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7 May 2024

Head of HR: Carris Chen's Take on AI Career Paths

Carris Chen delves into the dynamic world of AI careers, offering her insights on what it takes to thrive at SMC, and in the broader AI industry.

What skills and experience are most in demand for AI jobs?

Currently, at SMC, we’re looking for people with expertise in High Performance Computing (HPC) and advanced software engineering which are both essential when it comes to optimising AI applications on NVIDIA’s powerful GPUs. Our focus is on professionals who understand that we’re creating our own pathway here, we’re market leaders and you’ll have to be okay in a workplace where no two days are the same. Being adaptable and collaborative are key points for us.

On that note, how does SMC foster a culture of collaboration and innovation?

Our projects inherently require cross-team collaboration, emphasising the interconnectedness of our workflows. As employees understand the workflow, they naturally see that our projects can’t be completed without the different individual teams working together. It’s a good balance, and it’s why SMC leadership emphasises bringing in people who value collaboration. We've also got our talent from Australia and Singapore collaborating in a knowledge exchange to upskill continually. Innovation has and will continue to be the cornerstone of our business — our employees are encouraged to share their thoughts, be it new ways of working or solutions to challenges faced.

What's it like working at SMC?

A key part of our onboarding process is that we assign people to work buddies on their first day, week and month. There’s also an email that goes out informing employees about new hires and keeping everyone updated on the team and workflow. It’s important that we keep our work culture engaging and fun, to foster innovation as market leaders. All our employees are excited by our technology and it’s the reason why many of them have joined SMC; to pursue that level of excitement about being market leaders.

What does professional development look like in the field of AI?

Starting from a small team in Singapore, we've seen significant growth, which has opened up various avenues for career advancement. As we grow, employees with the right skills and attitude have the opportunity to move into newly created roles. This happens fairly often as we continue to expand our operations, both, locally and internationally.

“ These opportunities are not limited to their current functions; cross-functional growth is also encouraged, providing a broader scope for professional development. ”

Additionally, as SMC expands its operations internationally, there will be opportunities to work internationally, further enhancing career trajectories and exposing employees to global AI markets and technologies.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career in AI, particularly with a focus on sustainability?

As mentioned earlier, people who work with us are incredibly excited about our technology and the fact that we get to be setting these new benchmarks when it comes to sustainability. Having that passion is an essential part of wanting to pursue a career in AI, especially with the aspect of sustainability. It’s a steep learning curve but I encourage those interested to upskill themselves proactively, and focus on the right priorities in their job search. For example, is learning on the job, being able to upskill with fellow talent, and setting your own pathway what you seek? Or are you looking for more structure? Is it compensation packages that you’re looking for? They’re all important elements to consider, and once you narrow down on that, focus on your intentions to achieve it!