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ICT Graduate Jobs and Opportunities in Singapore
Singapore is one of the best places in the world for information and communications technology (ICT). According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report, Singapore tops the global rankings in many categories, including network readiness and mobile coverage, while in other categories such as education, it is ranked among the world’s top 10. The Singaporean government’s “Intelligent Nation 2015 Masterplan” and associated initiatives (such as the Next Gen NBN) has earned them global recognition for having the world’s best information technology policy. The iN2015 has encouraged job creation, innovation and productivity in the country’s ICT sector, which has had immense benefits, both in terms of growing the industry, and in improving the services upon which more and more businesses in Singapore rely. Singapore’s stance for ICT is very much proactive rather than reactionary, with the government investing in infrastructure and embracing cloud computing.
Singapore is, as a result, the country of choice for many ICT companies to base themselves. Indeed, most of the world’s top software and IT services have regional offices in Singapore, as it is perfectly situated as a place from which to service the rest of Asia.
What do you need to get a job in this industry?
Areas of ICT and IT Study
The industry of ICT encompasses a many sub-sectors, including computer hardware, software, telecommunications, networks and services. There are therefore a variety of degrees with relevance to a career in this industry. Singapore’s tertiary education system is one of the world’s best, with maths and science being a speciality. It’s possible to obtain a Computer Science degree, or to study IT as a major in a business, science or engineering degree. There will be many specialisations available too, depending on the university.
Some of the most common jobs available in the ICT industry are listed below. Bear in mind that IT is a high-paced, rapidly changing industry, and that in many of these jobs the work required may change over time. There are also many jobs in the industry which are not listed here. With each advance in technology comes new responsibilities.
- Applications developer
App development is a particular type of software development, which deals with executable, task-specific software with which end-users interact. The role of the developer is to interpret what is required of the app (what task/s it needs to fulfil) then to design it, code it, test it to make sure it works properly; then implement and maintain it.
- Games developer
Computer, mobile and video games together comprise an immense and expanding industry. Game developers are responsible for the creation and development of these games. Some of them are so complex that they rival films for special effects, and those employ teams of specialists per production, while other games can be created by a single individual.
- Database administrator
Increasingly, business and government rely on databases to hold the huge amounts of data amassed by their activities. However in order for the data to be useful, it must be defined, translated into a form that is relevant to the needs of the end user, consistent, accessible, secure and recoverable. Database administrators work to ensure this. Their job may also include database development, operating Database Management Systems, and troubleshooting databases when things go wrong.
- Information systems manager
Information systems managers are important and common to many organisations. They are responsible for purchasing, installing, and backing up a company’s computers. Sometimes they may also have strategic input into the business, and they may go by a variety of other job titles as well, such as “functional manager” or “service delivery manager”.
- Geographical information systems (GIS) officer
Geographic information systems are extremely useful tools across a range of industries, from government and business to scientific endeavour, defence, logistics, transport, mining and climatology. With the rise of the mobile internet, GIS have been increasingly used for geolocation and tracking. GIS officers are people who develop, operate and maintain these systems.
- IT consultant
These days, many businesses choose not to employ permanent IT staff, and instead, when they run into problems, they assign the job of fixing them to IT consultants. These workers fulfil a variety of roles, including advising clients on how to use and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their technology solutions, and helping to manage the implementation of complex ERP and other systems into the organisations. It is predicted that the demand for IT consultants will only increase into the future, as more and more organisations “outsource” their IT problems.
- IT sales professional
IT sales professionals are specialist salespeople who advise customers on the functions of various IT solutions and products, and their relevance to the customer’s need – then conduct the sale and engage in post-sale technical support.
- IT technical support officer
Tech support officers are some of the most common entry level jobs for IT graduates. Their work involves monitoring and maintaining the computers and networks that support a business’ operations. Sometimes they are permanent employees of a particular company – other times they may work as contractors. Other job titles may include “maintenance engineer” or “help desk manager”.
- Network engineer
The work of a network engineer is to install, maintain and support the different types of networks that host the communications between and within organisations. As with many ICT jobs, network engineers may take on a specialised or a generalised role (e.g. as a technical support officer who also fixes networks).
- Systems analyst
Systems analysts create IT solutions that improve an organisation’s efficiency and productivity, by streamlining or changing their business models and processes of operation.
- Systems developer
“Systems developer” is a broad, umbrella term used to describe anyone who solves business problems or fulfils business needs through the development and application of technology. This role overlaps somewhat with that of a software engineer. Systems developers often work under the advice and guidance of a systems analyst.
- Technical author
Information and communications technology is a field that confuses many people. Using the technology does not come intuitively to most people, which means that the work of the technical author is one upon which we all, as consumers, rely. Their role is to interpret and explain the technology in a way that complete laypeople can understand, through user guides, online help or multimedia tutorials.
Demand for skilled workers in the ICT industry is high in Singapore, however the Singaporean government’s open stance regarding foreign workers, there is a lot of competition between locals and foreigners for the best jobs. Applicants stand the best chance if they can demonstrate experience in the field before graduating, such as through having done internships or part-time work.
Fortunately there are a lot of internships and other opportunities available to undergraduates in the ICT sector. Because Singapore is such a popular place for multinational IT firms to establish regional bases, and because the government has invested so much into the expansion of the industry, there are internships available in some of the world’s large IT corporations (such as Microsoft, Google and Accenture), as well other multinationals who have IT departments (such as BP) - and hundreds of small and medium sized businesses and services. The large companies will have dedicated internship programs, and these will of course be in greatest demand. Smaller companies may not offer standardised programs, but it can be valuable to approach them and ask for work experience. Persistence is key to successfully securing work experience.
ICT Graduate Salary Estimates
Graduate salaries in ICT depend a lot on the job itself, the company hiring, and the location of the work. As such, they can vary widely. At the low end salaries start at around ~$20k for technical support officers and ~$30k for software developers. Systems analysts ($43k) and database administrators ($45k) make more, and their salaries rise according to experience. IT consultants fare better still, averaging $47k in their first year, with salaries typically rising if they are fluent in SQL.