I roughed things out for almost 40 years and finally got my PhD

By Strong-clam

Gen-Xer here; I have always been interested in computers all along, therefore after National Service I attempted to enrol at Ngee Ann Polytechnic for a diploma in computer studies - however I was rejected flat out given it only admitted applicants who possess at least 'A' level qualifications. Consequently, I gave Infomatic's part-time IT diploma a shot. This meant attending classes 2-4 times each week whilst juggling with a full-fledged manufacturing job (which earned me around $1k/month back then). Upon successful completion, I proceeded next with an University of London (UOL) distance learning program, once again doing so on a part-time basis. 3.5+ years later, I graduated with a spanking new 2nd Upper Honours degree in IT. Not quite contented, I signed up for further studies, eventually attaining my Masters at age 35 in 2000. Thereafter, I spent several years amassing several certifications pertaining to various commercial IT software/systems.

I migrated to Australia sometime in 2007. There, I embarked on a one year post-graduate diploma circa 2008 and in 2015, I began my part-time doctorate in Artifical Intelligence that would take me nearly 7 years to finish (bear in mind I had to work ad interim to feed a family as well as pay off the mortgage). At 55 years of age, I got my PhD.

Suffice to say, it was a darn long cum extremely arduous journey start to finish. Right now, I am happily employed by an awesome large firm as a senior data scientist.

I would therefore like to take this opportunity to offer those who are facing stumbling blocks regarding their academic pursuits a wee bit of encouragement: never give up, keep chipping away and someday you will go places...hopefully landing good jobs and not inside mental institutions.


I migrated with special needs son to Australia; he graduated from university at 17

Explaining the dearth of Singaporean academics in our universities

I never expected to be rejected by NUS, NTU and SMU all at once.