With the New Year just around the corner, thinking out of the box and embracing new skills is a movement that has gained traction in the past year.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted several areas of industry growth requiring innovation and talent, offering great opportunities to those considering taking up a degree programme, making a career switch, or enhancing their current skills.
For instance, according to panellists at a recent Deep Tech Summit held earlier this month as part of the Singapore FinTech Festival and Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology, companies must innovate to prevent a post-Covid-19 digital divide, and train staff to reduce the threats of pandemic-related cyber-security risks.
At the same time, cyber-security risks have increased as more people work from home, according to a survey by American tech giant Cisco in October.
Mental health has also come under scrutiny during this stressful period, with demand for services on the rise, The Straits Times reported in October. As such, healthcare professionals will continue to be highly sought after.
These are just three potential areas of learning and self-development that Singaporeans can consider pursuing. Given the ease and convenience that working from home and online classes connecting students globally bring, there is no better time than now to embark on your retraining or upskilling journey.
A wide range of programmes catering to upskilling
Murdoch University at Kaplan has offerings suitable for students across all levels.
Possible learning opportunities include:
- Bachelor of Business in Banking and Cyber Security & Forensics (Double Major)
- Bachelor of Business in International Business and Cyber Security and Forensics
- Bachelor of Business in International Business and Web Communication (Double Major)
- Bachelor of Business in Marketing and Web Communication (Double Major)
- Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Single Major)
- Master of Business Administration
Professor Peter Waring, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Transnational Education and Dean of Murdoch University Singapore, notes: "Murdoch programmes have several points of distinction which can be summarised through two words: choice and flexibility. We offer more than 250 double major undergraduate programmes in Singapore and a variety of modern postgraduate courses for students to choose from."
Those two factors appealed to software engineer Ang Bing Quan, who completed his double major degree focusing on cyber forensics and information security and computer science with Murdoch at Kaplan.
Mr Ang, who is now with NCS, an information, communications and technology (ICT) service provider, says: "I could adjust the number of modules to take per term, to properly pace myself if and when I was overwhelmed due to work or other commitments."
And keeping in mind students' safety, Murdoch University currently conducts its programmes through online classes.
Ms Genevieve Teo, a Bachelor of Science in cyber security and forensics and criminology (double major) undergraduate, says: "As classes are held online during this Covid-19 period, there was no need to rush down to campus to attend lessons after work ended. I was able to attend my classes from anywhere either by joining through my laptop or my mobile phone."
Technology-related goals and careers for 2021
There is huge demand for talent in areas such as software engineering and cyber-security, The Straits Times reported in November, and there are more than 12,000 jobs available in the infocomm technology sector. About 95 per cent of positions are for professionals, managers, executives and technicians.
Singapore also established the SG Cyber Talent initiative this year, which aims to groom talents for cyber security over the next three years.
Mr Appoose Jose, a Bachelor of Science in cyber security and forensics programme part-time student, is passionate about combating cyber threats that can affect "day-to-day lives such as online trades, social media as well as our personal devices".
As a network operation centre engineer with Kacific Broadband Satellites Group, a satellite operator providing high-speed broadband internet access to the South-east Asian and Pacific Islands regions, Mr Jose wants to develop new skills to think out of the box, apply his knowledge in real-time, and help build a wall against cyber security threats and crimes.
Murdoch's programmes also cater to students making a switch, such as Mr Andy Ong, a Bachelor of Science in cyber security and forensics and computer science undergraduate.
Mr Ong made the tough decision to make the switch from National University of Singapore - where he was pursuing an electrical engineering degree - due to his interest in data science-related jobs, preferably in machine learning or artificial intelligence-related fields.
He adds: "I wanted to work and study to pay for my own tuition fees, and it took me roughly six months of a leave of absence from NUS before making this decision."
Today, he is an associate software engineer under a traineeship programme at an insurance company based in Singapore, and plans to expand his network and join hackathons with his new-found friends.
Pursuing new learning goals and careers
Mr Nathaniel Liew, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and human resources (HR) management, is also someone who decided to pursue his interest.
Mr Liew, who holds a Diploma in tourism and resort management, was exposed to the field of human resources (HR) during his enlistment. He explains: "I understood how every single process and framework combined to form the system and overall HR strategy, and ultimately the goals of the Singapore Armed Forces. This sparked my interest in wanting to understand the theories in the academic literature pertaining to HR."
Armed with new knowledge, he joined Velocity Global, an international employment solutions company, as a regional accounts associate. He plans to pursue either a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) or human resources or even both in the next three to five years.
An MBA will come in handy for those who are seeking management or team lead roles, agrees MBA candidate Daryl Ng.
He chose Murdoch's MBA programme after spending three years searching for the right institution, saying: "In most MBA courses, there is a fixed schedule that you need to follow. However, for Murdoch's MBA, the flexible schedule enabled me to plan my study around my working hours and family commitments."
He also appreciated "the reputation of the local education provider and the MBA programme", adding that Kaplan is a well-established provider, while Murdoch University has strong credentials in Australia.
Prof Waring adds: "The lesson we should all take from 2020 is that we are stronger when we continue to learn and adapt. Investing in higher education is a great way to become a stronger, more resilient person.
"If you are thinking of making a career switch, higher education can improve your mobility in the labour market and your chances of winning the role you wish for."
Visit https://murdoch.kaplan.com.sg/to find out more about the programmes at Murdoch University Singapore.