Grooming Well-Trained IT Professionals
If you are looking to pursue your education in Infocomm Technology (ICT), SIT might just be the place to turn your head towards. We hear from the Programme Director of SIT’s ICT programmes.
Information Technology (IT) is an integral part of our lives. Almost everyone we meet owns at least one smart device. More businesses are also increasing their IT usage to smoothen processes and boost productivity. Running on software, these IT systems require software engineers to design, develop, analyse and maintain them.
The increasing usage of software also means that more data is stored in the cyber world. The dependence of businesses on these data and IT systems in order to function effectively cannot be overstated. Well-trained information security professionals are thus necessary to ensure the protection of these assets against any form of security malware.
Almost indispensable to advanced businesses, software engineers and information security professionals are highly sought-after. But before they step out to play a critical role in business functions, they need to acquire knowledge and skills in both breadth and depth – just the end-goal the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) will help its students achieve.
Highly-Specialised, Practice-Oriented, Industry-Focused
At SIT, the Infocomm Technology (ICT) programme – with a specialisation in Information Security or Software Engineering – is shaped by a solid mission and guided by a strategic framework. The programme aims to “train highly specialised professionals that can integrate seamlessly and contribute effectively to the Infocomm industry.” SIT does this through its three-pronged approach of imparting knowledge, ensuring students receive an education that is ‘highly-specialised’, ‘practice-oriented’, and ‘industry-focused’.
Programme Director of Infocomm Technology, Associate Professor Steven Wong, gives us an overview of this approach. “In the first year, students will gain fundamental knowledge and skills that are essential for all IT and Computer Science graduates. Building upon these fundamentals, students will embark on specialised modules based on their specialisation from their second year onwards,” says A/Prof Wong.
He moves on to explain how the programme is practice-oriented, highlighting that students will be programming in multiple languages such as Assembly, Phyton, C, C++ and Java, to name a few, and work with real industry equipment and resources in various modules. He adds, “In the Computer Network module in Year 1, students will design and implement actual networks using physical network equipment and analyse packets on these physical networks to understand theories found in the textbook. Students can then practise the advanced knowledge learnt in their second year onwards. For example, in the software engineering programme, students can put Software Engineering concepts into practice by building real software systems.”
Also valued by current students is the programme’s emphasis on industry focus. A/Prof Wong explains, “Students will have direct interactions with companies during every year of their studies. First-year students can opt to do a four-month Industry Induction and second-year students will be grouped in teams to work on a relevant industry project in the Integrative Team Project module. Final-year students will embark on a unique Integrated Work Study Programme, where they will work in the industry for their entire final year while completing their capstone project and coming back to SIT for classes. This allows SIT to provide mentorship to students as we seamlessly integrate them into the industry prior to their graduation.”
Students will have direct interactions with companies during every year of their studies.
The software engineering programme and the information security programme have student bodies of about 60-70 students each, ensuring an interactive environment for students and faculty members. The strong industry know-how of faculty staff will also open students’ eyes to new perspectives. For A/Prof Wong, he has had nearly two decades of academic and industry experience, and has been involved in research and industry projects worth over 250 million dollars.
He also keeps abreast of the developments in the industry by volunteering in leadership positions for multiple IT-related organisations, as well as associations in Singapore and within the APAC region. His time spent in notable appointments such as President of the Association of Information Security Professionals (AISP), Co-chairman of the Cloud Security Alliance APAC Education Council, and Chairman of the IEEE Consumer Electronics chapter in Singapore has also equipped him with expert knowledge that has the potential to transform the industry. Overall, the engagement of faculty members with the IT industry allows professors to remain relevant even in academia and transfer industry insights to their students.
When asked about the qualities required for students to excel in SIT’s ICT programmes, A/Prof Wong shares, “The student must have a passion for the field and aspire to become either a software engineer or information security professional. Furthermore, as the programme is very rigorous, students must also have the character to overcome challenges independently. If you have the passion and look to be well-trained for a career in these fields, I would strongly encourage you to apply for our ICT programmes. We will groom you into highly sought-after professionals in the field.”
This article was adapted from the BrightMinds 2016 publication with the permission of CareerBuilder Singapore.