Featured in ST – Jobs that didn’t exist 15 years ago

I’ve been featured in ST today, page 2 & 3 of Life section.


From an app to determine the time one’s bus will arrive to an immersive virtual reality app for a property firm – these are some of the products by home-grown digital marketing and mobile app development house Originally Us.

It is among several Singapore firms that develop apps, which emerged after the mass adoption of smartphones in the late 2000s.

Co-founded by Mr Calixto Tay Wei Kiat, 27, it has created more than 30 apps for hospitality groups, property firms and government agencies since starting last year.

One of its most successful apps is SG BusLeh, which informs users how long it will take for their bus to arrive and displays the approximate physical location of the bus.

Launched in May, the free app is the highest-rated bus app from Singapore on the Android store. It is also available on iOS.

Mr Tay, who is married with no children, says: “We are quite proud of this app because it is practical and relevant to the local market. Some users say it is funny because it uses some Singlish terms. We hope to create more apps like this.”

He is working on another app that functions as a mobile point- of-sale system built for food and beverage establishments.

Instead of having waiters scribble orders on paper, the orders can be entered into the app on a mobile device and the information relayed directly to the kitchen.

Mr Tay’s interest in software design started in his school days. In Secondary 1, he wrote codes to make his computer do things such as automatically open the CD drive or specific browsers.

And while doing project work, he wrote a program similar to Google Docs, which allowed his classmates and him to edit the same document at the same time.

He says: “I just love programming. If you know the right codes, you can basically program a device to do anything.”

After graduating summa cum laude (with highest distinction) from the Singapore Management University with a degree in information systems management two years ago, he was the IT manager in a food company briefly before starting Originally Us.

The firm employs 10 staff, including three project managers and four other app developers.

Mr Tay says his job is to transform a client’s ideas into a working, useful and well-designed mobile app.

About 80 per cent of his work involves coding new functions for apps. The rest goes towards testing the functions and fixing issues.

People underestimate the time and manpower needed to build an app, he adds.

“The reality is that creating an app takes anything from a month to a year, depending on its complexity. It also often takes two or more people as we are experts in different areas of app creation.”

Finally, Mr Tay has a note of caution for wannabe app developers: “You have to really love codes and devices because those are what you will be looking at all the time.”


Thanks for the awesome writeup, Benson!

Photo Credits: ST/Chew Seng Kim
Thanks for the awesome photo, Mr Chew!



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