6 August 2014 - The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore’s (IDA) inaugural Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) conducted its first class on 6 August, receiving an overwhelming response.

Singapore, 6 August 2014 | For Immediate Release

Overwhelming response blazes trail for Singapore talent to upgrade skills in data sciences and analytics

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore’s (IDA) inaugural Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) conducted its first class on 6 August, receiving an overwhelming response. The data sciences specialisation course that caters for Singapore working professionals, achieved more than 350 registrations, with strong participation from both the private sector and the public sector alike.
With Singapore gearing up to be the world’s first Smart Nation, data sciences and analytics is growing increasingly relevant in our highly connected society and is playing a greater role in businesses and government organisations to handle operational efficiency, engage customers, as well as anticipate and deliver services. Professionals with training in data sciences and analytics would be expected to be in demand. McKinsey forecasts that there will be a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 data sciences and analytics professionals by 2018 in just the US alone.

In partnership with course provider Coursera, the MOOC pilot offers Singaporeans from different professional backgrounds, the opportunity to develop vital skills that respond to this growing demand for data sciences and analytics talent, providing them with opportunities and improving career prospects. An industry recruitment report has shown that data professionals can expect to earn from $80,000 up to $180,000 or even more per annum*.

The IDA MOOC pilot has attracted a broad base of participants with a good proportion of applicants having five years or less of working experience. However, the course has also attracted experienced professionals with about 60% of the applicants having 5 years or more working experience.

While about 30% of the applicants come from an IT background, 40% are from a wide range of sectors such as healthcare, finance and education, reflecting data sciences and analytics’ ability to be applied across sectors and areas of work. The remaining 20% of applicants come from data-related professions, seeking to build upon their existing skills.

“We want the participants joining IDA MOOC to not only benefit from a high quality of learning that improves career prospects, we also want participants to network with...and learn from... like-minded members of industry,” said Mr Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA. “This is an important part of building a data sciences and analytics community in Singapore”.

In about of spontaneity, the course participants have initiated their own Facebook page ahead of the first MOOC session, reflecting this spirit of community building.

In addition to the online lessons, the pilot also offers weekly meet-up sessions to help course participants in their learning. The sessions cover course modules and are supported by industry-members-turned-volunteer course facilitators to help teach, answer questions and lead discussions with attendees.

For specialisation courses such as data sciences and analytics, the course’s facilitated weekly meet-up sessions also provide a mutually supportive learning environment. Coursera report that such environments can boost MOOC participant completion rates upwards of 80 per cent from attendees.

“MOOCs are good complements to a traditional university education, offering affordable and accessible means for working professionals to upgrade themselves and learn new skills. Nowhere is this truer than in Singapore, which has the highest rate of participation per internet user of any country in the world, and the highest per capita penetration in the Asia-Pacific region, surpassing larger markets like China and India,” said Mr Koh Pang Wei, Head of Product Management for University Product, Coursera.

The course comprises 10 modules of data science topics to be conducted over 10 months, with an assessment to be conducted at the end of the first nine modules, followed by a capstone project to be completed at the end of the final module. This results in the completion of a specialisation track, culminating in a certificate of achievement by the Johns Hopkins University.

*Hays salary guide 2014: http://www.hays.com.sg/salary-guide/index.htm


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About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The mission of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is to develop information technology and telecommunications within Singapore with a view to serve citizens of all ages and companies of all sizes. IDA does this by actively supporting the growth of innovative technology companies and start-ups in Singapore, working with leading global IT companies as well as developing excellent information technology and telecommunications infrastructure, policies and capabilities for Singapore. For more news and information, visit www.ida.gov.sg.

For media clarifications, please contact:

Christopher Koh (Mr) 
Manager, Corporate and Marketing Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
DID: +65 6211 1709
HP: +65 9144 1995
E-mail: christopher_koh@imda.gov.sg