Switch! Viet Nam – Hear from participants: 2020-2022

Nguyen Thi Thu Hang: A better and happier research leader

Thu Hang (top row, center) was better able to encourage her students (also pictured) to submit papers to journals and conduct research thanks to the project.

I received the project information via email, and right away it seemed to be a good opportunity for professional development that would give me experience in applying and participating in various projects. There aren’t many courses available to me due to my preferred specialization. I had not been able to apply for other projects before joining SWITCH SEA.

I was accepted immediately after I had expressed my intentions to my line manager at the Institute where I teach and work. He also considered it a good opportunity.

During the project, I was able to participate in very useful activities related to not only my current major but also my future-oriented major (for at least the next five years), in a number of training sessions held by Ms. Nhung, the Vietnamese project coordinator.

I enrolled in five online courses related to the Internet and IoT. The courses offered knowledge that is updated and closely related to my desired major. I also joined two more sessions on management organized by the Vietnamese project coordinator. The courses gave me more confidence in changing circumstances, obstacles in life, also showed me how to cooperate and promote the development of the working group.

I also successfully asked for support for the group of scientific research students that I led.

In regard to the most significant change for me, the story began with the goal of study and research at the beginning of the project and I have achieved more than I expected up to the present time: I became more active in teaching and research, improving my life and finding the significance and results of my work, as well as contributing to promoting students in research and living more actively.

During the project, the focus of my teaching shifted from the Internet to a major in IoT. The option of online study during the SWITCH SEA project gave me more confidence to deal with this sudden change. I had an opportunity, for the first time, to master a detailed outline for a subject (related to IoT) after nearly many years of teaching as a lecture writer. This was also the first time I conducted a detailed review of a lecture related to my previous major, Internet and Protocols.

In research and guiding students/groups of students on scientific research. I was able to obtain funds to support students on scientific research and royalties for articles of international publications. I also guided students to write articles for domestic and international newspapers and magazines, and I acted as the corresponding author (I was just the first author or co-author). In the past, due to budget and time constraints, I could only publish one international seminar paper in the country each year and at most one journal article, but when I had more time and money and time to guide students in 2021, I had two international seminar papers published, of which the second one was completed during my participation in the SWITCH SEA project, along with one domestic journal article.

Training students to research and write articles is also an honourable and proud result because this is a ground for the students to have the knowledge and experience to apply for a scholarship to study abroad at a higher level.

In daily life, connecting and sharing with other women in IT, while also participating in projects and being more active in cooperation/learning activities helped me feel better. A better understanding of the limitations and difficulties of current life during the COVID-19 pandemic has helped me to reduce anxiety and change from a passive mentality to an active and positive one.

In short, the project has brought a lot of benefits to my life, both professionally and psychologically. I would like to give very special thanks to the members of the project for giving me a good chance to change.

In the less-than one year I have been involved in the project, I have made many positive strides in both professional knowledge and in life. Perhaps the most important thing for me is to change my attitude to be more positive and proactive, happier with my work and life.

Chu Hong Trang: Changing through the simple things

Chu Hong Trang found that the SWITCH SEA project gave her personal development at just the right time.

I filled in the online survey for the SWITCH SEA project, and quickly realized that the project can bring a lot of benefit for participants. I am a policymaker in the ICT Industry. My job requires that I update and research the ICT laws and policies of other countries and international organizations. Furthermore, I also need to upskill soft skills like giving presentations and effective communications. The SWITCH SEA project gave me opportunities to meet these needs.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted me significantly in 2021. I was very busy with my government job which involved supporting society, technology companies and the central and local governments to overcome the pandemic. This meant I could not join as many courses as I wanted. I chose some short online courses to improve my communication skills and some courses about making laws such as Artificial Intelligence laws, and digital data acts.

All the meetings and courses moved online and that created barriers for Vietnamese members to meet in person, share knowledge and get to know each other. However, we remained a good team and we supported each other. All the documents, speakers, and supporters were great. We learned a lot from them.

I was always concerned about finding ways to improve my skills and personal development. Before coming to the SWITCH SEA project, I had to face an overload and difficulties in work. I felt like I lost a lot of motivation and lost my life balance.
I was looking for something to change. Sometimes I also wanted to find a new job, a new direction. The SWITCH SEA project came, and I wished for a change.

I got my wish.

