Top 10 Digital Talent Technology Jobs in Malaysia
The gap between the demand for information and computer technology (ICT) talent and the supply of that talent is large. Under the MyDigital initiative, the Malaysian government is openly committed to advance the country digitally, aiming to attract and drive investments in the digital economy to create at least half a million jobs by 2025.
The Information and Technology (IT) industry continues to relish tremendous growth since the pandemic started. It is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Malaysian market to date. According to a report by GlobalData Market Opportunities Forecasts, IT expenditure in Malaysia will reach RM103.75 billion by 2023.
As demand for tech talent increases, private companies and government agencies are making big investments in the tech sector to ensure sustainable growth in the future. For example, Malaysia’s tech hub, Cyberjaya, is receiving RM11bn (£2.1bn) in investments through the implementation of the upcoming Cyber City Centre, while RM1.5bn has been allocated to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
With the large investments being pumped into all areas of Malaysia’s technology sector, not only are these major projects going to develop the industry, it will be a primary driver in developing the tech talent pipeline.
The National Policy on Industry Revolution 4.0 (Industry4WRD), spearheaded by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), will play a vital role in promoting digitalisation across all sectors. Businesses are starting to pivot their operations to enable remote capabilities, no longer restricted to borders and time zone differences.
The new norm of working from home is a major contributing factor. As remote work protracts indefinitely, businesses are adapting to a hybrid work model. Larger organisations are making efforts to integrate IT into their operations.
As the economy rebounds, the emphasis on Industrial Revolution 4.0 will be the centre of focus. Aligning with the government’s effort, the digital transformation across all sectors and industries will be inevitable. IT professionals will play an active role in the process to keep businesses up-to-date and relevant.
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Urgent and Unprecedented Demand for Technology Talent in Malaysia
Malaysia is banking on solid public and private partnerships to close the skills gap as it charts its way to realize the Malaysia 5.0 agenda while eyeing to be the Heart of digital ASEAN.
Inspired by Japan’s Society 5.0, the agenda seeks to transform the country into a digital nation with 4IR (fourth industrial revolution) technologies integrated at every level of its society and steer its national education system to align with a digital future.
The 12th Malaysia Plan revealed in 2021 also sets out to boost the GDP contribution of its digital sector from 22.6% to 25.5% by 2025.
A report by Randstad Malaysia, stated that companies’ increasing focus on digital transformation will drive talent demand and shape the local workforce in 2021. There will be demand for highly specialised talent, particularly in areas such as Internet of Things (IoT), software development, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, robotics, project migration and change management.
In the technology industry, Randstad Malaysia predicts four potential areas of technology growth in 2021 – cybersecurity, Software-as-a-Service conferencing solutions, e-commerce, and IoT.
Aligned with its projections on market growth, it said experienced talent in cybersecurity, app development, DevOps and digital marketing would be highly sought-after in 2021.
Malaysian Digital Economy Corp (MDEC)
According to Malaysian Digital Economy Corp (MDEC), theinformation technology (IT) industry is expected to face a shortage of between 7,000 and 15,000 professionals, as Malaysia rides the wave of the growing digital economy.
There are more than 3,000 companies registered under the Multimedia Super Corridor and the industry is currently in need of specialised workers in various IT fields. MDEC projects that by 2025, the IT industry will require one million specialised working professionals as the industry is experiencing a rampant growth.
MDEC Digital Talent Survey 2021
The MDEC Digital Talent Survey 2021 published in October last year found 85% of companies recognize the need to reskill their employees. As 48% of companies adopted digital tech platforms for day-to-day operations, up from 19% in 2020, the required skills have also evolved.
The survey also found that more emphasis is put on technical skills, such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, data analytics, digital marketing, and software development, instead of digital productivity and remote working skills.
MDEC: Digital job vacancies almost tripled in Malaysia
As Malaysia and the world experience the extended impact from the Covid-19 pandemic, the role of digital is ever more important for the survival of businesses. It is therefore not entirely surprising that digital job vacancies in Malaysia almost tripled from June 2020 to April 2021.
This finding was made based on Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation’s (MDEC) tracking of digital vacancies on five popular recruitment platforms in Malaysia since June 2020.
