MDeC’s push for skilled IT grads

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MDeC’s Director of Talent Division Mohammad Imran Kunalan Abdullah being interviewed by Business Circle.

MDeC’s Director of Talent Division Mohammad Imran Kunalan Abdullah being interviewed by Business Circle.

By T.K. Tamby

There is an acute shortage of highly skilled IT professionals in Malaysia and, as technology evolves rapidly in this sector, there is always a race to secure talent with industry relevant knowledge and skills.

IT skills are crucial in all sectors including the public sector where there is also a dire need for competent and highly skilled certified IT professionals.

“We have an incredible amount of data in numerous government sectors and (a) large segment of this information is robbed of its value because it is lying dormant due to the lack of skilled professionals to analyse it,” Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC)’s Director of Talent Division Mohammad Imran Kunalan Abdullah told Business Circle.

Speaking at the SAP University Alliance Conference Malaysia, Imran (pic) said that the constant lack of certified IT professionals is what drove MDeC to initiate the MyUniAlliance Programme with the support of PEMANDU.

The initiative that comes under PEMANDU’s Strategic Reform Initiative for Human Capital aims to empower global technology partners to promote strategic alliances with Institutions of Higher Learnings by investing in curriculum development to help transfer technical competencies that are relevant to the industry, and thus making graduates industry ready and highly employable.

The programme which includes training-the-trainer is also the kind of strategic public-private partnership that is advocated in the national blue print for higher education.

“Currently, there are 18 universities including two foreign ones under this programme,” said Imran.

He added that MDec, under the initiative MyProCert, has also helped upskill 4,700 IT professionals thus far. The programme launched in 2011 was initiated to upgrade the existing IT talent pool to meet the industry’s constant demand for professionals with enhanced skill sets.

According to SAP Malaysia’s Managing Director Bernard Chiang (pic),education and the development of skilled human resources are key components that would fulfil – and sustain – Malaysia’s goal of becoming a high income economy in the very near future.

The global enterprise application leader has so far trained 5,000 students in Malaysia and is looking at increasing it to 3,000 per year from 2014.

He said that “millennials” will take over 75% of the global workforce in just a few years and that they demand a very different experience from that of just pure technology. “The SAP University Alliances focuses on building these early talents by preparing them for a successful career or entrepreneurship path.”

“We are also looking at driving innovation through student participation in contests and crowd sourcing projects.”

Chiang also pointed out that SAP is recruiting young talents from universities as part of their early acquisition programme. These talents would undergo a nine-month training program that includes spending three months in the world renowned SAP training centre located in Dublin California, United States. The first talents identified are Mike Lim from INTI International University and Douglas Chan from Taylors University (pic – Lim standing left) who are SAP Malaysia’s youngest employees.

Students here are given the opportunity to acquire skills with substantial monetary returns, said Imran.

“If a student were to go on to obtain SAP certification, they can expect to be one of the highest paid professionals in the field,” he said, citing a Robert Walters survey that showed SAP consultants being one of the highest paid professions in the IT industry with salaries ranging from RM120,000 to RM250,000 [US$37,255 to US$77,616] per annum.

“I once had to employ a SAP consultant for RM18,000 [US$6,589] per month, and she would only come in three times a week,” said Imran.

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