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IDA supports short-term training courses to address manpower gap

According to IDA, infocomm is a fast-growing industry and it hopes more partners can help it train the people that Singapore badly needs. 

SINGAPORE: As the Republic steps up efforts to become a Smart Nation, the demand for tech professionals is greater than ever.

To help address the manpower gap, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is supporting short-term training courses to turn people from other disciplines into infocomm experts. A 10-week accelerator programme was recently conducted by US firm General Assembly (GA) and supported by IDA. 

One of the graduates of the course is Ms Esther She, who works in corporate communications. She also helps in developing apps at the financial firm she works for. However, Ms She said her lack of prior technical training was not a stumbling block.

“Before I signed up for this course, I was concerned with having to be familiar with technical terms and codings,” she said. “But after I read up the syllabus, it turns out that you don't actually need to know much about technical stuff … The good thing about this course is that new skills, software and tools are taught."

The General Assembly courses in User Experience Design Immersive and Web Development Immersive were launched last year, and its third intake will begin in May.

Another graduate of the GA Tech Bootcamp is Mr Alvinder Singh, who had no formal technology training prior to the programme. With the skills gained from the course, Mr Singh's role has expanded from business development, to working closely with engineers to develop technologies for the education sector.

He said: "I actually look at how applications can be developed from the programming perspective, understanding how users would actually use these applications, and what sort of technical requirements (are needed) to achieve that."

INCREASING DEMAND FOR EMPLOYEES WITH TECH SKILLS: IDA

IDA said infocomm is a fast-growing industry and it hopes more partners can help it train the people that Singapore badly needs.

"With increasing demand for people to be trained with new hot skills, cyber security, business analytics and software development, we would like to have more and more partners come onboard, firstly to provide training, places for people to be trained, to experience working, and for more companies like GA to come onboard," said IDA's assistant chief executive, Khoong Hock Yun.

The rapid changes in infocomm have also prompted universities in Singapore to periodically revise their courses. For instance, all students at Singapore Management University's (SMU) School of Information Systems go through a cyber security module as part of their undergraduate studies.

“We have been making cyber security a required part of our undergraduate information systems programme since the year 2004,” said the dean of SMU’s School of Information Systems, Professor Steven Miller.

He added that the university has been working with the Ministry of Home Affairs, and other Government and private sector groups in the last three years to strengthen and create a specialisation track in information security.

IDA said it will provide more details on how it will help ease the tech manpower crunch in the upcoming Committee of Supply debate.