Stairway to success

In 2019, he was the only Malaysian privileged to acquire a special scholarship to attend Apple's annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Centre in California. Steven Tan's work on the formation of geometrical patterns between our planet and Venus' orbit over a span of eight years secured him the coveted scholarship.

That wasn't his first trip to the WWDC though. He had made his way to the prestigious event in 2018 as well. The School of Engineering student learned more about augmented reality at the event - bringing back vital information, which he shared with the School of Pharmacy while working with them. Tan taught pharmacy students about atrial fibrillation (known as AFib or AF) – an irregular heartbeat that could lead to various heart-related complications such as stroke or heart failure.

Two years after his first trip to WWDC, even before his final year exams, Tan received the incredible news. He had been offered a job in Apple as a Wallet Integration Engineer! His responsibilities will range from screening and debugging incoming issues to fixing bugs to helping orchestrate the overall quality process. As an Integration Engineer on the Wallet team, Tan will be a key member of the overall Wallet and Apple Pay organisation.

Tan was surprised when he got the offer letter: "I wasn't mentally prepared when I got the offer. My goal has always been to work at Apple, but I never spent much time thinking about it becoming a reality. I am a fortunate guy. I am incredibly grateful for having met the people in my life. Nothing would have been possible without them.

Becoming a software engineer was more than a career option and passion for Tan: "I know how computer science can help change lives around us. Everyone is equal in this field – the key difference is in our effort and how much change we hope to make in the world we live in," he said.

Tan added that his reason for choosing to study software engineering was because he wanted to push himself. "It is a field that can lack in resources, but as long as you are focused on what you want and hope to achieve, you will succeed," he stated.

Referring to his Apple WWDC 2019 Scholarship Award, Tan said, "The submission was designed to emphasise arts as an integral part of science. I wanted to highlight its importance and that it goes hand-in-hand with science."

Besides organising mobile application development workshops on campus with his coursemates, Tan couldn't emphasise enough how much he loved the School's management. "I really like our academics. They are always encouraging us to challenge their ideas and are open to our suggestions. This helped broaden my mindset and helped me grow."

The 24-year-old is expected to begin work in Apple by year-end. However, due to the current pandemic, the exact appointment date has not been fixed.

Congratulations, Steven Tan! We are truly proud of your achievements. Wishing you lots of success and happiness in your new job. Best of luck to you!