At a recent industry visit to Microsoft, students learnt the importance of being technologically adept in a constantly evolving digital landscape.
Microsoft hosted an industry visit for students under IMDA's Industry Preparation for Pre-Graduates (iPREP) programme where they learnt about the latest trends in the Infocomm and Technology sector.
By Sheela Sarvananda
Today’s students need to anticipate a future where it is necessary to embrace technology leaps, rather than shy away from them.
Mr Gary Lim, Senior Education Programs & Skills Lead at Microsoft shared that according to a study, 30% of corporate audits could be performed by artificial intelligence, implantable cell phones may become commercially available, and 50% of internet traffic could be routed towards homes and appliances by 2025.
He shared these insights with participants of Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) Industry Preparation for Pre-Graduates (iPREP) programme, a talent development initiative for students in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) courses.
Through iPREP, participants are provided with funding for courses and certification, access to IMDA-sourced technical internships and industry events, such as sharing sessions, company visits and networking.
At the Microsoft visit, Mr Lim’s overall message was clear: Data is “the new oil” – and those who extract it effectively will be the frontrunners in the intersecting worlds of technology and communication.
On 5 June, Microsoft came on board as inaugural host of the series of company visits to offer students the opportunity to learn about trends in ICT and core competencies that would help them navigate the industry successfully. Students were given a tour of Microsoft premises to see the inner-workings of the global technology company.
Singapore Polytechnic student Chua Bing Quan believes such visits provide students with real-world experience, which they would otherwise rarely be able to get. “iPREP is relevant because our IT course is sandboxed. We tend to be caught up in our own schoolwork, and it’s a more controlled environment. iPREP allows us to go out and see what the IT industry is like, in a real way,” he said.
For R Darshni, who is studying at the Nanyang Technological University, the iPREP event presents an opportunity to gain relevant industry experience. “For computer-related jobs, it is important to stay updated. Also, as I went to a junior college and not a polytechnic, it is important for me to have hands-on experience. iPREP offers that with its internship opportunities,” she said.
Given the context of today’s fast-paced digital change, Mr Lim emphasised the need for innovative places for learning, to equip students with skills of the future and help them reach their full potential. To do this, the opportunities for higher education will be to engage students, empower educators, optimise institutions of learning and transform learning.
Providing insight into Microsoft’s reason for crafting this learning journey for participants, Mr Lim said, “The centerpiece of being a Smart Nation is really about the talent that we are going to nurture – and this starts from the very young. iPREP was one of the opportunities we saw as important, in order to nurture the future generation in terms of technology enablement and technology solutions. We want to show them how technology can have an impact on the lives of individuals and also organisations, and prepare students to be future-ready.”
iPREP events aim to give Singapore’s growing cohort of ICT undergraduates an in-depth understanding of the industry, with lead-ins into connections with established industry names.