“Apple or Samsung? iPad or Tablet?”
“Use cloud computing, Dropbox and Squirrel.”
“Which is more fashionable? Zappos, Zalora and the lack of zzzz?”
“Are they familiar or foreign? It really depends on who you are.”
If you are a techie, you are probably reading this in myStarjob.com on your iPad. If you are wondering what is fashionable about Zappos or Zalora then you are probably reading this in the Saturday edition of The Star Classified.
Woon Tai Hai, Pikom’s chairman
Like it or not, ICT has taken over our lives and how we live today. Underlying this change in ICT consumption and lifestyle is the game changing MSC Initiative. Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), presided at the policy making core whilst working closely with Pikom, the national ICT association representing over 1,500 companies, to sow the seeds of the ICT Age.
Muhammad Imran Kunalan, general manager of Talent Division, MDeC
Today, Malaysia has become home to more than 250 world-class ICT companies in ICT manufacturing and ICT services. The liberalisation of the telco industry which led to a boom in broadband use and ownership of smart gadgets has created a rapid growing e-commerce industry. A slew of ICT-related industries thrive and give rise to more employment opportunities for ICT graduates and professionals.
According to Woon Tai Hai, Pikom’s chairman, “the demand for ICT jobs remains high.”
“It is projected to grow by leaps and bounds with increasing ICT phenomena such as cloud computing, provision of e-services, e-commerce, big data analytics, broadband services, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Content as a Service (CaaS), computer games, IT forensics, and Internet of Things,” Woon explained.
Muhammad Imran Kunalan, general manager of MDeC talent division, echoed similar sentiments. In the past, MDeC would train ICT talents when the demand for certain specialisation such as SAP developers were needed.
“Now we plan development of talents in a more sustainable manner,” he shared. “We work with the Higher Education Ministry and the Human Resources Ministry to carry out strategic studies on supply and demand for ICT talents.”
“So far, we have done two studies in 2009 and 2011 to capture the market outlook for ICT talents. In the latest study, we found that there is a demand of about 27% for ICT talents from 2010 to 2013.”
Imran said the development of talents for the ICT industry which started four years ago is a sustainable programme as it is targeted at different segments of the population. MDeC has started an awareness programme on ICT Career Choices, starting at tertiary level and last year, the road shows were taken to secondary schools nationwide.
According to Imran, one of MDeC’s strategies to produce the next generation of talents for digital transformation is to work with ICT partner companies to do show-and-tell road shows.
“The kids got really excited when they met creators of Upin & Ipin,” Imran recalled. “Many have seen the cartoons and the road shows, which have created enthusiasm and a sense of wanting to pursue a career in movie-making.”
According to Woon, institutes of higher learning (IHLs) must keep up with new technological changes and revise curricular on a regular basis to be aligned with industry’s needs. IHLs must produce ICT graduates with degrees reflecting the right technical knowledge and skills, so as to ensure a good fit between ICT graduates and the industry expectations. Over the years salaries certainly have increased to reflect this growing demand for ICT talents. As reported by Pikom, salary for ICT talents “has risen from RM5,626 in 2010 to RM6,280 in 2011, a rise of 10.9%.”
Emphasis will be put on creation of high-value jobs in services sub-sectors like Creative Multimedia Content, Shared Services Outsourcing and Information Technology. Efforts like Tele-health, Smart Schools, e-Government, Cloud Computing and e-Commerce are already creating more opportunities for ICT graduates to be innovative.
Woon stressed that whilst ICT jobs were still highly sought after in many sectors, soft skills such as communication skills were just as important in delivering a technical job.