Grooming talent to drive the digital economy

From undergraduates to mid-career professionals, DigiPen (Singapore) prepares a diverse range of students for an array of jobs in the digital economy

DigiPen (Singapore) students gain the knowledge to become innovators — not just users — of technology. PHOTO: SINGAPORE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

From driverless vehicles to automated fintech solutions in the banking sector, many exciting advances in digital technologies have had one thing in common: graduates from DigiPen (Singapore).

For more than a decade, the university has offered undergraduate degree programmes in a variety of fields that drive the digital sector. DigiPen (Singapore) opened as the U.S.-headquartered college's first international campus in 2008 at the invitation of the Singapore Economic Development Board. The campus was set up as part of Singapore's push to grow and develop the digital media and entertainment industries locally at that time. In 2010, DigiPen (Singapore) inked a partnership with Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), officially becoming one of SIT's Overseas University Partners.

Since it started, DigiPen (Singapore)'s nearly 1,000 graduates have gone on to work for over 200 companies, including leaders in digital interactive media, such as Lucasfilm Singapore, Ubisoft Singapore and The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia).

Globally, DigiPen graduates have worked on more than 1,500 professional games as artists, designers, programmers, and more. PHOTO: DIGIPEN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY SINGAPORE

Many of them have also made their mark in other industries, including engineering, banking and software development, with firms spanning ST Engineering, Singtel, Autodesk, Acronis and Singapore's Government Technology Agency.

"DigiPen (Singapore) students are some of the best in their class. Over the years, we've had many DigiPen (Singapore) students intern at Autodesk Singapore R&D site. They subsequently joined our engineering teams as full-time employees. We are proud of their continued contributions toward our complex R&D projects," says Mr Vincent Yeap, Snr SWD Manager of Autodesk Asia Pte. Ltd.

A school for the digital age

Today, DigiPen (Singapore) has five bachelor's degree programmes, including three that are jointly offered with SIT.

The three joint degrees offered with SIT are the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Interactive Media and Game Development, and Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics Systems.

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation combines an in-depth study of mathematics and computer science with projects to design and develop simulations and applications from start to finish. This transforms students into professional software engineers.

Mr Chan Ka June, 30, graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation. He is now an IT manager in application development with consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble.

He says: "The computer science knowledge I acquired at DigiPen (Singapore) built a strong foundation for me to easily learn new computer languages in my job. What I learned about algorithms and the implementation of different data structures has also aided me in making better decisions when programming solutions according to business needs."

On the other hand, the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Interactive Media and Game Development grooms students to be hybrid engineers and designers with strong computer science and interactive design skills. During the course of studies, they work across a range of platforms, including smartphones, game consoles and virtual/augmented reality tools.

The multi-disciplinary Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics Systems brings together the fields of mechanical, electrical and computer engineering to educate students to develop and manage complex systems.

DigiPen (Singapore) engages students in applied, project-based learning with collaborative in-studio experiences starting in year one. PHOTO: DIGIPEN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY SINGAPORE

The other two bachelor's degrees offered by DigiPen (Singapore) are the Bachelor of Arts in User Experience and Game Design and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation.

The former degree includes coursework in user experience design theory, the humanities and social sciences, with students learning the skills required to craft engaging experiences for all types of immersive software such as augmented and virtual reality applications, responsive dashboard interfaces, and other interactive systems.

The latter degree covers the foundations of traditional arts before progressing to computer animation techniques and tools. It culminates in a series of original projects to equip students with the ability to work in all stages of the art production pipeline.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design in 2019, Mr Aqil Hilmi, 26, was hired by Ubisoft Singapore and is now a junior technical user interface artist with the video game developer. "DigiPen (Singapore) has a rigorous curriculum and I pulled late nights to complete projects. It wasn't easy, but it made me a stronger individual who isn't afraid of challenges," he says.

He continues: "I had the opportunity to work on countless projects that included games, simulations and UX/UI prototyping. As such, I built up a unique and diverse portfolio to show to prospective employers after I graduated."

A vision for the future

Beyond its undergraduate degree programmes, DigiPen (Singapore) also conducts Continuing Education courses to arm professionals, managers, executives and technicians with new skills. It is currently running the Technology in Finance Immersion Programme (TFIP) together with the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF), as well as participating financial institutions such as DBS Bank, UOB, Singapore Stock Exchange, Mizuho Bank and Deutsche Bank. In the future, it also plans to introduce even more targeted programs covering topics like full stack development and data analytics for its Continuing Education programmes.

Recently, DigiPen (Singapore) also launched its first master's degree programme: a Master of Science in Computer Vision. The field of study focuses on how computers can acquire, process and analyse data from digital images and videos in real-time, and is essential to many cutting-edge technologies, including industrial robotics, driverless vehicles and data analytics.

The course provides a foundation in mathematics and high-level programming, and students will build computer vision technologies to tackle real-life issues. Applications are now open, with classes slated to start in 2022.

"DigiPen (Singapore) has been educating students to become professionals in various digital domains for over 10 years, in order to support Singapore's growing digital economy. Our graduates have gone to work in a variety of industries that include enterprise software, virtual reality, finance, digital entertainment, automotive technology, and more," says Mr Jason Chu, Chief Operating Officer - International, DigiPen (Singapore).

"Whether you're looking to kick-start your undergraduate journey with us, or looking for reskilling programmes to make a career switch into the technology sector, DigiPen (Singapore) is committed to equipping you with the knowledge and expertise to excel in these areas."

For more information about DigiPen (Singapore), please visit

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