- Combination of technical and soft skills needed for career advancement
- 70% willing to put their own money down to improve their skills
ONE in two information and communication technology (ICT) professionals in Singapore feel the need to equip themselves with additional skills to compete in the fast-paced ICT sector, according to the Singapore Computer Society’s (SCS) annual Infocomm Media Industry Survey.
Local ICT professionals cite both technical areas such as data analytics (29%), and people and project management skills (39%), as key areas needed to further support their career development, SCS said in a statement.
Furthermore, 37% of respondents aged 36-50 feel the greatest need to equip themselves with such skills, followed by respondents aged 50 and above (30%) and respondents aged 21-35 (28%).
The Infocomm Media Industry Survey 2016 was conducted by CusJo with 1,000 ICT professionals aged 18 to 70 years, between March and April 2016.
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Fast-changing ICT sector
The survey findings on employability and sentiment come amid an increased focus on the importance of the ICT sector to business development and as the Singapore Government drives its Smart Nation initiative to transform the economy, SCS said.
Furthermore, due to the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), expertise in the fields of data analytics and user experience design are now highly sought after across the region.
According to global market research firm Technavio, spending on Asia Pacific ICT infrastructure is expected to exceed US$206 billion by 2020, and Singapore is recognised as one of the countries driving this growth.
Data from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) shows that the island-republic’s ICT industry revenue grew by 15.7% from 2009 to 2014, hitting S$167.1 billion (US$123.8 billion) in 2014.
Based on the IDA’s Annual Survey on Infocomm Manpower 2015, companies indicated that there will be an additional 53,000 ICT positions required across the Singapore economy by 2018.
However, while there is robust growth in ICT industries driven by rapid technological advancements affecting a wide range of sectors, a significant proportion of ICT professionals in Singapore feel inadequate and uncertain about the required industry skills and knowledge, SCS said.
According to its survey, in addition to data analytics (29%), other technical skills that respondents feel are crucial for their success are security engineering and management (14%), requirement gathering and process design (10%), and infrastructure architecture and support (10%).
In terms of soft skills, in addition to people and project management (39%), respondents cited IT business development (15%), information management (14%), and green management (8%) as skills they believe they need to remain competitive in the ICT driven economy.
“Key emerging areas such as data analytics and cybersecurity are just some of the skills in which IT professionals can seek to be proficient even as companies invest in such technologies for the long term,” said SCS president Howie Lau.
How much ICT pros are willing to spend
According to the SCS survey, 53% of respondents feel their organisations are doing a ‘good to great’ job in helping ICT professionals upgrade their skills.
By investing in human capital, businesses are better able to retain their competitive edge to meet the changing demands of the global digital economy.
Respondents also believe that it is important to upgrade their skills to stay relevant in the technology-driven economy. More than 70% say they are willing to spend up to S$2,000 (about US$1,500) of their own money annually to upgrade their skills and knowledge.
“It's heartening to note that many technology workers already recognise this need to evolve with the changing demands of businesses and society,” said Lau (pic).
“They are serious and even willing to put their money where their mouth is to attain the relevant certifications,” he added.
This finding also underscores the government’s focus in encouraging individuals to take ownership of their own learning, SCS said.
With the rollout of the SkillsFuture Credit earlier this year, individuals will be able to defray the out-of-pocket cost of training courses.
SkillsFuture Credit aims to encourage individuals to take ownership of their skills development and lifelong learning. All Singaporeans aged 25 and above will receive an opening credit of S$500 from January 2016.
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