SINGAPORE – To help meet local demand for cloud computing expertise, tech giant Google has partnered the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to launch a year-long training programme for 1,000 students.
Set to kick off in February, the Google Cloud Computing Foundation Value-added Programme will supplement the existing ITE cloud technology curriculum in a first for an educational institution here.
The online course will teach students foundational concepts about data analytics and machine learning, among other fields, as well as how these concepts are applied in cloud computing.
The partnership came about because one of the biggest skill gaps here lies in cloud computing, said Mr Ben King, Google Singapore managing director, on Friday.
“(This skill gap) could really slow down the digital transformation so many companies need.”
He was speaking at an event held at Google’s Asia-Pacific headquarters in Mapletree Business City to mark the first anniversary of a scholarship for those taking Google Career Certificates online courses in Singapore.
Developed by the company’s experts and hosted on online learning platform Coursera, the courses were launched as the third prong of Google’s existing Skills Ignition SG training initiative in January 2022.
Since then, nearly $3 million in scholarships have been given out to cover a year’s worth of Coursera subscription fees for 5,000 students.
On Friday, the company pledged a second tranche of 5,000 scholarships for the online courses to awardees nominated by any of 23 Google partners, up from 13 in 2022.
Six local universities came on board for 2023: Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Social Sciences and Yale-NUS College.
Four community organisations – Hatch, SG Enable, Tech Talent Assembly and Young Women’s Leadership Connection – also joined the fold.
There are five course tracks: information technology support, project management, data analytics, user experience design, and digital marketing and e-commerce.
The modular nature of Google Career Certificates allows a range of learners to tackle the course at their own pace, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, who was the guest of honour, told reporters.
He added that both employers and educational institutions could support those taking the courses with flexible working or studying arrangements.
“The advantage of this... scholarship (is) that it lowers your barrier to entry and lowers the cost for companies to train their employees, so there is not just benefit from a cost savings perspective, but the benefit the employee provides within the firm with the extra skills as well.”
One graduate of the Google Career Certificates programme, which typically takes three to six months to complete, is Ms Ngui Jia Xuan, a second-year ITE student pursuing a Higher Nitec in IT applications development.
She was nominated for the data analytics track where she learnt the Structured Query Language programming language popularly used in data analytics, as well as business applications of data analytics, over 10 weeks between March and May 2022.
Ms Ngui, 19, credits the programme for helping her figure out her career aspirations. “Before that, I was very lost and still figuring out if I should join cyber security or something else,” said the aspiring financial data analyst.
Another graduate is Mr Sufyan Mohamad Ali, 40, who works in the digital transformation office at the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Although already a volunteer trainer conducting workshops on data analytics at self-help group Yayasan Mendaki, he decided to take the course in user experience design to combine his experience with knowledge of the latest technology.
Seeing their father studying hard over four months in 2022 also inspired Mr Sufyan’s children aged 12 and 16.
“They don’t rebel when told to study because they’ve seen me study before.”