Wayne Yan: En Route to Cybersecurity

by Wen Sin Lim
Wayne Yan is Cybersecurity Project Manager at Responsible Cyber. He is responsible for guiding the team to complete key deliverables on time and bridging expectations between clients, product owner and the development team. 

1.  What motivated you to pursue a career in this field and how did you get started in this industry?

Ever since my engineering days, I've always been fascinated by technology, curious about how things work. It was as I contemplated a mid-career change that I truly entertained a career in a different industry – one that involved tech. To that end, I needed to upskill, hence I enrolled myself in a traineeship program where I was assigned a mentor who would later offer me a full-time position at her company. This mentor was Magda.

2. Does your work at RCPL align with your personal and/or professional goals? Please elaborate.

Overall, my work at RCPL aligns with my personal and professional goals of expanding my knowledge and skills in the tech industry. It has allowed me to learn about the development of a tech app first-hand. Since I work closely with the developers, I get to grasp the technical aspects of the field as I go along. This incremental approach has been especially helpful for me since it allows me to gain knowledge the fastest way, through a first-hand experience.

3. In your opinion, how does your role contribute to the success of the IMMUNE product and RCPL as a whole?

In my role, I serve as a bridge between our clients, the product owner, and the development team. It all starts with understanding the requirements of our clients, then effectively communicating these needs to the product owner, before breaking down the discussion into deliverables that the development team can work on.

Key to this role is mediating any differences that may arise between different parties. I always strive to find a solution that satisfies everyone involved; Failing which, I try to get the different parties to meet each other halfway.

Finally, I work closely with each and every team member to resolve any queries they may have along the way and to ensure that they stay on track and deliver on specific functionalities on time so that the product is ultimately delivered successfully, and all our stakeholders are happy.

4. Do you find your work at RCPL rewarding? Please elaborate.

When we deliver a final product that meets or exceeds our clients' expectations, there’s definitely the sense of achievement that is indeed very gratifying, but more than anything, it's a great feeling to know that our hard work has produced a product that adds value to our clients' businesses.  

5. What has been the biggest challenge(s) you’ve faced while working on the IMMUNE product, and how did you overcome them?

A particularly tricky challenge I’ve had to face while working on the IMMUNE product is dealing with clients who are uncertain about their product requirements (or what they want IMMUNE to do for them). Often, this culminates in confusion for both parties and ultimately, us presenting a solution that doesn't meet expectations.

To overcome this, we have developed IMMUNE as a flexible solution that can be applied to different use cases with small customisations. This approach has worked well because it allows us to serve clients with a variety of needs and preferences without exhausting our manpower.

6. Has RCPL supported your professional development? Please elaborate.

RCPL, or should I say Magda, has been extremely supportive of my professional development. She takes the time to check in with me from time to time to see how things are going and to understand my motivations and career goals. When I expressed interest in picking up hard skills in the domain of cloud security, she not only gave valuable feedback and resources for reference, but also made arrangements to enable me to pursue those interests.

What’s more, I've heard that she’s sent some of our colleagues to take certification courses and collaborate with other companies, all of which suggests that there’s a strong emphasis on personal and professional growth at RCPL.

7. What do you think sets RCPL and/or the IMMUNE product apart from other companies and/or products in the industry?

As project manager, I can safely say that IMMUNE is unlike most third-party risk management software in that it is designed to cater specifically to the needs of our clients and address real problems instead of superficial issues. We put the focus on understanding the requirements of our clients and we develop the product accordingly instead of marketing it as a one-size-fits-all solution.

I believe this product has the potential to be a game-changer in the industry, especially as we’re making headway integrating the predictive capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

8. Can you share a project or accomplishment that you are particularly proud of while working on the IMMUNE product at RCPL?

One project that I am particularly proud of while working on the IMMUNE product at RCPL was when I collaborated with the team to deliver a successful training session for our clients. It was fulfilling to see the attendees respond as positively as they did, expressing their enthusiasm for future product developments and volunteering invaluable feedback and suggestions for improvement.

The whole exercise demonstrated the impact of our work, and seeing the results of our efforts and the satisfaction of our clients was incredibly rewarding.

9. How would you describe the company culture at RCPL?

At RCPL, the team is extremely open with one another, so much so the people feel less like colleagues and more like family. And to quote Dominic Toretto (a.k.a Vin Diesel), “the most important thing in life will always be family". We are encouraged to share our concerns and difficulties with each other, rather than keeping them to ourselves, which helps us work through challenges together and avoid potentially huge fallouts.  

Magda is also great at motivating us and keeping team spirits high – we sometimes have gatherings at her place, where we simply eat, drink, and just hang out as a team.  

At work, she shares both good and bad news with us, achievements and milestones, as well as setbacks so we always know where we stand (practically) and how close we are to succeeding. This kind of transparency and communication is really important in my personal opinion, and it contributes to a culture of trust and mutual support.

10. What are some of the activities or hobbies that you enjoy outside of work, and how do they help you recharge and refresh?

Walking is great for clearing my mind after work, so I like to go on nature trails occasionally during the weekends. Once, I even bumped into a colleague, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise. On weekdays, I try to take short cycles in the neighbourhood park to take a break from staring at the computer screen for too long.

I enjoy watching movies and spending time with good company. Sometimes, I take a mini road trip to Malaysia over long weekends to immerse myself in the scenery and a slower pace of life. Admittedly though, the traffic can be frustrating at times.

I also like to read articles off the net of different topics to stay informed of the world.  

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