The Internet of Things is changing the way we interact with information and communication technology (ICT) – and it’s creating fresh demand for a different digital skill set. Yet skills development often lags behind rapid technological development, which is leading to a predicted global shortfall of some two million ICT jobs which will not be able to be filled.
Even Singapore – a regional leader in connectivity and digital transformation using ICT, according to Huawei’s recently released Global Connectivity Index 2016 – predicts a 30,000 shortfall in qualified candidates for new ICT jobs by 2020. But Singapore aims to stay ahead of this digital transformation, and the city state is taking steps to remain competitive with a highly skilled work force.
Training Singapore’s workforce of the future
Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information recently announced it will invest SGD 120 million to train ICT professionals. The Ministry expects to train 2,400 additional professionals over a three-year period.
The programme will focus on high-demand areas such as software development, data analytics, cybersecurity, and network and infrastructure. It includes: internship and mentoring programmes to 6,000 students; expanding the Infocomm Development Authority’s Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme (CITREP); and launching an Industry Preparation for pre-Graduates (iPREP) programme.
Why Singapore needs the new programme
“In order to be competitive, [recent ICT graduates in Singapore] need to have a much greater understanding, for example, of product life cycles, as the velocity of technology change is often overwhelming,” says Dan Panzica, Sr. Principal Analyst, Outsourced Manufacturing Intelligence Service at the global information provider, IHS. “Being able to understand their roles and responsibilities at each phase of the product development life cycles is critical.”
Panzica identified several topics that should be integrated into ICT training so that students and professionals have a grasp of issues such as:
- How to solve problems at the speed and pace required by the industry.
- How to work well with other disciplines.
- What happens when you are in a design phase?
- Business case studies in telecom/datacom
- Data center, component, and module technical roadmaps.
- What are the major components used in telecom/datacom.
- What changes and new developments are coming in the next 3 years, 5 years, 10 years? For example, for 5G, what components, modules, systems must be developed and when will they be ready.
- Who are the major suppliers of equipment to the industry?
“Most university graduates from Singapore, Malaysia, [and other neighboring countries] are somewhat clueless when it comes to the practical application of technology,” says Panzica. “Programs such as those just unveiled will be crucial to adding the value necessary to be competitive globally and to grow ICT efforts in the country.”
*Any opinions expressed in this article are the analyst’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of ITU.
NOTE: ITU Academy provides ICT education, training and resources to help build capacity for policymakers, regulators, and ICT managers as well as operational staff. Also, ITU and GSMA co-organized the “Asia-Pacific Digital Societies Policy Forum 2016”, which took place on 27-28 April 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. Learn more about the event here.