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THE INTERVIEW: Azzli Bin Jamain, WDA Director of Creative and Professional Services Division

F.Y. Teng | Nov. 14, 2013
Serving Up the NextGen Workforce—Singapore's continually enhanced National Infocomm Competency Framework and its role as a driver of the country's ICT industry.

We've noticed that there's also an increasing need to have more T-shaped professionals. That is, professionals with multi-disciplinary skills and soft skills - not only strong technical expertise. In this regard we have collaborated with our CET partners to roll out WSQ programmes incorporating areas such as leadership, business and management skills for the industry.

Please elaborate on the reasons for this rise in prominence of the T-shaped professional, those with not just deep technical/technology knowledge and understanding but also in possession of the ability to work across and apply knowledge across multiple disciplines, different business and operational areas effectively in the workplace.
I believe it has to do with a number of factors, one being the expanding roles and responsibilities expected of ICT professionals, and changes brought on by the fast-changing operating environment that ICT professionals have to work in. No longer are they just sitting at their desks, facing their computer screens and working in silos. Increasingly, they are expected to work in larger teams, within and across teams, across companies, and of course, working across countries and cultures too. They are increasingly being called upon to manage projects, people and other resources. So certainly, fundamental skills once never demanded of an ICT professional, such as communication, negotiation and presentation skills, are what they must now have in order to excel in their jobs.

Besides that, what we're hearing a lot more about these days is the need for ICT professionals to also have strong domain or business skills in the area or the industry that they are operating in. Understanding the business is important. For example, if they're working in the retail sector supporting the systems of retailers-they need to understand and satisfy the requirements and expectations of the different customers and suppliers, over and above those of their various internal stakeholders. The rising expectations of groups of stakeholders, both internal and external, means that the ICT professionals serving them can no longer merely develop generic systems and simply deploy them across their enterprises. They have to think more seriously about things like contextualisation, to pay more attention to customisation and how they can support and add value to the business.

How should ICT organisations go about ensuring they have the skills that you just mentioned are lacking in the market?One of the relevant resources that I would refer them to is the National Infocomm Competency Framework [NICF].

To date, we have identified more than 350 job roles and more than 550 competencies under the NICF. It is a very big map of the industry, listing the various value chains in the ICT sector as well as activities involved. It's probably one of the most comprehensive maps in the world. It's an endeavour that WDA and IDA have undertaken in the last five years, and we continue to review this competency map regularly, identifying new job roles and competencies.


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