MDEC found that the number of digital job vacancies increased from around 19,000 in June last year to more than 56,000 as at April 2021, with the largest share of vacancies posted on LinkedIn. The most popular jobs were in software development, data science, IT services and e-commerce. Some 76% of the vacancies were for experienced hires while only about 20% were open to fresh graduates, with the rest for internships.
The country’s leading digital economy agency found the local top 10 in-demand digital skills from the LinkedIn Talent Insights platform as follow:
- Analytical skills
- Computer science
- Software development
- Information Technology
- Cloud computing
Critical Occupation List (COL)
Furthermore, IT jobs such as Software Developers, Computer Network Professionals, System Analysts, and Application Programmers have appeared in every Critical Occupation List (COL) since 2015.
The COL, published by Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA) and TalentCorp Malaysia, shows occupations that are skilled, sought-after, and strategic across 18 sectors in Malaysia.
Moreover, Malaysia’s top five emerging jobs were all related to the tech industry as reported by LinkedIn in its report titled 2019 Emerging Jobs in Malaysia.
It analysed “millions” of job titles by LinkedIn users in Malaysia in 2013 and 2017 and then grouped them into common job roles and counted how frequently a particular job role appeared in 2013 versus 2017.
The report identified five future jobs in Malaysia which are Data Scientist, Full Stack Engineer, Drive Test Engineer, User Experience (UX) designer and Content Writer.
In addition, MyDIGITAL is expected to create 500,000 new job opportunities in the digital economy and, in effect, contribute 22.6% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product by 2030.
What are the Ten Most In-Demand Technology Jobs in Malaysia?
- Software Engineer
- Data Scientist
- Cybersecurity Specialist
- Artificial Intelligence (Ai) Professional
- Internet of Things (IoT) Specialist
- Cloud Computing Specialist
- Fintech Professional
- Robotics Specialist
- Information Technology (IT) Professional
- Mobile Computing Specialist
Malaysia’s Digital Talent Demand
Software developers, user interface designers, cloud experts and IT project managers are deemed to see the largest demand in both markets because of the emergence of a lot of startups and small companies. Malaysian businesses want to get digitalised to reduce paperwork and move from traditional retail to e-commerce.
Malaysia’s rapid expansion of regional IT hubs in recent years has engendered an acute demand for talent in key positions. This is especially pressing considering Malaysia’s goal to raise 2,000 data scientists and 16,000 data professionals by 2030. Currently, there are only 300 data scientists in Malaysia – both local and foreign.
Malaysia has been spearheading the development of Data Analytics and is close to becoming the data hub of all of Southeast Asia. The nation is putting in efforts to maintain steady growth in the field of Data Science as well as promoting the field to get more people interested.
It is globally recognized that the world is facing a huge gap between the supply and demand for Data Scientists and the stats in Malaysia are the same. The government of Malaysia has the aim of producing around 20,000 data professionals in the oncoming future. Currently, the number of Data Scientists in the country is around 300 which is very less as compared to the demand of Data Scientists by various organizations and companies.
According to official reports, there are around 22 multinational companies involved in Big data and analytics (BDA) which are working in Malaysia, therefore, making constant progress towards making Malaysia a hub for Big data and analytics amongst Southeast Asia.
With various companies such as Coursera, Cloudera and Center of Applied Data Science (CADS), Malaysia has been producing Data Scientists at a better rate as these companies work together with the government and the Universities in the nation to get more people in the field of Data Science and train them with the skill and knowledge to become a proficient Data Scientist.
Cyber security professionals are increasingly in demand as businesses continue to battle the growing threat of cybercrime. Budget 2021 allocated RM27million for cybersecurity programs alone. That itself forms the fundamental building blocks of the digital transition under the Malaysian Digital Economy roadmap.
Malaysia targets employing 20,000 cybersecurity professional by 2025 with the right training in artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and Big Data across all industries. The rapid growth of the cybersecurity industry, coupled with threats posed by technological advancements, is resulting in greater job creation in the field.
Cybersecurity and data systems integration solutions are burgeoning. The essentialities of such services received acknowledgement by SMEs, and the adoption rate reflects the shift. And predictably, the top 10% of job opportunities in Malaysia are cybersecurity related. More businesses and companies understand
the significance of cybersecurity.
