Smart Nation Scholarship – Enabling People Using Data and Technology

Smart Nation Scholarship

Smart Nation Scholar Goh Jia Yi shares her scholarship journey and aspirations for a Smart Nation.

Jia Yi dabbled in tech at the age of 10, where she was actively doing blog skins using HTML. It fascinated her that codes can generate colourful and useful visuals.

Her early tinkering with tech increased her curiosity and inspired her thirst for knowledge of coding from scratch. She was a gamer too, and knew that tech was the path. She wanted to create her own game. Another motivation was her sister, whom she shared a close relationship with. Her sister influenced her to embark on a poly route to pursue her studies in tech. Jia Yi aspires to create a product to help people by bringing them convenience.

What Was Your First Experience in the Field of Tech and What Attracted You to the Field?

I believe my interest in tech can be attributed to my early exposure to coding and computer games. I decided to pursue my interest in tech after chancing upon the then newly-launched Smart Nation Initiative after my O levels.

During that time, data from government sources became more accessible to the public through platforms such as and SingStat. Out of curiosity, I downloaded some available datasets and attempted to build visualisations with basic chart features available on Excel. That experience allowed me to witness the power of analytics first-hand. With analytics, we are able to generate insights to identify existing market gaps and to innovate products that may transform Singaporeans’ day-to-day life. With that in mind, I was motivated to pursue data analytics with a Diploma in Financial Informatics at Singapore Polytechnic.

How Did You Hear About the Smart Nation Scholarship, and What Attracted You to Apply?

I came across the Smart Nation Scholarship website while searching for scholarships online. As someone with a strong interest in technology and passionate about creating something to bring convenience to others, I knew that this scholarship was the one for me.

Furthermore, with the support of GovTech bringing networking and mentorship opportunities within my reach, I know that I will have a defining university experience. These factors have attracted me to apply for the scholarship.

In Your Opinion, What Is Your Key Strength That Helped You Land the Scholarship?

I feel that my passion for technology, as well as confidence, shone through during the interview process. Being able to convey my strong interest in technology and express my thoughts clearly allowed the interviewers to know me better, and assess that I possessed the qualities that they were looking out for.

There are many meaningful ongoing projects in GovTech, and I hope to be part of this process by applying my analytical skills in creating and improving products that can help to enhance Singaporeans’ lives.

Particularly for an aging population, I hope to be able to create a fully-enabled IoT home for individuals with mobility problems. More elderlies will require around-the-clock assistance from caregivers to move around at home, and technology can help to ease the workload on caregivers and allow elderlies to have more freedom in their daily lives.

Any Advice for Your Peers Who Are Looking To Apply for the Scholarship?

My advice is to stay curious, be confident and to trust yourself. You may be the hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

Smart Nation Scholarship
Attained: Diploma in Financial Informatics
Now: Second Year at National University of Singapore majoring in Business Analytics
From: Singapore Polytechnic

Jia Yi will be joining Government Technology Agency (GovTech) upon completion of her studies.

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