The Singaporean Developer

Vibrant, young, and very eager.

“Developers are special here. We are rarer than bankers, doctors, lawyers. Like poets and philosophers, we weave experience from thought alone. We are the self-taught teachers, the self-starting founders, the self-made makers. Where previous generations built a city, we now make magic for the world.” – Wong Meng Weng, Co-founder of Hackerspace SG, JFDI.

In a country where some have said its citizens enjoy comprehensive governmental services, but find their individual freedoms suppressed, its people arguably lack the kind of spark and guts found in buccaneering entrepreneurs around the globe.

While the aforementioned is rather lamentable, the young state clearly had priorities in developing itself into the fine economy that it is today before entertaining notions that it ought to be a bit more creative. The very same top-down mechanism has been doing something about it in recent times, with its Smart Nation initiatives taking flight with goals of pervasive connectivity, creativity and life-improving solutions.

Climate

To become proficient at a profession, your environment will need to be conducive. Of late, it has been found that government subsidies, tax breaks, and reassuring enthusiasm has found its way into the hearts of a budding tech market. With the help of millions pumped in by establishments like Singapore’s National Research Foundation, startup clusters have sprouted to house a variety of startup companies, incubators, and investors in a careful bid to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit.

“Entrepreneurship is not natural to us. My generation is professional-minded and risk averse, and young people are naive. The ecosystem here doesn’t teach them how to move, how to adapt, because Singapore is a small market.” – 60-year-old Mr Teck Seng Low, CEO of the National Research Foundation, himself a professor, serial entrepreneur, and venture capitalist who boasts some time abroad.

Foundations

Singapore, most people would care to know, ranks a lofty second on the World Economic Forum’s page for global competitiveness, no less thanks to its economic ease and flexibility in obtaining a business permit (two and a half days) for example. It also happens to sit comfortably on the laurels of notable successes like Rule of Law, Regulatory Efficiency, and Trade Freedom coupled with a strong intolerance for corruption.

“Singapore is run like a company” says a certain Mr Vinnie Lauria, a venture capitalist with Golden Gate Ventures, who is reminded of his time at IBM early in his career before eventually selling a startup in Silicon Valley and settling in South East Asia with his wife.

The next Tech hub?

Google has already been on a hiring spree since the start of the year, with a view to setting up an engineering hub just like the ones in Hyderabad (India), Sydney (Australia), and Mountain View (US).

“We are establishing a large engineering presence in Singapore. With its central location in Asia, diverse demographic, and a strong pool of technical talent, Singapore is well suited to be a key engineering hub.” – Google, Jan 26th.

It’s office here happens to be the headquarters for its Asia Pacific business, which started off with seven people about 10 years ago and now has over 200 employees. This will be great for local developers to latch on as inspiration to work in an international environment.

Starts from..

the grassroots. With a healthy share of tech conferences in recent years i.e PyCon, RedDotRubyConf, and DevFest, the vibrancy that meets this ecosystem is certainly encouraging for the budding young developer in Singapore, who will have the privilege of exposure to topics that range from engineering to user experience design. As this growth takes off, this nascent community has plenty to look forward to as the lifeblood of a Smart Nation.