9 May 2011 - Opening Address by Mr Sam Tan, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Information, Communications and the Arts, at the National Infocomm Competition (NIC) Awards and Launch 2011, Red Dot Museum
Opening Address by Mr Sam Tan, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Information, Communications and the Arts, at the National Infocomm Competition (NIC) Awards and Launch 2011 on 6 April 2011, Red Dot Museum
RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, CEO of IDA,
Partners from the industry and educational institutions,
Teachers and students,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I am pleased to join you at the launch of the National Infocomm Competition 2011. Today's event also celebrates the achievements of schools in last year's competition. NIC 2010 was a keen and exciting affair. We saw 3,000 students from secondary schools, junior colleges, ITE and polytechnics competing against one another, over 15 challenges. The NIC challenges were designed with the latest ICT developments in mind and they included new areas such as computational thinking, mobile technology, Web 2.0 and business IT. I am sure many of you have honed your infocomm skills through competing in the various challenges.
Infocomm Enables You to Make a Difference to the World
2. Last month's earthquake in Japan shocked the world and, sadly, brought disruption and suffering to many. Nations and organisations have stepped forward to lend help to Japan. Google, too, extended its support in a way it knows best. The company channelled its expertise in organising information on the web to develop a website called "Person Finder" to help people affected by the Japan earthquake. "Person Finder" acts as an open registry and aggregates important resources, maps and other related information to provide users with relevant earthquake information. By introducing a common platform for all disaster relief organisations to put up lists of missing persons, Google helped facilitate a more effective rescue effort.
3. In the midst of the disaster and immediately after, social media applications such as Twitter and Facebook were also used by people in Japan to stay connected with loved ones. Volunteer organisations, such as the American Red Cross and Save the Children, have also used Facebook to raise funds towards the earthquake effort. In this instance, we see the significant impact that infocomm has made on the lives of people in times of great need. This is how infocomm, as a career choice, can be very meaningful.
Infocomm Is a Rewarding Career
4. The infocomm skills which you pick up during the course of the NIC are transferable and will provide you with a solid foundation to pursue infocomm studies and embark on an infocomm career that can span multiple industries and countries. Let me share an example. One of our National Infocomm Scholars, Mr Jay Lim, studied at the University of Warwick, reading computer science and business in a joint degree programme. Upon graduating in 2009, Jay became an analyst under the DBS management associate programme. His job allows him to apply his infocomm skills in the banking industry, through implementing innovative technologies and services under the bank's Core Banking project. In addition, Jay has also travelled overseas with the bank on projects, which he found to be "eye-opening". To Jay, infocomm is more than just computer systems, and he feels that for one to be an effective infocomm leader, this requires hard work, passion, sound knowledge and understanding in both the technology and business domains.
5. Therefore, if you would like to become an infocomm leader like Jay, you may be pleased to know that the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore offers two scholarships: the National Infocomm Scholarship, which I mentioned earlier, and the Integrated Infocomm Scholarship. The National Infocomm Scholarship offers 'A' level and polytechnic students a tertiary education at renowned international or local universities. They will also be given opportunities for industry internships and jobs at prestigious organisations upon graduation. Scholars are not limited to the infocomm industry, and can choose to join companies from sectors as diverse as banking, media and the public sector.
6. The Integrated Infocomm Scholarship is open to 'O' level students, and supports a student's studies at a polytechnic or university. Integrated Infocomm Scholars will also benefit from opportunities for industry attachments with major corporations locally and overseas.
Infocomm is a growing and thriving industry
7. Demand for infocomm manpower in Singapore has increased by almost 10 per cent in 2010, reaching 157,400 from 143,500 in 20091. In fact, over the past four years, we have seen infocomm MNCs such as HP Labs, IBM, and Oracle setting up new critical IT functions in Singapore to serve the region. In addition, companies like Citibank, Daimler and P&G have also established their shared IT services hub here. Global infocomm start-ups and entrepreneurs are also looking at using Singapore as a development and engineering base to tap on opportunities in Asia. Currently, about 50 foreign infocomm start-ups from countries such as U.S., Israel, Sweden, and China have anchored their engineering centres in Singapore, with some basing their Asia HQ here. These include start-ups in emerging areas such as cloud computing and Web 2.0. These are positive signs for those of you looking at embarking on an infocomm career in the future.
8. As I conclude, allow me to congratulate all the winners of the National Infocomm Competition 2010. You will participate in the NIC Silicon Valley learning trip where you will be visiting top infocomm companies and meeting professionals who will share valuable insights on their careers. To give you a taste of what to expect, our winning teams last year visited top companies such as Apple, HP Labs, LucasFilm and Microsoft. Lastly, I would also like to express my appreciation to the sponsors - Adobe, M1, Microsoft and Nikon - for your generous prize contributions. My thanks go to our industry partners, teachers and the NIC organising committee as well for their strong support which have made the past five years of NIC a sustained success among our students.
9. I wish all of you a pleasant afternoon and an exciting NIC 2011.
Note to Editor:
1 According to IDA's Annual Infocomm Manpower Survey 2010.