According to the newspaper, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, stated that Singapore needs more Singaporeans to consider careers in the ICT sector, particularly in areas concerning cyber security.
“Cyber security is one big area that I need more Singaporeans. I need Singaporeans because of the security concern. I think there will be a lot of growth potential,” Mr Yaacob said during a recent Car-Free Sunday event.
I can’t help but mumbled to myself that, wow, it’s a great time to be a programmer now.
Singapore Serious Lack Of Programmers
It is probably a known agenda now that Singapore is pushing towards its Smart Nation aspiration, and as part of the push, Singapore is facing a serious short supply of tech talents in Singapore.
According to a report on Straits Times, Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), the statutory board in charge of the various Smart Nation initiatives, shared that in 2014, though there were 150,000 technology professionals working in Singapore, about 15,000 vacancies could not be filled.
In 2017, another 15,000 tech specialists are needed to fill in roles such as cyber security, data analytics and application development, implying that we are lacking up to 30,000 information technology professionals.
On top of that too, the Singapore government has also shared that it is looking to hire up to 1000 engineers this year.
This will increase the total engineering pool by over 13%, up from the current 7,700 engineers in the public service. To do that, Singapore will be looking into a salary review of public sector engineers and also to start a leadership scheme to groom engineering talents into leaders in the public service.
“As we transition into an innovation economy, we need to build up capabilities in newer engineering and multi-disciplinary fields,” Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean shared.
A quick mental calculation would suggest that while we have lofty ambitions of achieving a smart nation, Singapore does need a lot of technical talents to help get us there.
Singapore Is Going All Out To Attract Tech Talents
Earlier this month, as part of Prime Minister Lee’s working visit to tech mecca Silicon Valley and San Francisco, PM Lee shared after the trip that the IDA was working on proposals to try and get some of these Singaporeans to return home here to Singapore.
Following that, IDA swiftly rolled out Singapore’s first Smart Nation Fellowship Programme, which is targeted primarily at Singaporeans working overseas. In the programme, successful applicants will get to work on a 3 to 6 months stint in a department called Government Digital Services (GDS).
Other than Singapore’s public call for programmers, companies all around are also looking for technical chops to help build smart digital solutions to their companies’ processes. Take Google for example, it recently acqui-hired Pie in Singapore as their first step to build up their technical capabilities in Singapore. Other startups are also actively hiring in Singapore, mostly looking to fill up various technical roles.
So yes, it’s a great time to be a programmer now, especially if you are in Singapore – because the government, big corporates as well as startups and SMEs alike, are all looking for you right now.
If you are looking to take up additional programming skills, of course, there’s the SkillsFuture Credit that you can leverage on – though it’s only eligible for Singaporeans.
And as Elon Musk (I think it was from Elon) recently puts it, if you want to not worry about job security for the rest of your life, take up a career in cyber security.
If you want to not worry about job security for the next 10 – 20 years, learn programming.