MDEC introduces its all-women Data Science and AI department team

  • Five graduates are part of Digital for Malaysia Associate Programme
  • Participation of new talents vital to help MDEC make digital leap

MDEC's Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) department. From left: Nur Afiqah, Quratul Ain, Nasya Azureen, Nabilah, and Farah NabillahThe Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has introduced its all-women team in its newly-formed Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) department. The announcement was made celebrating the International Women’s Day.

In a statement, MDEC said that the appointments are a continuation of the Digital for Malaysia Associate Programme (DMAP), which provides opportunities for new graduates in the fields of digital technology, data science and AI to gain digital work experience in these fields

The five graduates are Nabilah Mohd Akhir, a Masters Degree holder in Data Science from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM); Quratul Ain Aadnan Masters Degree in Data Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM); Farah Nabillah Mohamed Jizad, Masters Degree in Data Science (UiTM); Nasya Azureen Sailor, who graduated with a degree in Cognitive Science from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS); and Nur Afiqah Hashim, a Data Engineering graduate from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

“I am both very proud and delighted to introduce this all-women team at our newly-created Data Science and Artificial Intelligence department which furthers our constant drive to leverage on new technologies to bring relevant and market-driven products and services. I believe education and engagement are two pillars of a strong female technology workforce. In Malaysia, women make up 35% of the technology workforce,” said Surina Shukri, chief executive officer (CEO) of MDEC.

“Promoting women leadership in technology is also essential. Being a woman in a non-traditional leadership role myself, I understand the challenges that we face but we are pleased of the advancement that we continue to make at MDEC in bridging the gender divide and it reflects our commitment to ensure a shared prosperity for all in line with the visions of the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDigital),” she added.

According to The World Bank report, women make up less than 40% of the total global workforce while according to McKinsey, a diverse workforce tend to perform better.

“The participation of new talents, including from among graduates with digital and data science skillsets, will definitely contribute towards this agency in making the digital leap. It is also in line with the second component of Malaysia 5.0 which is to adopt, add value and produce digital and technological transformation in the era of Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0),” said Rais Hussin, chairman of MDEC.

“All these components are combined to produce a strong team that supports each other and in turn enables MDEC to accelerate digitalisation efforts.”

The important components

Based on the AI Readiness Index by the International Research Development Centre (IDRC) and Oxford Insights released last year, Malaysia is ranked 28th with a score of 63.66 involving the readiness to use data science and AI for healthcare, education and transportation sectors and is ahead of Brunei (49th), Thailand (60th), Indonesia (62nd), Philippines (74th) and Vietnam at (76th) position.

This achievement, MDEC noted, is parallel with the aspirations of the government which has identified six clusters namely economy, digital talent, community, data and digital infrastructure, emerging technology and government as the driving components in the digital economy and Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) agenda and the introduction MyDigital.

One of the graduates, Nabilah Mohd Akhir, said she is excited to join the Data Science and AI division at MDEC as it is a great opportunity for her to gain experience in the digital technology sector which currently plays an important role in the country's economic growth.

“MDEC has various initiatives to drive the growth of the country's digital economy. I am confident that the knowledge obtained at the university can be applied here in the various fields such as creative digital content, business digitization, financial technology and digital investment. This is because scientific data will lead to the management and creation of smart technology in line with the progress of the IR4.0 era," she added.

Nasya Azureen, meanwhile said Cognitive Science is comprised of multiple disciplines and AI is one of the fields she specialises in.

“Data and AI are two important components in achieving the MDEC and Malaysia 5.0 agenda. Therefore, by being part of the data team, this will enable me to use my knowledge on data science as well as contribute to the team in the data aspects," she said.

Also sharing her excitement was Farah Nabillah, who said technology will continue to grow exponentially while data can offer various benefits in terms of formulating plans and drive the digital economy.

"Through data analytics, we can focus on identifying the key areas to better plan, formulate and implement a successful business strategy. Digital is key and I look forward to contributing towards achieving the goals of the nation," she added.

Quratul Ain said that data-based information plays an important role in improving the efficiency and effectiveness related to the management and allocation of resources.

“I am interested in data science because it is a key element to make things work in the most effective way and to help increase profits of enterprises and also contributes to the economy, country and people," she further added.

The digital economy is expected to continue its significant contribution to the country this year, based on an estimated 20% contribution to the GDP in 2020 by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, following a forecast of 6.7% economic growth for 2021 by the World Bank.

In fact, with the launch of MyDigital, the expected contributions – by 2025 – from the digital economy towards the GDP is an estimated 22.6%.


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