediscovering Learning As An Adult

Katherine’s seven-year stint with her current company began when she first started out as a Personal Assistant. After being in that role for five years, she was encouraged by a supervisor to take up a part-time diploma as upskilling would help her progress further in her career. At that time, Katherine did not think much of it as she never liked studying in school, but the mother-of-five gamely took on the challenge as she wanted to set a positive example for her children.

While balancing work, life, and study, Katherine successfully completed a Diploma in Procurement and Supply Management. Recalling how she would pore through course notes at children parties, she said, “All the other parents would ask me, “How can you study here with all the children running around?”. I would tell them that it doesn’t bother me because I just want to absorb all the information that I’m interested in!”

Besides earning her a promotion to the role of Inventory Analyst, the diploma course sparked her interest in learning as an adult.

While working as an Inventory Analyst, she was exposed to duties concerning data protection. She explained, “As our company produces goods that are of a sensitive nature, I was required to collect and screen the personal data of all customers who enter the premises to check if they are under the embargo list.” Coincidentally, her new responsibilities came at a time when significant changes were being considered for the Personal Data Protection Act in Singapore, such as the outlawing of NRIC number collection.

As speculations about changes to the Act heightened, Katherine began to read up on data protection extensively. This piqued her curiosity about the field and she decided to apply for a Basic Data Protection Course with her SkillsFuture Credit.

Advancing In The World Of Data Protection

Her experience with the Basic Data Protection Course did not disappoint. Recalling the experience, she said, “It was an eye-opener to realise that data protection is not just about the collection of a few NRIC numbers. It also involves greater aspects such as cybersecurity and spans across multiple fields like Information Technology (IT).”

As her interest in the field continued to grow, she decided to further her knowledge with an Advanced Course in Data Protection using her remaining SkillsFuture credit.

Katherine is currently in the midst of completing the advanced course, and she’s enjoying the experience so far, “I like that it’s a more in-depth course on how to conduct organisational training on data protection, as well as managing and maintaining data records.”

She has since transferred to the position of Logistics Analyst within the same company but is looking to forge a new career pathway in a specialised data protection role.

“After attending the courses, it got me excited about carving a career pathway in data protection,” says Katharine.

Forging A New Path From Passion

Planning for the future, Katherine has her eye set on completing the Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) programme next, to pursue her dream of becoming a Data Protection Officer.

Undaunted by her age, she strongly encourages everyone to take the time to discover their own unique interests and have the courage to seek out the career path that is right for them, “Nothing is impossible as long as you put your heart to it. If it’s something you’re interested in, I don’t think it’s difficult to be re-trained or re-educated in that area.”

This story was first published on MySkillsFuture portal on 28 Aug 2020. All information is correct at time of publishing.

24 Mar 2023