Benecia never thought that she would develop a penchant for business analytics.
Growing up, she was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was about 10 years old, and was struggling especially with English and Chinese. In secondary school, math became her Achilles heel. She would often flip numbers around, causing her to answer questions wrongly, despite having followed the correct mathematical steps. So, who would have thought that the business administration graduate – second in her cohort, no less – from Singapore Polytechnic would be acing the subject now?
“I never thought coding and math were for me, as I was more of a humanities person. But after trying them out, I found it fun. I enjoy looking at a bunch of ‘meaningless’ numbers and picking out something that is significant. I felt that I could use my strength in the humanities, like reading between the lines, to looking deeper into data and finding more insights,” shares Benecia.
Dyslexia was not the only challenge that the eldest of three girls faced growing up. Public speaking was an issue as well, to the point where she would freeze up and blank out when speaking in front of an audience. But she overcame that fear through constant practice. Her three years in polytechnic also helped, as part of her grades came from class participation, and she had to speak up often in class.
Having faced an uphill battle throughout most of her school life, Benecia is now motivated to help others
with learning difficulties, by teaching them how to live and learn with the condition. To do this, she aims to set up a social enterprise, maybe in five years’ time.
“I’ve come across situations where the words dyslexic and autistic are used as insults. I want to change that idea – instead of discrimination, we should embrace people for the unique strengths that they bring. Give them the support that they need to overcome the challenges that they face, so they can move on to do amazing things. I want to be at the forefront of breaking that barrier in terms of how people view dyslexics,” she enthuses.
She is now looking forward to her four-year university education at the National University of Singapore, as she hopes to become a business analyst and “bring about large-scale change and impact” in the future through data.
I’ve come across situations where the words dyslexic and autistic are used as insults. I want to change that idea – instead of discrimination, we should embrace people for the unique strengths that they bring.Benecia Tang
However, she admits that being in the STEM industry can seem quite daunting for a woman at first, given
the higher gender ratio of males to females. “When I tell my friends I’m going into business analytics and
computing, they worry that I won’t fit in as I’ll be surrounded by guys. But some people have told me that
sometimes, girls are preferred in computing because their code tends to be neater and is easier to understand. Besides, I get along better with guys than girls, so that won’t be too much of a worry for me,” says Benecia with a laugh.