Nagarajan Ashokkumar (Ashok) had always been passionate about providing good customer experience and had built a solid foundation throughout his career in customer service.

However, he felt a strong desire to be involved in a more proactive way where he could work on eliminating or minimizing workflow and process inefficiencies to address customer pain points.

That’s when he decided to embark on a transformative journey to upskill and be at the forefront of technological advancements.  


A New Journey

Upon re-joining MSIG in 2017 after leaving for a short stint in a start-up company, Ashok was offered the role of a citizen developer. The concept of citizen development sparked his curiosity and he jumped at the chance, ignited by a desire for change. He felt that this role would give him the opportunity to hone his technical skills as well as tap on his years of experience in customer service.

Becoming a citizen developer also gave Ashok the opportunity to take a more hands-on approach in driving and executing digital solutions to meet internal customer needs.

Ashok added, “The opportunity to be the pioneer in driving the digital transformation culture, technological initiatives and projects within and across the company was too good not to consider!”

Recognizing his potential and eagerness to learn, Ashok’s manager and HR colleagues supported his transition to a citizen developer role through IBF’s Career Conversion Programme (CCP). He embarked on his CCP journey in June 2021 where he was provided training in coding, Microsoft PowerApp, Agile leadership as well as skills in digital strategy and transformation.

Administered by the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF), CCP seeks to pre-emptively reskill mid-career Singaporeans to develop new skills and capabilities to take on redesigned job roles or roles in growth areas. By working closely with hiring financial institutions, IBF seeks to help mid-career individuals like Ashok to possess up-to-date and relevant skills for the financial sector.

Empowered for Change

Equipped with his customer-centric mindset and newly acquired skills, Ashok began to build applications and automate business processes such as digitalising physical forms using Microsoft PowerApps. This entails reviewing physical forms to digitalise them logically and meaningfully for better user experience, managing the technical development to showcase the prototype to the relevant product owners and the users, as well as refining it based on their feedback till it is ready for deployment.   

Upon completion of the CCP, Ashok’s role was expanded to not only leading and managing digital transformation, but to also driving and supporting all key projects within the organisation such as in system development, regulatory compliance, and in business-related projects.

Ashok also started mentoring colleagues interested in transitioning to similar roles. He now manages a team of citizen developers to improve business processes across the organisation.

Setting His Sights Higher

The success of Ashok’s transition from customer service to citizen developer extended beyond his professional life. He discovered a newfound passion for technology and the technical ability to do coding himself without depending on his IT colleagues or vendor gave him the greatest satisfaction.

To further enhance his skillsets, Ashok began reading extensively and taking online courses to deepen his knowledge of programming languages and expand his technical repertoire. This personal development further fueled his ambitions, and set his sights on advancing his career in technology. 

Inspiring Others to Growth

Ashok’s journey exemplifies the potential for growth and success when individuals are given the opportunity to learn new skills and leverage their existing skills in innovative ways.

Throughout his CCP journey, Ashok continued to collaborate with his colleagues to enhance customer experience with his new-found technical skills. He also inspired others to embrace their potential as citizen developers.

The combination of his customer service experience, coupled with his eagerness to learn empowered Ashok to make an impact and contribute to his organisation. 

When asked about his advice for those considering the CCP, Ashok said, “We don’t have to face constant changes alone. The CCP can help us to transit through the changes and keep ourselves up-to-date and relevant with digitalisation. So don’t hesitate or fear change but embrace it with the help of the CCP.”

Ashok continues to push boundaries and explore new horizons in his role as a citizen developer. He is a testament that with the right support, training and a growth mindset, anyone can unlock their hidden potential and become an agent of change in their organisation. 

IBF administers the Career Conversion Programme (CCP) which helps mid-careerists to reskill and successfully switch to new roles within the financial services sector. Find out more about CCP here.