Note: This is NOT a sponsored post; we do not receive any incentive from DBS for publishing this post. Any information in this article is either publicly available or submitted by NodeFlair users, and not provided by DBS.
In this guide, we will discuss the DBS SEED (Skill Enhancement Education & Development Programme) - a technical programme that is highly popular among fresh graduates.
We compiled the information and questions from users we interviewed and online forums. These users have all undergone the DBS SEED application process, with some of them being current and former SEEDers.
While we do our best to ensure that the content is accurate and up to date by cross-checking it with a sizable number of individuals, we acknowledge that the questions might be changed over time, or it might vary across departments and interviewers.
Skill Enhancement Education & Development Programme (SEED) is a programme of up to 24 months, designed to train a future-ready workforce able to take on any technological challenge.
What can you expect from the programme?
What are the roles offered?
Who is eligible?
There are three main interview rounds.
Only shortlisted candidates are invited to the hackathon.
Disclaimer: There isn’t much information online about the cognitive assessment for recent applications. While the information below was consistent up to 2020, we cannot verify if it has changed since then. Nevertheless, we still think it helps to know the applicants they are looking for.
The PLI Test, formally known as PI Cognitive Assessment, is structured to evaluate your general cognitive capability. This includes your ability to process and implement complex information, adapt, reason, analyse, plan, and solve problems.
Just like any standard PLI test, the DBS cognitive test is divided into three main categories that are essential in measuring the individuals’ cognitive capabilities and knowledge acquisition:
It consists of 50 questions, equally distributed among the nine categories, and takes only 12 minutes to complete. Questions are of varying difficulty.
The questions are not difficult, but the real challenge lies in the short time limit you have to answer them. On average, you have less than 15 seconds to think over each question.
There will be an online coding assessment using HackerRank where you are tasked to solve some questions.
From DBS’s website, “the assessment will require you to use Java or Python.”
CODING CHALLENGE 1 (30 mins)
Given a string of lowercase letters, make the string smallest in lexicographical order by swapping its characters.
CODING CHALLENGE 2 (60 mins)
Sort numbers based on prime factorization.
Input: N = 5, Numbers = [3, 4, 8, 9, 12]
Output: 4, 8, 12, 3, 9
CODING CHALLENGE 3 (45 mins) - BONUS
Write a program which determines whether a snake (in the game Snake) wins the game or ends up eating itself
If you have made it this far, congratulations! The TechTrek hackathon is the last round of assessment for the SEED programme. As there is a lot to cover and deep-dive about how you can best prepare for the hackathon TechTrek, we have dedicated the next whole section to it!
TechTrek is a 1-day hackathon by DBS for the SEED programme. The hackathon is virtual (likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic). You will be assigned into groups of 5-6 members. An Accessor will be assigned to each group to monitor the work, progress and interactions within the group.
You will have about 6 hours to develop a solution. You have the flexibility to choose the technology stacks, but there are some recommended tech stacks - more about them in the next section.
A TechTrek Developer Handbook will be given to help you better prepare for the hackathon. This handbook includes the required skills, as well as other recommendations. Do note that the recommendations in the handbook serve as a guide and are not used for assessment purposes.
08:00 AM - Registration Meeting
The hackathon starts with a simple registration. You are required to turn on your microphone and camera and your attendance will be verified against your identification card, so have them ready and be in a well lighted and conducive environment.
09.00 AM - Event Brief
After the registration process is completed, there will be an event brief. You will be given an introduction to the hackathon and briefed on the challenge - more about the Challenge Statement in the next section.
In addition, you will be allocated to a team of 5-6 members.
10:00 AM - Ice Breakers + Commencement of the Hackathon
After a short break, you will be introduced to your team members and undergo a simple round of icebreakers - a self-introduction, which school you are from, what do you do during your free time etc.
Next, your team will get the chance to discuss and plan for the challenge, and split the workload.
About 6 hours later, the hackathon will come to an end and you will get into breakout rooms to present your work and demonstrate your product. There will also be a short round of non-technical interviews, where you are asked some simple questions, such as why you are interested in the programme.
05:15 PM - Closing Remark
It’s a wrap! There will be some sharings by the Accessors and Committees, a photo-taking session and a feedback session!
You are provided with a Challenge Statement, which includes the scope for the project, such as:
Past challenges all include creating a simplified full-stack web application:
Other useful tips shared!
We have covered a lot about the programme and what you can expect, but one question that many always ask: Is the SEED programme really good and worth applying for?
The following pointers are compiled from the feedback from people we have interviewed. Note that depending on the department you are allocated to, your experience might differ.
* According to an article by SIT-DigiPen, the programme had 2,800 applicants in the first year alone when it was first announced in 2017, and the numbers have likely gone up since then
The offer is non-negotiable and starts at $5,000.
It will be increased to $5,275, $5,900 and $6,400 at the 6, 12 and 24 months mark. We do not have verified data on this, but it is relatively consistent from what we have found out and might differ for individuals.
Considering that the 50th and 70th percentile of junior developers make $4,750 and $5,850 in monthly base salary based on our Tech Talent Compensation Report 2021/2022, the salary package is very competitive.
In addition, there will also be variable annual bonuses, which range between 2 to 4 months, depending on your department.
Other benefits include:
In addition, based on verified user submissions on NodeFlair Salaries, the average salary (compared to market's median) for DBS Software Engineers, inclusive of non-SEED employees, is:
* This data is from speaking to ex-interns from DBS as we do not have verifiable salary data.
These are the other questions that are not covered, taken from the DBS SEED website.
What type of training will I receive?
How quickly can I progress?
Do you require prior experience in the Banking industry?
Overall, it is not hard to see why the DBS SEED programme is a popular choice among fresh graduates, given the competitive salary and benefits offered. After all, DBS is one of the top 10 most popular companies in Singapore by searches, based on our research in the Tech Talent Compensation Report 2021/2022.
On the other hand, the SEED programme is not for everyone, especially those seeking a more technically challenging environment in companies like Shopee, Grab and Bytedance, which are in the top 5 most searched companies in our report. If these companies are what you are looking for, the following interview guides might be useful!
Lastly, we would like to give another round of thanks to those who have contributed to this article - this wouldn’t have been possible without their input, and we are sure the tech communities appreciate it a lot too.
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