27 March 2009 - Occasional Address By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, As Guest Of Honour At The SIM-University Of Wollongong Graduation Ceremony 2009, SIM Headquarters
Occasional Address By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, As Guest Of Honour At The SIM-University Of Wollongong Graduation Ceremony 2009, Friday, 27 March 2009 at 10.00am at SIM Headquarters
Mr Noel Hon, Member of SIM Governing Council,
Prof Joe Chicharo, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Wollongong,
Mr Lee Kwok Cheong, CEO, Singapore Institute of Management
Graduands, ladies and gentlemen,
1. I am pleased to join you here at this morning’s graduation ceremony. It is indeed a happy and proud moment for all of the 282 graduands, as well as those who have supported and encouraged you in your degree studies - parents, families, friends and professors. I extend my heartiest congratulations to all of you.
2. Now that you have completed this phase of your academic education, you must be excited about embarking on or advancing your careers. However, understandably, some of you may have some anxiety about your career opportunities given the current global financial and economic climate. I would like to encourage all of you to continue to stay positive about a career in infocomm. According to a survey conducted by IDA last year, there were 139,000 infocomm professionals employed in 2008 and some 6,500 infocomm job vacancies. While the general employment outlook for Singapore is more subdued this year, there continues to be demand for jobs in the infocomm industry. Based on industry feedback, the demand is in various segments of the industry, such as software development, software design, business process outsourcing management, solutioning and architecting and infocomm security. The research firm, Gartner, expects that IT budgets will grow by five per cent this year1 despite the downturn.
3. All these serve to highlight that infocomm is demanded in every sector of industry, for the development of products and services. Infocomm is a key enabler of economic and social growth. With the degree you are receiving today, you can apply your infocomm knowledge and skills to drive business transformation, enhance service offerings and increase the overall competitiveness of your companies’ products and services in the globalised marketplace.
4. IDA will continue to invest in infocomm to enable growth. That is why developing quality infocomm manpower even during this economic downturn and building our capabilities for the longer term remains the cornerstone of our strategies for the infocomm industry in Singapore. Towards this end, the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts as well as IDA are investing a total of $125 million over the next few years to support infocomm professionals in the areas of talent and capability development.
5. For a start, to help you chart and support your skills and capability development throughout your infocomm career, we would like to encourage you to refer to the National Infocomm Competency Framework or NICF at www.nicf.sg. Here, you can find out about the certification and competencies you need to progress and advance in your infocomm careers. There are more than 200 infocomm job roles in the NICF, including those in user sectors, such as financial services and healthcare, which could appeal to you. Do go into the NICF portal and find out more.
6. I would like to also encourage you to keep upgrading and enhancing your skills and knowledge to maintain your competitive edge. From 1 April this year, IDA will increase our funding support under the Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme or CITREP, from 50 per cent to 80 per cent of course and examination fees for a broad suite of infocomm courses catering to fresh graduates and experienced professionals. I hope you will sign up soon, to benefit from CITREP. Over the next two years, we expect some 10,000 infocomm professionals to benefit from this enhanced CITREP offering.
7. Opportunities are not limited to the infocomm organisations alone. End-user organisations in key business domains such as digital media and entertainment, financial services, healthcare, retail, and tourism and hospitality, also require highly-skilled infocomm professionals like you, to drive and transform their businesses. IDA has put in place a professional development programme, called the Techno-Strategist Programme, which aims to groom professionals with infocomm and domain knowledge in key economic sectors. Do leverage on this programme to equip yourselves with in-depth domain knowledge on top of your infocomm proficiencies, to develop innovative solutions for the businesses that you will be in.
8. Beyond these IDA programmes that I have just mentioned, I would also like to encourage you to take advantage of manpower development programmes that other government agencies have recently announced, such as the Workforce Development Agency’s SPUR initiative and the Economic Development Board’s PREP-UP scheme. These programmes are relevant to both fresh infocomm graduates and infocomm professionals, and are most timely during this economic downturn.
9. With these upgrading opportunities and armed with your infocomm degree today, I hope you will continue to see the potential in an infocomm career. Infocomm is at the heart of the things we do. There is infocomm not only in business, but also in the way we go about our daily lives. Our handphones and PDAs will not work, if not for infocomm. Infocomm is pervasive and Singapore is increasingly more connected than ever. Singapore’s household broadband penetration is now at an all-time high of 102 per cent. Infocomm will always be in demand and relevant, to make the way we work, live, learn and play better.
10. As such, a career in infocomm can indeed be exciting and rewarding. You can fulfill your aspirations and positively impact the workplace, society and even the world. For example, you may be a network engineer responsible for planning and ensuring that the network is run optimally, so that users can receive and send data seamlessly and quickly; or you may be an IT business process consultant formulating and executing business re-engineering strategies for corporate clients; or you may be a CIO who is not just a technical person but also a businessman, spending as much of your time in strategic and investment planning. Whatever infocomm profession you choose, I wish you a fulfilling and enriching career.
11. On this note, continue to work hard and give of your best in all that you do. Once again, heartiest congratulations and I wish you every success for the future. Thank you.
1 IT spending in region to grow despite downturn, The Straits Times, 6 March 2009