Although I didn’t attend many courses, even signing up for any technical courses at all felt like an overload given all the other things I was handling. However, through the project I got know new friends, speakers and technical women who are passionate about their jobs and always learning new things. I have learned a lot from them, from their practical sharing. I also learned from Ms. Nhung – the project coordinator in Vietnam – who is always cheerful, enthusiastic and full of energy. I am impressed with the way she leads the courses, supports us and shares openly. The courses and seminars have given me many new perspectives, and new thoughts.
2021 has been tumultuous with significant difficulties. I also understand that I have to make more effort. I’m not saying I’ve had big changes, but I believe that I’m changing into a better version of myself, day by day, thanks to the value that SWITCH SEA brings. And most importantly, I think I’m back on track. I know what I really need and want, and I am more enthusiastic about my work and loving what I have.

If 2021 was the year I found myself again, in 2022 I will develop my knowledge and skills. I also believe that projects like the APNIC Foundation’s SWITCH SEA will continue to bring a lot of value to the Internet community in general and women in IT in particular.

Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to be a part of the project.

Nguyen Thi Mien: SWITCH yourself

Mien has gained skills in managing her workload, confidence and English proficiency.

I was lucky enough to be selected to join the SWITCH SEA project, as one of its youngest members in Viet Nam. The project was just starting in the early spring of 2021 and officially kicked off when 23 members from different companies joined. Time passed so quickly, now 2022 has arrived. I will continue to take part in the SWITCH SEA project when I turn 25.

The project activities have brought me a lot of interesting experiences and useful knowledge, ranging from trending courses such as Internet resource management, cloud computing and SQL, through to private discussions with my mentor. The project also encouraged team members to join in and share their skills during meetings, particularly around time management and effective ways of working. In addition, I also discovered the colorful world of technology on the AnitaB.org forum.

One thing that cannot be ignored is the APNIC-branded souvenirs that the project gave to members, which encouraged and gave us more motivation to complete the goals of the project.

SWITCH SEA helped me develop in many respects. I learned about the latest technology trends and gained a deeper understanding of cloud computing (which I am pursuing further). I am better at planning and managing my workload, and I can actively participate in extracurricular activities related to my expertise.

In life, even though I sometimes feel stressed out, when I think about the results I can achieve, I feel much more motivated. I am connected with people around me working in engineering, which is considered difficult for women. This shows me objective sharing as well as how people always keep their passion for work.
I myself am aware that I need to improve my professional skills and management skills in the process of career advancement, which I have never thought of before.

The most significant change I think that I have been more confident about public speaking, no longer worried as much as before. In addition, my English language proficiency has also improved. I can read and understand it a lot faster than before even though it’s not really fluent right now.

The thing that I regret most right now is that I have not learned more! Sometimes I get distracted. If there is a future chance, I hope to be chosen as a member of SWITCH SEA again.

Truong Que Thanh: Becoming a digital citizen

The project helped Truong Que Thanh develop her cybersecurity and English skills.

I was very fortunate to be introduced to the project by the recruiter who sent me the project information. I saw that the project could help me a lot, so I boldly applied. I signed up for four courses that I felt were necessary for me at that time:

  • Speaking with confidence: Thanks to this soft skill, I gained confidence after the course. It was quite interesting to learn these tips so that I can talk comfortably and confidently.
  • Introduction to Cybersecurity Course: Information security is necessary knowledge these days, and the course provided me with the concepts of information security, and how to keep it confidential within what is considered reasonable. It also included information on when to recommend information to people at higher levels in the company.
  • Being a Good Digital Citizen: This course gave me knowledge about communication on the Internet, how to use tools on Google, and how to communicate on social media. Although I use social media a lot and thought I knew it all, I still wasn’t using it properly. The course helped me to better use the Internet and protect myself on social media and guided me on how to spot fake information. In addition, the course also taught me how to install software, test computers and fix minor errors in the operating system.
  • Learn English by app Rosettastone: This helped improve my English pronunciation. But this is not enough to reach my English goals because it only supports my pronunciation and communication of some common topics.

I look forward to the project’s further support in improving my English to better suit my job requirements and improve my knowledge. Throughout the project, I realized that it is critical for me to further improve my English because updates on technology and good courses are all in English.

A key theme of the project is being empowered to promote and protect an open, free and secure Internet, and I think the best aspect of this is that I have a better understanding of the Internet, I understand I need to use  social media and the Internet more carefully. I have learned how to protect myself online and am more aware of issues relating to online news. In addition, I also learned how to study online effectively. Thanks to the project, I also know that the APNIC academy offers many online and free courses that are quite interesting and practical for me.

Finally, I realized that my most positive change is that I am more interested in online learning. It will help me to learn and improve myself more to meet job requirements and improve my quality of life.