A musician, prospective media student, and motorsport enthusiast, Jia Singh embarked on her coding journey in 2021 with The Lab Singapore and earned herself numerous internal accolades along the way, such as “good performance” and “fastest coder.” These achievements showcased her dedication and demonstrated her exceptional skills.
Reflecting on her journey thus far, Jia emphasises the importance of coding and why she continues to pursue it: “To me, coding is more than just a ‘cool’ activity [. . .] Coding [plays] a vital part [in] today’s day and age, especially since so much of our lives [is] based on the internet and various forms of technology. Coding is one of the things that people of any age can learn and [. . .] that makes it so fascinating and special.”
The pinnacle of Jia’s coding journey arrived in March of 2023 when she emerged as the champion in the U14 category of SheHacks, a hackathon exclusively for females and non-binary individuals. Jia’s victory not only marked a personal milestone but also highlighted her incredible potential.
Sharing her experience at SheHacks, Jia states, “I just applied [to compete in SheHacks] with a friend from school because I thought it would be a good experience, but it was more than good; to me it was life changing. I got to create, innovate and pitch my ideas, and for me that was a really enjoyable experience.”
But do not be fooled; Jia’s achievements are not simply the fruit of raw talent. Mr. Hong Yang, one of her teachers at The Lab Singapore, mentions that when she first joined his class, she did not stand out from her peers as an exceptional coder. However, it was due to her innate drive to understand the world that allowed her reach to greater heights. Mr. Hong Yang commends her desire to learn, stating, “[Jia] is an inquisitive and independent learner; when there is something that she’s not sure about, she takes the initiative to clarify things on her own. That’s one of the most important values [for a student] to have.”
Mr. Hong Yang also expresses his hopes that Jia’s passion for coding allows her to see the world in a different perspective. “[Applying] what she learns in her hobbies and everyday life is the best source of motivation, and with motivation, that brings a greater drive to improve,” he says.
Jia agrees, stating that “Learning how to code [has helped] me better understand the way systems work and how the digital world runs.” Using the critical thinking and problem-solving skills she has picked up, Jia also believes that programming will benefit her in her “biggest dream;” a future career in mass communication and motorsports.
Acknowledging the progress she has made since embarking on her coding journey two years ago, Jia humbly expresses her gratitude, “The teachers at [The Lab Singapore] have taught me so many new skills that I don’t think I would have been able to learn myself.”
Jia’s story is a testament to the impact of proper mentorship and a supportive environment. The Lab Singapore, with its commitment to nurturing young talents, has provided Jia and other young female coders with the tools, guidance, and opportunities necessary to thrive and realise their full potential. We encourage girls to embrace their abilities and pursue their dreams, regardless of societal expectations, facing the world as the new generation of innovative minds that will continue to shape our digital future.
The Lab Singapore hopes that the barriers that once hindered female participation in STEM related fields continue to crumble, opening doors for a more diverse and inclusive tech industry.