Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA)

Joel Fun Bo Wen

Senior Engineer (Land Systems Programme Centre)

Joel graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 2016.

As a system integrator, I play my part in ensuring that best-of-breed systems are acquired, providing unique, cutting-edge capabilities.
I wake up and get ready! My day starts with a daily dose of the latest tech news and defence blogs.
My teammates and I meet up for a brainstorming session. In DSTA, our projects pose challenging engineering problems across multiple domains spanning data analytics, robotics, cyberspace, etc., and we collaborate extensively every day. My current challenge is to design intuitive mobile applications for the Army, with reusability and interoperability in mind, so that they can be delivered quickly and well-integrated with existing operational systems. We think constantly about using technologies to create a better user experience for soldiers. In this regard, I often draw on my experiences in National Service to see things from the user perspective. The engineering knowledge from my studies at Singapore Polytechnic and NTU is highly relevant, for example, in areas such as electromagnetic interference and compatibility testing. Since joining DSTA in 2016, I have worked on a myriad of projects. These projects provide me with many opportunities to apply the latest technologies in the market, and makes for an enjoyable and exciting career. The Smart Workshop is one such project. As a team, we innovated the use of technologies such as augmented reality for training, interactive projectors for quick updates, autonomous robots to reduce manpower and process automation of administrative tasks. The goal is to optimise efficiency in the maintenance of Army vehicles, so that technicians can focus on more important tasks.
My supervisor and I have a short discussion on project updates. I enjoy the regular and open communications and her mentorship. After that, I join my colleagues for lunch. We like to use this time to relax and have light-hearted conversations. We reminisce about the time we organised a “hackathon” with our Army counterparts last year. That was one of the most memorable moments of my career! More than 100 soldiers and engineers came together in DSTA to brainstorm and co-create prototypes to transform how Army command and control works on the battlefield. I was inspired by the great ideas during the hackathon and the speed at which ideas were implemented and fielded to the soldiers.
I head out to an Army camp to conduct a system testing. My work requires me to walk on the ground. These sessions give us first-hand insights into the needs of our soldiers so that we can deliver systems that address their pain points. As DSTA practises design innovation, a Minimum Viable Product mock-up is developed to test the usefulness of our concepts with the operators, who will then provide feedback allowing for adjustment or development of features in a timely manner. The iterative approach also helps us to deliver capabilities that are user-friendly and within a relatively short period of time.
I return to the office and resume looking through design specifications furnished by contractors to ensure that it meets the Army’s operational requirements. As a system integrator, I play my part in ensuring that best-of-breed systems are acquired, providing unique, cutting-edge capabilities.
The end of another fruitful day.