How the “Little Fix-It Boy” Became a Full-Fledged Professional Engineer

20 April 2021 — Ezer Sin designs advanced automated equipment for customers across various industries. These customers have high expectations and even higher standards. They want their machines to be efficient, cost-effective and highly reliable, and they trust in Ezer’s expertise to deliver on their stringent requirements.

Ezer’s passion for engineering was evident from a young age, although his actual abilities in the beginning were not always reliable.

A lifetime of fixing machines (or at least, trying to)
As a child, Ezer was curious about how things worked and would tinker with various machines to figure out how they were put together. He says of his childhood days, “Whenever a device at home stopped working, my parents would put it aside – and I would immediately start disassembling it! Back then, there were no guides or instructions on how to fix things, so I would examine all the parts and see if anything looked out of place. Then, I would put everything back together.”


“Most of the time, it would be working again!” he proclaims. “I managed to fix our vacuum cleaner, toys and a bunch of other devices.” With a slightly embarrassed grin, he adds, “However, the TV was a different story.”

The TV may have been a little too challenging for young Ezer, but he was not dissuaded from further indulging in his interest. “I just enjoyed the process of fixing things and saving our family money,” he quips.

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, the family’s “little fix-it boy” grew up to be an engineer – and his fascination with devices evolved into a desire to work with more advanced, complicated and challenging machines.


Adopting a financially prudent mindset, taking on a part-time degree
Coming from a working-class family with five children, Ezer learned the importance of working hard and being financially prudent. This mindset led the Johor-native to Singapore – first to Nanyang Polytechnic on a National Precision Engineering Scholarship (NPES) offered by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), then to the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Bachelor of Technology (BTech) Mechanical Engineering degree programme.

His rationale for taking on a part-time degree programme was simple: he could make a living as a full-time engineer in the day, then study in the evening. In fact, Ezer was so committed to getting his degree that his number one priority when choosing his first job was his working location; it had to be close to NUS.

He explains, “At the time, attaining an NUS Mechanical Engineering degree was my number one priority – above even my career. So, even though there were many opportunities in Tuas and Changi, when I saw an engineering job near NUS, I knew I had to land that one!”

“Suffer first, enjoy later”
For this avid tinkerer, being able to work on machines in the day and then learn about them in the evening was like a dream come true. However, the reality was not what he had expected.

His first few semesters were tough, especially when he was offered a career opportunity too good to pass up – a mechanical design role, which he really wanted. The challenges of studying part-time while taking on brand new responsibilities at work, compounded by having to be away from home, took a toll on Ezer’s studies.

The diligent engineering student saw his results declining, and was losing his drive – until a phone call with his parents reenergised him. His father told him patiently, “It is alright. There is still time to pull your grades up. We are still proud of you. In life, we must suffer first, to enjoy later.”

A reinvigorated spirit, and leveraging on NUS’ resources
Those words encouraged Ezer to double down on his studies and improve his results. He realised that what NUS offered to its BTech students could be used to his advantage, to regain lost ground.

He began to more closely engage with the lecturers and teaching assistants in the NUS BTech programme. “I would often book their time after lectures, and they would always explain anything I was unsure about in incredible detail – until I fully understood the concepts and information,” he shares, crediting the faculty with helping him to better grasp complex ideas and prepare for examinations.

“The lecturers have a lot of industry experience and are really dedicated to our success,” Ezer notes. “On Saturdays, they would run clinics and go through past-year examination papers with us. For working professionals like me, all this extra help was incredibly useful and really helped to optimise the students’ time.”

Ezer also made use of the comprehensive resources at NUS libraries, and formed close bonds with classmates – especially as they were also working professionals who understood the challenges of juggling work and studies, and importance of cheering each other to the finish line.

As a result of the support he received and also his own efforts, Ezer’s grades shot up. He graduated in early 2021 with 2nd Class (Upper) Honours. Not long after, he discovered an unexpected bonus to having attained the degree he had pursued with vigour for four years.


An exciting next chapter, and an influx of opportunities!
Even before he came to Singapore to advance his studies and career, Ezer had gotten a fairly good idea of the value that NUS offered its students and graduates. He and his peers recognised NUS as a top university, and held especially high regard for its engineering faculty. Throughout his four-year degree programme, Ezer always felt inspired by how the lessons he learnt in the evening were immediately applicable in his engineering work during the day.

However, this knowledge and experience did not prepare him for the deluge of opportunities that suddenly opened up to him after he earned his NUS BTech Mechanical Engineering degree. “It’s been very surprising” he says. “After simply updating my qualifications in my LinkedIn and JobStreet profiles, and doing nothing else, companies and recruiters have been reaching out to me with offers.” He declares, “The NUS brand really is very valuable in this field.”

Despite being headhunted, Ezer assures us that he is exactly where he wants to be right now – developing his skills and career as a Mechanical Engineer at CyberOptics. He is settling into the role and aspires to eventually step up to a managerial position in the company. For now though, Ezer simply hopes for the pandemic to go away, so he can visit his parents freely again – and personally thank his dad for the invaluable advice that turned his academic (and professional) career around: “Suffer first, enjoy later!”

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10 May 2021