Covid-19, along with its unpredictable shifts in the job market, has shown us that it will be wise to diversify your skills.
Or at least upgrade or pick up new skills as part of a contingency plan to stay relevant to the market.
So why should you consider picking up skills in tech now?
From automation to e-commerce, understanding the possibilities that technology can bring to the table is important because they are potentially revolutionary.
Just take a look at the transport sector, and how it has been transformed in the past decade with the rise of ride-hailing and sharing services.
That overhaul would not have been possible without leveraging technology.
“Today, digital tech savvy people are sought-for people,” said Robin Gustafsson, an associate professor at Aalto University in Finland.
Furthermore, tech is evolving rapidly -- if you’re not keeping up, you’re falling behind.
The trend of digitalisation is gathering pace, according to one key finding in SkillsFuture Singapore’s report on “Skills Demand for the Future Economy”.
The future of work will be deeply intertwined with technology.
And therefore it is no surprise that the tech industry is more relevant than ever, with skills in tech greatly in demand.
When it comes to these skills, it’s not all-or-nothing either.
Even if you’re not looking for a job in tech, the majority of job roles in Singapore are “tech-lite” -- although they do not require specialised deep tech skills, these roles still require the ability to understand new technologies such as automation, robotics, data analytics for application and communication purposes.
Acquiring skills in tech
So what are the options for getting your foot in the tech door, and for picking up these skills?
Today, learning resources are more diverse and there are now many more opportunities for one to join this industry in various roles, said Lim Kwan Hui, an Assistant Professor at the Information Systems Technology and Design Pillar at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
A more traditional and formal way would be studying a degree in the respective area, which remains an important path for acquiring these skill sets.
Even so, in this quick-changing field, you need to always be picking up new technical skills, and remaining relevant is an uphill climb.
The more casual self-learning approach includes reading up on online resources like technical blogs and websites, or attending tutorials on sites like Coursera, edX and Udemy.
While accessible, this approach can be a challenge for tech newbies to demonstrate that they possess the right skill set and relevant experience, said Lim.
And there is also an increasing emphasis for one to show that they have the skill sets to fulfil the requirements for a specific role.
One good way of demonstrating this is with upskilling and reskilling courses from Institutes of Higher Learning, which can stack towards a micro-credential and even full qualification.
Another disadvantage to self-learning is that they have little or no inputs from instructors and may not be meeting specific learning needs of students.
For a more structured and guided learning experience, Aalto Executive Education Academy (Aalto EE) and SUTD’s adult learning arm, SUTD Academy, have partnered to offer ModularMaster Certificate in Technology and Management.
Aalto University is located in Finland, the third most advanced European country in the digitalization of businesses, according to the European Commission.
In the area of ICT and digitalisation, Aalto University has performed consistently well among its European peers, according to a number of university rankings.
Aalto University’s experience in digitalisation can be seen from their real-life partnerships too. For example, it was announced in September that it would be working closely with Huawei to develop a Digital Finance and Security Innovation Lab to provide secure digital financial services.
This course is developed and taught by instructors who will be able to guide the participants in their learning, with a focus on hands-on activities.
To enhance its applicability, the projects will be relevant to the participants’ work domain, and the modules in the course can also be taken individually based on their needs.
“The major component of the applied learning project is also spread out over a period of time, with consultations with the instructors being catered for,” said Lim.
While it is open to all, the course targets business leaders, entrepreneurs, senior executives and PMEs who are interested in picking up skills relevant to the tech industry or enhancing their job role.
The assessments and projects in the modules are open-ended, so participants can formulate problem statements and design solutions relevant to their background, job areas and/or interests.
Students will understand both the potential impacts of these technologies, and how they can be best used to streamline operations in their companies.
Students can expect to learn how to deal with different types of data, and apply data science and AI techniques in business settings.
“There are no prerequisites for the course, and no previous programming or coding experience is needed, so beginners in tech are most welcomed to join,” said Lim.
Skills in data science and artificial intelligence
The aim of the course is to impart core digital and technology skills relevant for “tech-lite” roles, so as to boost participants’ confidence in leading and managing their organisation as the economy transcends towards a Digital Economy.
Students will learn how to formally formulate an appropriate problem statement and apply the appropriate algorithm or model to solve the problem.
They will also learn to conduct experiments to validate the results, and analyse, discuss and present the results.
The programme is a hybrid of in-class classes, live webinars, hands-on lab sessions, and bite-sized videos.
“There is a significant amount of flexibility when it comes to the webinars, labs and projects, so that they could be managed according to the participants schedules”, said Lim, who will be teaching in two of the courses.
The course offers a range of modules, and students can choose to take one or a few modules if they only wish to brush up their skills in selected areas.
Each module will take four days of lessons and one day of project presentation at the end.
Students will receive the certificate after completing six of the seven modules available:
- Leading Digital Strategy and Transformation
- Data Science and Decision Making
- Innovation by Design
- Artificial Intelligence for Managers
- Managing Digital Design and Manufacturing
- Robotics and Automation
- Cybersecurity and Managing Risks
How do you decide what modules to take? Here’s a quick tip from Lim:
“One way would be to look at the skill sets required for that type of role, then comparing it to the learning outcomes of the different courses to find the one with the best match.”
Students can take up to two years to complete all required modules to obtain the ModularMaster Certificate in Technology and Management Certificate.
Subsidised with SkillsFuture
The programme combines the tech expertise from both universities, Aalto University and SUTD.
The course was designed in line with SkillsFuture Singapore’s Critical Core Skills for the Future of Work.
The certificates are subsidised by SkillsFuture for Singapore citizens and permanent residents.
Sign up here. Registration for the first module, Leading Digital Strategy and Transformation, closes on Jan. 13 2022.
Top photo by SUTD.
This article is sponsored by Aalto EE and SUTD.