Forest Interactive—alongside the Digital Ninja Career Immersion—kicked of its 3-week immersion program last May, 2019. The Digital Ninja Career Immersion is part of the many prizes that winners of the 13th annual Digital Ninja Competition receive.
Held by the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the Digital Ninja Competition is an annual competition whose aim is to find the best and brightest minds among Malaysia’s youth. Through the competition, MDEC aims to build a foundation for Malaysia’s future in science and technology. This year’s winners come from all walks of life, from all parts of the country.
Winners of the Digital Ninja competition get to participate in one of many exciting immersions, labs, and boot camps that will not only hone in on their unique talents but also develop them further. One such initiative of the program is the Career Immersion with Forest Interactive is a proud partner.
Through the immersion, each of the three participants were taught, mentored, and challenged by some of the leading thinkers in Forest Interactive. Not only that, they were also able to participate in the company’s many activities including the Syria Day celebration and World Health and Sports Day activities.
Serawak’s Software Squire
One of the participants is Synthia Darie, a 19-year old with humble beginnings in Serawak. Synthia is the 2nd of 3 children of a palm oil mill security guard and a housewife. But don’t let her rural roots fool you, she has large aspirations and one day dreams of being an architect.
Synthia’s initiation into the world of IT started at the age of 16, in her small town of Miri. From there, she was assigned to lead her school to team in the Young Inventor Challenge held in Curtin University—Serawak. Her team focused on the problem of hygiene and cleanliness in Serawak’s many public bathrooms. After a month of development, she and her team were able to develop a doorknob sensor to combat the issue. This netted them a Silver Award and even a Best Team Cheer Award.
From there, she learned of the Digital Ninja Competition held by MDEC and submitted their school entry. As part of the 13th Digital Ninja Competition, she was able to develop an app that reduces the carbon footprint in the country.
Winning the competition allowed Synthia to participate in the Digital Ninja Leadership Boot Camp which laid the groundwork to her success as an intern for Forest Interactive. In the boot camp, she learned about writing the perfect resume, interview tips, and even a video production session taught by Acestar. The Leadership Boot Camp also provided Synthia and her fellow participants with an application to Asia Pacific International School, one of the most prestigious schools in the country. This allows both her and her fellow boot campers to bolster their resumes in the future.
In her short, 3-week stint in Forest Interactive, Synthia learned basic programming like Bubble Sort Algorithm under the guidance of her mentor Ahmad Semesmieh, Technical Team Lead for software development. She even spent some time under the mentorship of Forest Interactive CEO Johary “Joe” Mustapha.
Her time in Forest Interactive was full of many first—from traveling to Kuala Lumpur on her own to seeing the Petronas Twin Towers and of course, learning about software development. These memories left such an impression on her that she vows to return to Forest Interactive after the completion of her degree.
The second intern is Chia Yan Wei, an 18-year old graduate from the Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan Yoke Kuan in Sekinchan, Selangor. He is the youngest of 4 kids who one day hopes to be an engineer. He attributes this to his early interest in robotics as a child.
Yan Wei’s interest in robotics led him to join his school’s robotics club. Here, he learned to program robots using Arduino, an open-source programing hardware. One of his club’s most prestigious projects was a Lorry Protection System that protected lorries or trucks from overloading. This project astounded his teachers enough to be submitted to the Young Innovator Challenge 2017. This resulted in them bagging the Gold Award. From there, they submitted to the Digital Ninja competition and the rest, as they say, is history.
Yan Wei’s path differs from Synthia in that he was a participant in the Digital Ninja Accelerator Lab. Here, participants were separated into different teams and taught various disciplines like rapid prototyping and design thinking. Yan Wei was also included in the Digital Ninja Leadership Immersion.
As a participant in the Digital Ninja Career Immersion, Yan Wei not only learned about big data and Python, but was also under the learning tree of Forest Interactive CEO Johary Mustapha. From Mr Mustapha, Yan Wei learned about entrepreneurship and leadership—skills he hopes to use one day.
Yan Wei’s short exposure to life at Forest Interactive has allowed him to experience a melting pot of not only different viewpoints but also different cultures. He is grateful to both Forest Interactive and MDEC for the incredible opportunity of expanding his horizons.
Oh Lin Kim is the final Digital Ninja for this year. She is an 18-year old graduate from Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan Yoke Kuan in Sekinchan, Selangor. As a member of the same robotics club as Yan Wei, she worked on various projects such as the Cyclight: a turning system developed for cyclists. This project was awarded the Bronze Medal in the 2017 Eureka Innovation Exhibition. She then submitted a video she produced herself to MDEC and was able to be included in this year’s Digital Ninjas.
As a participant, Yan Wei was able to join the Digital Ninja Accelerator Lab which helped her develop her robotics skills further. Her team developed an app which helped minimize the carbon footprint produced by everyday Malaysians.
As an intern with the Digital Ninja Career Immersion, Kim learned from Zeyad Assem, Senior Android Developer for Forest Interactive. This once in a lifetime opportunity allowed Kim to learn more about the app development process including the user interface and user input. From there, she was able to develop 3 basic apps that allow you to order coffee, keep score, and design a layout using Android Studio.
One of the perks of being an intern with Forest Interactive is the many nuggets of wisdom interns get from CEO Johary Mustapha. Kim remembers a unique quote from him telling her “Don’t be average.”
Kim’s exposure in Forest Interactive left her to discover he hidden passion for computer science. She says that while she has already committed to studying accounting in university, her passion for computer science still remains. Kim hopes that one day, she will be able to combine programming with accounting.