From teen entrepreneur to tech professional

“Where do you think you’re going with all those packages?” 

I froze at the sound of my mum’s voice – the packages in question held colourful beaded bracelets I had meticulously strung together the night before (yep, like the ones you trade at Taylor Swift concerts!) I was about to mail them out to customers of my “Facebook shop” that I’d been running in secret for the last few weeks. 

The jig was up – at just 13 then, I immediately confessed to collecting cash snail-mailed by strangers on the internet for my handmade bracelets and rings (in hindsight, my practices were completely dubious!) 

I braced myself for the punishment – but instead, she seemed like she was trying her hardest to hold back a huge smile. After all, she ran her own shipping business with my dad. 

That day, she accompanied me to drop off said packages. When we got home, she opened a new Facebook page for me, which my 13-year-old self proudly named “Funkeyshop” and found wholesale suppliers for jewellery so I could scale my business up. 

That was just the first of the next 12 years of all sorts of shops I started – I’ve spent countless nights tweaking recipes for baked goods, and even designing festive modern Baju Kurung. 

I love how I could fulfil my creative needs and be rewarded for it – through my businesses, I’ve managed to fund my own higher education. 

I’m a Business Informatics diploma holder, and I’ve just graduated from my part-time degree in Business Studies, Digital Business. It’s part-time because I’ve been working as a software developer for the last four years – with the latest year at DBS. 

At DBS, I run testing for internal applications used by employees, and help troubleshoot for some existing applications.  

Here, I also take full advantage of the bank’s learning culture, where I can continue building on my arsenal of tech skills through our Future Tech Academy. 

On most weekends, I run my own home-based brownie business, starting as early as 6am on Saturdays to bake the orders for the day, and work right up to as late as 8pm, when I make my last delivery. My parents usually join me for the delivery runs, and I cherish those long drives (and conversations!) together. 

I know that running a home-based bakery and being a software developer sound like complete opposites, but I find them complementary. 

I’ve used my coding skills to create a website for my shop, which allowed me to move on from manually messaging individual customers on WhatsApp for information, to a consolidated single sheet. 

Serving customers as a business owner honed my communication skills as a troubleshooter and application tester at work, where I collaborate with stakeholders to finetune our features for their specific requirements.  

What’s next for me – I’m hoping to hone my leadership skills at work, so I can mirror that on the home front as well and eventually grow my business!” 

- Nurul Sabrina, Enterprise Architecture & Site Reliability Engineering