By Herdian Mohammad
As the world continues to rapidly shift towards digital technologies, Malaysia can be in a position to keep up with the pace of technological change. Employment in the tech industry in Malaysia is still in development due to the skills gap that exists between the supply of skilled workers and the demand for work-ready, skilled professionals.
Globally, the ICT sector is worth US$14.5 trillion dollars by some estimates, yet Malaysia’s talent pool and infrastructure will need to be optimised to support the best of its abilities and capitalise on it. The pandemic has been a great demonstration of the transformative possibilities of tech, as it has driven businesses to shift the way they operate and in many cases, reconsider how they use data.
There is a clear demand for the ICT industry, which is expected to create over 500,000 jobs in Malaysia by 2025, and its potential is also recognised by the current Malaysian government. In a recent announcement, the government expressed its support for the establishment of innovative, high-growth, tech companies. It was emphasised that these companies are crucial for driving economic growth and creating job opportunities, particularly in the technology and digital sectors.
MADANI policy framework
Besides, the recently introduced MADANI policy framework, aimed at addressing current problems as well as the future needs of the country, also recognises the enormous prospects of the ICT industry. Its core pillars, which serve as the main thrusts of its policies, have specific targets aimed at prospering the economy and nurturing innovation - it’s no surprise that the tech sector plays a major role in these pillars.
MADANI’s Prosperity pillar seeks to drive the economic growth of the country. With the country’s digital economy projected to account for 25 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2023, the ICT and data sectors play a significant role in stimulating the economy. Among the top 10 emerging jobs in Malaysia, eight of them involve digital skills including data science and data analytics.
The growth of the data sector and the demand for data-related skills is also central to the MADANI Innovation pillar, which is focused on fostering creativity and innovation to drive growth. The aim of this pillar is to enable businesses to develop efficient ecosystems, products, or processes – this entails the methodical use of data aimed at business development. In sum, the goal of MADANI is to drive innovation with the purpose of fulfilling the potential of the country and its people.
This direction also aligns with Malaysia's goal of becoming a leading player in the global technology and innovation landscape, as outlined in the Digital Economy Blueprint (DEB) published in 2021. The DEB outlines the government’s vision to be the regional leader in the digital economy by encouraging industry players to become creators, users, and adopters of innovative business models in the digital economy.
In line with DEB’s goal of Malaysia becoming a net exporter of home-grown technologies and digital solutions by the end of the decade, increasing the supply of skilled tech professionals can help establish Malaysia as the next tech hub. The key to achieving this is by addressing the supply and demand issues of talent in the tech sector.
The DEB shows an awareness of issues regarding the supply of skilled tech professionals as one of its thrusts is focused on introducing professional reskilling and upskilling programmes related to the digital economy. Developing, reskilling and upskilling the workforce’s digital skills in areas such as data analytics, coding, cybersecurity, content creation, system integration, AI, and other relevant professional skills will be vital to reaching the vision of Malaysia becoming the next tech hub in the region.
Efforts to upskill workforce to become IT professionals
These are all big moves in the right direction and I am heartened to see that Malaysia has made such significant steps towards moving industries into the digital economy. This would also drive demand for tech professionals and foster innovation in businesses in the long run. Still, despite the growing demand, efforts to upskill or reskill the workforce to become IT professionals can be improved. The ability to learn and adapt is essential for success in the digital age. Malaysians who are able to quickly acquire new skills and knowledge will be well-positioned to succeed in the ever-changing job market.
One of the ways to solve the shortage of IT talent is to tackle it at scale and bring coding curriculums to the mass market, but not many prepare graduates adequately to become work-ready professionals with hands-on application of their knowledge. Perhaps, most significantly, what can be improved in the education market is the effort to democratise access to these in-demand tech professions.
For these reasons, one way that Practicum stands out is that we’ve designed our practice-oriented courses with an emphasis on being a transformative force and having a positive impact on people. Our goal is to offer our graduates with employment in the tech profession and the first step into the elite tech workforce, fully equipped with the most in-demand skills they need to thrive. We have a money-back guarantee policy in which if you don’t find a job within six months of graduating from Practicum, you will be entitled to a full refund. At Practicum, one of our core beliefs is that we are more than just a coding programme. What we provide our students is a second chance at life.
It is this dynamic, impact-oriented mindset of ours in Practicum that has us believe Malaysia can maximise the possibilities presented by the ICT sector and soon become a leader in the global tech landscape by adequately addressing the digital skills gap. With such ambitious goals set in the Digital Economy Blueprint and MADANI framework, Malaysia can develop many more tech professionals to fully realise its potential.
Practicum’s boot camp global mission is to reskill millions into the tech profession. But what we have to offer is more than a boot camp; we present to Malaysia a national solution to address the technology talent skills gap. And this is a vision that we can only achieve with the partnership of key stakeholders. With this, we invite government entities, universities, companies, especially those in the tech and employment sectors, and the private sector to join forces with us to aid in our lofty goal of training and developing 100,000 data professionals in Malaysia over the next two years. By working together and truly investing in fostering digital talent, Malaysia can bridge its skills gap to drive economic growth and innovation for years to come. Practicum’s next class will be open on June 15 in Malaysia. For more information, please visit practicum.com/en-mys/.
Herdian Mohammad is Regional Director at Practicum, a US top-rated online international coding boot camp helping motivated career switchers break into tech.