Producing ICT specialists for the 21st century workforce
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Producing ICT specialists for the 21st century workforce

Producing ICT specialists for the 21st century workforce

Information and Communications Technology’s (ICT) meteoric rise in recent years can only mean that such advances will continue to be further embedded in our personal and professional lives, especially as we delve further into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Coupled with the rise of new tech waves such as cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence, which are poised to drive ICT innovation, this means graduates and future professionals in the field must be equipped with the skills needed to solve 21st century problems and evolve with future industry demands.

ICT’s importance can be felt in just about any industry. Factors such as the rise in global internet usage, affordable mobile devices flooding the market and the increasing popularity of streaming platforms can translate to rising demand for animation and visual effects (VFX) content, be it for entertainment or things like advertising, cutting through a saturated market. Meanwhile, as companies adopt more technology into their operations, more talent is needed in managing their information systems and the like, fuelling the need for professionals in the field.

The European Commission estimates that Europe faces a shortage of around 756,000 ICT professionals by 2020. Meanwhile, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for computer and ICT occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. They add that these occupations will add some 557,100 new jobs, with demand for such workers stemming from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data and information security.

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Source: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

To stand out from the crowd, fresh graduates or working professionals looking to enhance their skills and knowledge in the technology realm may want to consider pursuing postgraduate studies in the field. Here are four universities worth considering:

WELLINGTON ICT GRADUATE SCHOOL (WICTGS) – NEW ZEALAND

This School is nestled in Wellington, a thriving capital city with a vibrant tech culture. Prospective ICT postgraduates can find unique offerings at the School, which is led by Victoria University of Wellington. Depending on the programme chosen, WICTGS’s courses are applicable to students with or without tech backgrounds – including individuals looking to upskill.

For instance, the School’s Master of Software Development programme is designed for people from non-tech backgrounds to help springboard them into the industry. Students learn core programming skills and concepts from respected lecturers before applying them in paid internships where they work on real-world projects with local businesses.

Those with a tech background looking to amplify their arsenal of skills may find the Master of Design Technology ideal. This tech-centric programme prepares students to launch their career in VFX, film, animation, XR or gaming by building on the skills acquired in an undergraduate degree focused on digital technology. This elite programme also helps students build their portfolio through industry connections with university partners, including big names like Weta, Technicolor Academy and SideFX/Houdini.

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Source: Wellington ICT Graduate School

Wellington ICT Graduate School, also, offers a Master of User Experience Design and a Master of Professional Business Analysis for those wanting to expand their skillsets.

To boot, future students will benefit from WICTGS’s hands-on approach; all programmes here were created with input from the tech industry, while lecturers are also seasoned professionals who have worked in the industry, published papers and have connections. The School also offers pastoral care and professional development to ensure students enjoy a seamless transition into their respective tech roles.

FACULTY OF ENGINEERING, THE HONG KONG POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY (POLYU) – HONG KONG

International students keen on advancing their knowledge and skills in computing-related disciplines may want to consider doing so at PolyU in vibrant Hong Kong.

The university’s prowess in computing-related disciplines is undisputed. It was ranked 51-100th globally in Computer Science and Information Systems in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2019.

PolyU’s Faculty of Engineering houses the Department of Computing, which offers a host of postgraduate programmes including the MSc in Information Technology and MSc in Information Systems, among others.

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Source: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The MSc in Information Technology provides students with the latest knowledge in information technology for immediate or future applications in their current or future profession. It acts as a bridging programme for professionals with science and engineering backgrounds to acquire core and applied knowledge in IT. This enables students to build a strong foundation in core concepts, reinforced by solving IT problems through well-constructed projects. Graduates leave prepared to work in roles such as IT manager, IT consultant, IT project officer and IT-related engineer.

SCHOOL OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, MONASH UNIVERSITY – MALAYSIA

Monash Malaysia is among the best universities in the country for the study of IT, with its plethora of programmes and solid rankings bolstering its reputation.

The university prides itself for preparing work-ready graduates, emphasising practical skills and experience through industry partnerships and hands-on experiences such as placements or even year-long collaborative projects, depending on the programme chosen.

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Source: Monash University Malaysia

Prospective students can choose from postgraduate coursework programmes such as the Master of Business Information Systems (MBIS), which fuses business studies with IT. The programme is ideal for students with a degree in any discipline, giving them an understanding of business information systems to a level of depth consistent with senior professional practice. The IT skills gained during the programme can prove useful with the rise of mobile apps, wearable technologies, Internet of Things and data science, among others.

The programme also prepares students for roles such as senior business management, business analyst, systems analyst, project leader, as well as information manager, archivists or librarian.

Meanwhile, those interested in research and development can pursue a Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy programme here.

SCHOOL OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE – AUSTRALIA

Located in Australia, the University of Adelaide is consistently ranked in the top one percent of the world’s universities and is recognised globally as a leading research university. Adelaide’s School of Computer Science is widely acknowledged for its quality of teaching, research and graduates.

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Source: University of Adelaide

Here, future postgraduate students can choose from diverse areas of study. This includes the Master of Computing and Innovation a two-year programme designed to build the communication, project management and innovation skills needed to thrive in a growing IT industry. Students will undertake a specialised introductory IT programme in their first semester, learn C++ language and programming as well as build management and innovation skills through core courses.

Graduates can take on a wide range of IT-based roles, such as a computer scientist, web developer or tech entrepreneur across a range of industries, be it the government or private sector.

Among the university’s other relevant programmes include the Master of Data Science, which helps students develop core skills in programming, mathematics and data science; learn how data science techniques can drive changes in organisations, industries and communities, and much more.

*Some of the universities featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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