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Speech By Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Chairman Of GPC For The Ministry Of Information, Communications And The Arts, As Guest Of Honour At The Integrated Infocomm Scholarship Award Ceremony 2010

22 April 2010 - Speech By Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Chairman of GPC For The Ministry Of Information, Communications And The Arts, As Guest of Honour At The Integrated Infocomm Scholarship Award Ceremony 2010, The Supreme Court

Speech By Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Chairman Of GPC For The Ministry Of Information, Communications and The Arts, As Guest Of Honour At The Integrated Infocomm Scholarship Award Ceremony 2010, Friday, 16 April 2010 At 3.00pm At Supreme Court Auditorium

Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon:

1. It gives me great pleasure to join you today at the second awards ceremony for the Integrated Infocomm Scholarship. Today, we will be awarding 32 Integrated Infocomm Scholarships. This is 12 more than the 20 scholarships awarded last year, due not only to the almost 30 per cent increase in the number of IIS applications but also the higher quality of the applications. I am glad that many of you have scored well in your “O” level results and have chosen infocomm as your choice of study.

2. Today must be an occasion of great pride and excitement for all the scholarship recipients. Pride because, as recipients of the Integrated Infocomm Scholarship, you are part of a selected few who will have the opportunity to pursue your passion for infocomm on a scholarship; and excitement, because this marks your first step to a long and successful infocomm career where you will encounter many interesting and challenging opportunities to learn and develop many competencies.

3. The resilience of the infocomm industry in Singapore is underpinned by its critical role as an enabler of Singapore’s position as a global economic hub. Despite the economic downturn last year, infocomm employment in Singapore grew by 1.3% in 2009 to reach a total of 140,800 people. Areas of strongest employment growth include software development, digital media & animation, and software design.

4. The infocomm industry is thriving and changing rapidly. Seven years ago, social networking sites such as, Youtube and Facebook did not exist. But now, enabled by increasing Internet speeds and use worldwide, they collectively receive about 250 million unique visitors each month. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon which developed the e-book reader Kindle, recently said in an interview with Newsweek magazine that the ink-on-paper book, which has been around for the past 500 years, will eventually disappear. He added in the same interview that, “no technology, not even one as elegant as the book, lasts forever”. Infocomm therefore is not only a creative force that can empower and enrich our lives but also change the way we live, learn, work and play.

5. To inspire you to keep pursuing your passion for infocomm even after your polytechnic studies, let me share with you a story about one of our National Infocomm Scholarship holders, Ms Shirley Leow.  Shirley graduated with a Diploma in Business Information Technology from Temasek Polytechnic in 2004.  She subsequently studied for a bachelor’s degree at the Singapore Management University. In her third year there, she decided to take up the National Infocomm Scholarship Fast Track Masters programme. On the NIS programme, she spent two years at the Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, one of the top universities in the world for the study of computer science, completing her Masters of Information Systems Management degree in 2008.  Shirley is now an e-business analyst, managing key web projects for SingTel. Her zest and hard work has enabled her to realise her passion for infocomm and this is something all of you can achieve too.

6. Indeed, Shirley said it was her interest in translating business problems and inefficiencies into IT solutions and enabling business with IT that had made infocomm studies and her infocomm career a natural choice for her. On a daily basis, her job requires her to interact with domain experts across many departments such as those for sales, operations and regulation. Her ability to understand the requirements of these different business units, coupled with her computer science background, allows her to engage in in-depth analysis of potential solutions, risks and business changes, and recommending suitable solutions for her company.

7. It is these diverse skill sets, rooted with a foundation in infocomm, which represent what it means to be a modern “T-shaped” infocomm professional. “T-shaped” professionals, like Shirley, have deep expertise in particular technical areas and a broad knowledge of related areas in business operations, such as project management, human resource, sales or finance and management.  I therefore invite IIS Scholars to keep up with your other interests, even as you develop your core skills in infocomm. In the course of your studies, you should also find yourselves sharpening your problem-solving and logical thinking skills, which will be useful as you progress in your career.

8. A key feature of the IIS is the opportunity to undertake valuable industry attachments at major organisations both locally and overseas. Such attachments allow you to put into practice all that you have learnt, enable you to acquire technical and domain expertise, and challenge you to think innovatively. Industry attachments will also hone your inter-personal skills, which is critical as infocomm professionals never work alone. You will learn the importance of teamwork and how to work with people from different cultures and skillsets, whether you are developing a piece of software, coming up with a business-IT solution, or maintaining a complex IT system. Such exposure will give you a better appreciation of the infocomm industry.

9. IIS scholars will also benefit from IDA’s Talent Management programme, which will develop our scholars to be ‘industry-ready’, over and above academic knowledge acquisition. Under this framework, scholars can take up developmental courses to acquire relevant industry and up-to-date skills through certification and courses. I would like to encourage you to sign up for practical and professional courses that will challenge you to better conceptualise and develop innovative infocomm solutions. Under this programme, you will also be invited to attend industry thought-leadership seminars, conferences and networking opportunities with key industry leaders. This will give you a better understanding of the infocomm industry as well as the trends and challenges facing the industry.

10. Let me congratulate all of you once again, and I wish you all every success in your studies and an exciting and enriching infocomm career ahead. Thank you.


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