With the ongoing global pandemic, most industries are going digital, which indirectly necessitate cybersecurity protection. It is imperative to keep organisations safe by executing new technologies to address the potential risks.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
11 per cent to 54 per cent of jobs in Malaysia can be significantly affected by AI in the next two decades and 7.4 per cent of Malaysian workers are at risk of being displaced by 2028.
In order to meet the high demand of delivering faster, relevant and holistic services to today’s customers, it is estimated that about 70 percent of organisations will integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist employee productivity by 2021.
However, only 26 percent of companies in Malaysia have actually begun integrating AI into their operations, according to a survey that was conducted in 2018. The low adoption rate is attributed to two key barriers that are related to organisational culture on AI and limited employee skill sets.
Therefore, the demand for qualified and trained professionals in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is high in Malaysia.
Internet of Things (IoT)
In Malaysia, the IoT industry is expected to generate over 14,000 new jobs and contribute billions of ringgit to the economy. According to MIMOS, IoT will create a positive impact on several areas. First, it expects mobile device penetration to hit 280% by 2025 (from 144% currently). It also expects mobile broadband penetration to jump to 167% by 2025 (from under 15% in 2015) and mobile services to more than double to US$16 billion in 2025.
MIMOS also added that implementation of IoT is also likely to contribute RM9.5 billion to Malaysia’s gross national income by 2020, and RM42.5 billion by 2025. From the RM42.5 billion projection, RM34 billion will be driven by apps and services, as well as analytics solutions.
In 2015, the Ministry of Science, Innovation & Technology Malaysia launched the National IoT Strategic Roadmap, which forecasted opportunities to reach RM9.5 billion in 2020 and RM42.5 billion in 2025. This is all done to create a national ecosystem to make IoT a new source of economic growth with its industrialisation and proliferation of use.
The National IoT Strategic Roadmap outlines 3 national goals:
- Malaysia as the Regional Development Hub for IoT
- Create a conducive IoT industry ecosystem
- Strengthen technopreneur capabilities in Apps & Services layer
Malaysia’s public cloud market alone, which amounts to 3.63% of the total IT spending in the country, has already reached USD643.4 million, according to research site Twimbit. This makes Malaysia the second-biggest cloud market in ASEAN after Singapore.
We have seen significant progress in its digital transformation journey, launching the Digital Free Trade Zone, and introducing multiple digital initiatives in its national agenda. Disruptive abilities and technologies such as cloud computing will continue to increase the demand for specialised and skilled employees.
This year has also seen the creation of a new country office by Alibaba – a “one-stop solution centre” for local businesses designed to support Malaysia’s technology innovation through cloud computing services – following soon after the launch of its first electronic world trade platform hub outside of Mainland China, creating the infrastructure to support global trade with services encompassing ecommerce, logistics, cloud computing, mobile payment and talent training.
What Qualifications Should You Have to Work in the Computing & Technology Jobs in Malaysia?
With the increased demand for trained professionals in information technology (IT) and the many universities for students to choose from, it is important for the student to be able to choose a university that best fits his or her needs – financially, quality, educationally and career. Within the computing discipline, there are 3 major areas of study that private universities offer which are Information Technology (IT), Computer Science and Software Engineering. These computing fields are related but also quite different from each other and the subjects overlap as well.
With an IT degree, graduates can find work in areas such as information security, network architecture, database administration, systems administration and computer support. However, some of these jobs require advanced computer science and programming knowledge, so students need to decide beforehand which area that they would like to specialise in.
For example, information security requires knowledge of discrete math and algorithms, and database administration requires knowledge of programming. Also, information security analysts usually have certifications, such as ISC or CISSP.
In general, IT professionals need to stay abreast of new technology, and they must be very familiar with how to use operating systems and server software, including Linux, Apache, OpenSSL, Windows Server, Oracle, MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server.
There are many types of computing courses that you can choose or specialise in. You must take the time to talk to the right people so that you understand which one fits you. Students should also choose the best university for computing or IT to study at so that you can gain the necessary knowledge and skills.