New career in tech begins with IMDA’s TechSkills Accelerator

Technology has been a key driver in helping businesses operate more efficiently, and many organisations have incorporated new technological solutions in their operations over the years — from automation to artificial intelligence (AI). The Covid-19 pandemic has further accentuated how these tech-powered solutions make businesses work smarter while pivoting and adapting to the new normal in the business landscape.

From remote working arrangements to online platforms, the introduction of new technologies has opened many new job roles and opportunities. It is paramount that workers seek to upgrade their knowledge and skills to be more prepared for the future, especially in the post-Covid-19 world.

But the prospect of diving headfirst into the tech sector can be daunting if you’ve been pursuing an education in a different field, or if you’re making the switch halfway through your career. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways for fresh university graduates and mid-career professionals to take the plunge and meet the burgeoning demand for jobs in the infocomm sector.

TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) Mid-Career Advance and Company-Led Training (CLT) programmes, driven by IMDA, provide candidates with the opportunity to learn the right skills for a career in tech.

The CLT programme aims to accelerate professional development through on-the-job training programmes for fresh to mid-level professionals with qualifications in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or related disciplines.

TeSA Mid-Career Advance programme aims to help Singaporean mid-career professionals aged 40 and above, to reskill or upskill themselves so that they can pursue a tech-related career.

Find out more from two candidates who have made the leap to embark on a new career path. 

From business management to data analytics

While Mr Zainul Alqadri pursued a degree in Business Management and a diploma in Food Science Nutrition, he discovered that his true interest was in data analytics as a result of an internship experience at Oddle that allowed him to work with operational data — data produced from day to day operations. Together with the time spent in the Singapore Institute of Management, University of London’s Data Analysis Club, Mr Zainul’s passion for data analytics grew.

After graduating from university, the 27-year-old decided that getting a career in tech was something that called out to him, and IMDA’s CLT programme provided the match he sought.

“As a Business student then, I knew it would be hard to get the job I wanted once I graduated, so I had to find ways to upgrade myself,” Mr Zainul says. “Through a Google search, I found all kinds of courses, from bootcamps to Massive Open Online Courses. It was then that I chanced upon IMDA’s CLT programme.”

The CLT programme provides structured training which aligns with the Skills Framework for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) — a guide for individuals, employers and training providers to promote ICT skills and lifelong learning jointly developed by IMDA and SkillsFuture Singapore — and helps candidates develop tech skills in areas such as AI, cybersecurity, data analytics, and more.

As a trainee in SAS — a United States data analytics company — through the CLT programme, Mr Zainul picked up new skills and gained exposure to different perspectives through his interaction with other trainees from different disciplines. He and fellow trainees studied and collaborated on group projects, building teamwork and togetherness which helped him get through the 12-month programme.

“We had people who studied Engineering, IT, Finance, and Statistics. Put them all together in one room and we’re like the Avengers, all with different strengths,” Mr Zainul says.

Thanks to the programme’s comprehensive training, he gained valuable knowledge and skills along with in-depth industry exposure, which in turn enabled him to take on new challenges in the field of data analytics. The programme also provides a monthly allowance for trainees. After completing the course in March 2009, Mr Zainul went on to become a credit risk analyst at an international bank after a six-month stint in digital analytics. He recommends the CLT programme for anyone willing to make the leap to a new tech-related career.

Never too late to start a new journey

Also making an entry into the booming tech sector is Ms Tay Bee Hong. She used to be a commercial services analyst at a global colour and specialty chemicals company, but after leaving her job, she felt that it was time for a change from her previous role and ventured into the field of tech as her next career choice.

Ms Tay saw an ad on a job portal for Tunity Technologies — a leading radio-frequency identification technology (RFID) company — and came across the Mid-Career Advance programme during the job interview. The programme proved to be the crucial stepping stone to help her get started in her new role as a business analyst in April this year, as it provided the right training and mentorship for someone with limited experience in the role.

While she has had some experience in data analytics in her previous position as a commercial services analyst, the programme equipped her with knowledge about technological hardware such as RFID and helped her better understand the organisational structure at Tunity to help her make the transition to become a business analyst. She is currently involved in business development where she evaluates performance, and change management, where key issues like changes to processes, job roles, and organisational structures are addressed.

“The best part of this programme, which is conducted over a span of 24 months, is that it allowed me to multi-task effectively between my family and career commitments,” the 51-year-old says. 

“I gained real insights of how an infocomm company like Tunity works, understanding the operations and how RFID technology can diversify into other activities to supplement other industries.”

More importantly, Ms Tay was also able to gain valuable on-the-job training, which allowed her to learn from a mentor and work on live projects where she had the opportunity to implement what she learnt in her classes. 

Having the right mindset to adapt and learn new skills is all that matters, she adds. 

“It is always a challenge to learn and understand a new skill at the start, especially when the past 25 years of my working experience were not in a tech environment. But I’m confident that these tech skills, once learned and honed, can lead one to any success one may strive for.”

For Ms Tay, applying for Mid-Career Advance was a great choice as it allowed her to seamlessly transition to a new role and helped her enter a forward-looking industry filled with innovation.

She says: “I would definitely recommend this programme to anyone who is looking to make a mid-career switch to tech. I think many people will benefit from this programme and I urge mid-career switch professionals to not be afraid to commence their job search.”

Take the first step

TeSA Mid-Career Advance and CLT programmes will provide a variety of options for anyone seeking new job opportunities in the tech sector.

The former is open to Singapore Citizens aged 40 and above who have a keen interest to pursue a career in tech, while the latter requires applicants to be Singaporeans and to possess an ITE, diploma, degree or any other relevant qualifications as determined by the company.

Those looking to venture into tech-lite — catering to applicants without ICT background or experience — roles such as business analysts or deep tech roles such as software engineers can consider the TeSA Mid-Career Advance programme. For those who wish to  develop skills in emerging areas such as 5G, Internet of Things and cloud computing, the CLT programme would be ideal.

Want to find out if you’re eligible? Visit https://www.imda.gov.sg/imtalent/programmes/TeSA-Mid-Career and https://www.mda.gov.sg/imtalent/programmes/clt to find out more about the TeSA Mid-Career Advance and CLT programmes.

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