Darren Tan

Darren Tan

Darren Tan

  • Student type: International
  • Degree type: Masters
  • Year commenced: 2019
  • Degree(s): Master of Cybersecurity and Bachelor of Computer Science
  • Specialisation: Data science and business information systems

No brainer

When I was young I loved creating my own projects. I see IT as an opportunity to delve back into project-making, but this time digitally. IT is a fast-growing economy – and the only resource you need is a laptop – which made choosing it for higher education an easy decision.

I picked Monash because it is one of the prestigious Group of Eight schools. Anecdotes from friends who had gone to Monash confirmed that the academic staff were high calibre too.

I applied through direct enrolment with a Singaporean agent (IDP). It was a seamless process.

Building key skill sets

My course taught me crucial professional skills in the field of data science, ranging from data wrangling, analysis and visualisation. I also developed soft skills in the FIT1049 IT professional practice unit.

I’ve found all senior teaching staff from the faculty to be passionate about the subjects they teach and easy to connect with.

The highlight of my course was my final-year project in the FIT3163 Data science project 1 and FIT3164 Data science project 2 units where my teammates and I used artificial intelligence to detect cancer cells and implemented the procedure onto a web application called Cancer-.

Our goal was to increase the accessibility of deep learning to medical professionals, but along the way we found ourselves also building industry-applicable skills like project planning and development.

My biggest goal after graduation is to find a job where I can further develop the skill sets that I have gained in university.

Well-rounded university experience

I joined Monash DeepNeuron and the Singapore Association of Monash. I also signed up to be a peer mentor where I learned to plan and manage expectations of my mentees. I’ve enjoyed participating in these clubs and societies as it’s helped me feel more involved in Monash’s student body

I did my internship with Monash DeepNeuron in the Department of Data Science and AI. I learned about deep learning frameworks and even had the opportunity to create my own models.

The coolest part of it was working with geophysicists to create and train a model to predict mega earthquakes, which are earthquakes with magnitudes of 8.0 or higher. Being the first team of interns to work on this project, we had the invaluable experience of building the entire development framework from scratch. With no shortage of determination and passion, we even managed to predict earthquakes that were out of the dataset, but recorded at a later time.

The tough stuff

The biggest challenge was transitioning to online learning during the global pandemic. As the line between university work and home time began to blur, I had to learn how to set my own schedules.

However, Monash made the shift as smooth as possible. They were swift in their response to accommodate the new needs for students with various resources such as Monash Virtual Environment (MoVE), online library books, recorded lessons and many more.

Although there are many opportunities open for university students, I also found that there aren’t as many for international students. Internships in particular are difficult to attain as many international students have the additional necessity of working a part-time job in their free time. I hope Monash finds a way to help with that in the future.

Best place to live

Living in Melbourne has been an exciting experience filled with unique opportunities you can’t get elsewhere. I’ve loved visiting the famous sights across the CBD, road tripping around gorgeous Victorian countryside and coastal towns, meeting new people from various backgrounds through parties or networking events, and so on.

Melbourne is also an extremely public transport friendly place. Amenities such as gyms and supermarkets are accessible by train or tram.

Pearls of wisdom for future students

The learning curve for programming is high, especially for computer science students. But with consistent effort and a drive to always do better, I’m certain everyone can excel in it.

I encourage all future students to keep an open mind and attend as many social and professional events as possible. I’ve just started doing this now during my postgraduate studies and can say with certainty that I wish I’d started during my undergraduate degree as it has been an enriching experience.