Li Yan



hen Li Yan first step foot in Singapore as a little boy, English to him was an alien language. Luckily for him, he is never a shy person. If there was anything that he could not understand in class, he would raise his hand and made sure the teacher explained till he understood. His confidence was further boosted with several stage performances. With these experiences, in his own words, “nothing can scare me”. Now, Li Yan can confidently and comfortably deliver a presentation in English to any audience.

The Diploma in Information Technology graduate, who is now a Singaporean, would not have joined Singapore Polytechnic (SP) from a junior college (JC) if he did not do badly in his first year examinations. The option to repeat was not really an option. The former River Valley High School student decided that the JC route was not his passport to university and the next best alternative was to join SP, his first choice polytechnic.

The switch was a watershed. Failure became a word deleted from his vocabulary. From the first to the third year, he consistently achieved a perfect GPA score for all his examinations. To him, his academic achievement was made easy because the diploma course matched his passion in information technology.

Even before he joined SP, Li Yan was already dabbling with software writing. With his IT knowledge, it was easy for him to get selected for the Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) programme. This worldwide programme required him to share knowledge with the academic community though courses, giving presentations and initiating projects. It also gave him access to numerous benefits such as free softwares, reference materials and direct interaction with Microsoft professionals. Last year, at the Windows 7 launch at Suntec City attended by an audience of 500 full of CEOs and COOs, he made a presentation on how the new operating system accelerated his efficiency as a student. That 10-minute experience is now the most magical and memorable moment of his life.

For his final-year project, Li Yan developed a mobile learning web application that enables SP students to retrieve curriculum information such as timetable and module content. The application will soon be implemented in SP. This is but one of of several other mobile apps that he developed during his free time.

Li Yan was recently awarded the Kent Ridge Undergraduate Scholarship (Merit) from the National University of Singapore to pursue a degree in Information Systems. Upon his graduation, he hopes to become a Developer Evangelist with Microsoft.

Are we seeing a local equivalent of Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg in the making?

Awards won:

Low Guan Onn Gold Medal
IDA Gold Medal
Microsoft Singapore Award
Shell Companies in Singapore Prize
Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Prize