Making an Impact with Statistics

Wong Mun Mun

 

Knowing that the statistics that we compile will be useful for policy planning and decision making, I am proud to be able to contribute to nation building in some way.'

Wong Mun Mun, a statistician with the Household, Income, Population Division at DOS shares what inspired her to be a Statistician, what her work entails and what qualities are required to excel in her job.


 

Tell us more about your job.

I am with the Household, Income, Population Division. My team compiles data on a range of socio-demographic indicators in the areas of marriages and divorces, births and fertility, and households.

What motivated you to choose this career?

As an Economics graduate, I wanted to do something that was related to data and numbers. Knowing that the statistics that we compile will be useful for policy planning and decision making, I am proud to be able to contribute to nation building in some way.

What are the daily challenges you face and how do you overcome them?

There are times when data requestors approach us without specifying their detailed requirements. It can be challenging and time-consuming to iron out the details of the statistical requirements for their use. A helpful way to overcome this is to build good working ties with our data users, so that we may have a better understanding of what they require, and hence propose relevant data that meet their needs.

Which aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy organising and analysing the data to provide a reliable interpretation of population trends. I find it intriguing to be able to have a glimpse into the society that we live in today through the data findings.

Describe DOS’ working culture.

DOS is a nurturing workplace that values hard work and diligence. I am grateful for the guidance, mentorships, and friendships I’ve had at DOS.

Take us through a typical day at work.

Before the release of our publications, we gather, verify, and process the data provided by source agencies. Once data have been processed, we tabulate, analyse, and organise the data to present the findings in a coherent and comprehensible manner. Besides written reports, we also work with colleagues from other divisions to create infographics and interactive dashboards for visualising our data. We also service data requests from academics and researchers to support their studies and projects.

Tell us about the development opportunities in DOS.

There are plenty of rotation and secondment opportunities. DOS oversees a wide range of data across the economic, business, household, and population domains. Officers who are interested may request for deployment to other divisions for greater exposure in the different areas of statistical work. I have had the privilege of being seconded to the Ministry of Health to assist with the Covid-19 data operations in 2020.

What do you think are the qualities of a successful Statistician / DOS Officer?

Besides analytical skills, having great communication skills is a valuable trait in DOS. It is also important to be adaptable to learn new skills and statistical software.

Any advice to fresh graduates considering a career in statistics?

My advice is to gain as much experience as you can. Speak up, seek out mentors, be proactive. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Keep up the enthusiasm and give it all you have!

 

Transforming Information into Insights

Jason Tan 

Analysing and compiling data we receive is something I enjoy as it allows my team and I to share insights that give us a better understanding of our services industries.

Jason Tan, a statistician with the Business Statistics Division at DOS shares what inspired him to be a Statistician, what his work entails and what qualities are required to excel in his job.


 

Tell us more about your job.

I work with a team to collect, compile and analyse business statistics of the services industry. Our work are then published on the SingStat Website in various forms such as releases, data tables and visualisations on a quarterly and yearly basis. I also get the opportunity to support agencies and data requestors on their statistical requirements for policy planning and decision making.

What motivated you to choose this career?

I hold a degree in Applied Mathematics. Becoming a Statistician is a natural and appropriate choice to me as I wanted to apply what I have learnt in university into my career.

What are the daily challenges you face and how do you overcome them?

We obtain data from firms regularly, and need to ensure that the data received are reliable and do not contain errors. As it is time-consuming to check in with every firm that responded, we leverage administrative records to cross check their reported data where available, instead of recontacting every firm detected to have suspected errors.

Which aspect of your job do you enjoy most?

Analysing and compiling data we receive is something I enjoy as it allows my team and I to share insights that give us a better understanding of our services industries.

Describe DOS’ working culture.

My colleagues make working in DOS an enjoyable experience. Other than work, activities like Active Day and individual Divisional Retreats are also organised for officers to gather and unwind.

Take us through a typical day at work.

Close to the data publication, we will focus our energies on analysing and compiling the data. We may check with respondents or use administrative data for verification of the data trends. Other days, we may engage in active discussions with other agencies to understand their data needs so that we provide the appropriate advice and effective support.

Tell us about development opportunities in DOS.

DOS frequently organises internal workshops as well as sharing of the latest methodologies and what other divisions have working on. On top of internal workshops to deepen my technical knowledge, we also have opportunities to go for courses to develop soft skills.

DOS also offers many opportunities for officers to rotate to a different division that oversee different statistical domains. Secondment opportunities and opportunities for attachments to private agencies are available too.

What do you think are the qualities of a successful Statistician/DOS officer?

Working independently and collaborating with different teams effectively are good qualities. As we are required to look through large amount of data in our line of work, you would need to have a keen eye for detail and ability to spot patterns and trends.

Any advice to fresh graduates considering a career in statistics?

Always be open to learning new skills and concepts as our course of work is always evolving and officers will need to keep up with the latest developments in the statistical domain they are working on


Find out more about what we do from the Factsheet on DOS Divisions!