Study an Engineering Course that has Future High Job Demand in Malaysia
When deciding on an engineering career path it is very difficult to know whether your chosen industry will continue growing, become oversaturated or even become obsolete because of technological advancements. It is clear that the trend is towards information technology and automation and this is set to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Traditional fields such as civil and petroleum engineering are still in high demand, but the fastest growing fields are those in the IT related areas. This article aims to list some of the engineering jobs that are most in-demand in future for Malaysian students to consider.
Engineering covers many different types of activity. Engineers make things, make things work and make things work better. They also use their creativity to design solutions to the world’s problems and help build the future. A career in engineering is fulfilling if you have chosen the right engineering field to study.
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- Why is the Accreditation by Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) important in my Engineering Degree Studies at Private Universities in Malaysia?
- Education Pathway to Professional Engineer in Malaysia after Studying a BEM Accredited Engineering Degree
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The Most In-Demand Engineering Courses with Future High Job Demand in Malaysia
The world will always need engineers, but some specialized fields are growing faster than others. As the population ages, environmental policy changes, and automation takes over more and more aspects of manufacturing, the world needs qualified and experienced engineers to design, develop, test, and implement new strategies to meet the challenges of technological advancements.
In order for the country to become a developed nation, the engineer to population ratio must be 1:100. For Malaysia, with a population of 32 million, the number of engineers should be 300,000. Surprisingly, based on the Education Ministry’s statistics from 1997 to 2020, the average number of engineers produced per year by the local institutions of higher learning, excluding graduates from international universities is about 16,000. The cumulative total of all engineers produced from 1997 to 2020 is estimated to be about 400,000. The number of engineers may be currently surplus for Malaysia.
Engineers are professionals with a degree qualification recognised by the Washington Accord for Engineers and are regulated and registered by the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM).
The engineer to population ratio for developed nations is 1:100. For Malaysia, with a population of 32 million, the number of engineers should be 300,000. As at February 2020, BEM’s registered Graduate Engineers and Professional Engineers stand at 137,073.
Unfortunately, the reality is that only 35% of the graduate engineers (GE) registered with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM). BEM is owned by the Malaysian government to administer the registration of PE. Although according to Malaysia’s law through the Registration of Engineers Act 1967 (Revised 2015), all practising engineers must be registered with the BEM as GE to work as an engineer legally. According to the statistic published by BEM in February 2020, only 10% out of 142,000 registered Graduate Engineer (GE) successfully obtained the certification as Professional Engineer, which is less than 4% of all engineers in Malaysia.
At least five most common engineering fields run the country today, which are mechanical, chemical, electrical, electronic, and civil engineering. Civil engineering shows the highest number of registered Graduate Engineer followed by mechanical, electrical, electronic, and chemical engineering.
More than 50% of the total registered Graduate Engineer have been upgraded into Professional Engineer for at least two engineering disciplines which are civil and electrical engineering.
For mechanical engineering, the number of Graduate Engineer converted into Professional Engineer is slightly less at about 40%. The least amount of converted Graduate Engineer into Professional Engineer status is demonstrated by chemical and electronic engineering.
Job Demand for Engineers in Malaysia
The 5-year centralised economic development plan, known as the Malaysia Plan, will be one of the keys to driving the construction sector up to pace again. The government has plans to expand and modernise the public infrastructures within the country. In December 2020, the government approved a 2021 budget worth RM322.5 billion (US$73.3 billion). 73.3% for operational expenditure, 21.4% towards development expenditure and the balance of 5.3% to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the East Coal Rail Line aims for completion in 2027, others projects continue to boost Malaysia’s construction sector. These include the Mass Rail Transit 2, Light Rail Transit 3, Electrified Double Track Gemas-Johor Bahru, Klang Valley Double Track Phase 2, Pan Borneo Highway and Coastal Highway.
With projects underway, there is a surge in demand for skilled labour workers within the property and construction industry.
In addition, the surge in telecommunications and internet usage skyrocketed. Virtual meetings are the norm. Software such as Zoom and other communication platforms are now necessities. Wireless networks and fibre broadband are a must to keep operations and businesses running amidst this pandemic.
Ministry of Finance states that the Malaysian economy expects to rebound between 6.0% and 7.5% through its gross domestic product in 2021. And civil engineering will be the one spurring the recovery.
What are the Fastest Growing and In-Demand Engineering Jobs in Malaysia?
Engineering plays a key role in supporting the growth and development in Malaysia’s economy as well as in improving the quality of life. As such, there is an important link between a country’s engineering capacity and its economic development. However, the extent to which engineering can aid development is also dependent upon government’s commitment of finances and resources required for infrastructure projects. By investing in infrastructure, such as transport, bridges, dams, communication, waste management, water supply and sanitation as well as energy and digital infrastructure, countries can raise their productivity and enhance other economic variables. By having a well-developed transport and communications infrastructure for example, countries are better able to get goods and services to market and move workers to jobs. A strong communications network allows a rapid and free flow of information, helping to ensure businesses can communicate and make timely decisions. All of these infrastructure projects require engineers.
Here are the fastest growing, most in-demand jobs predicted for future:
1. Automation & Robotics Engineer
Automation has been reducing jobs in key industries. Robots can perform tasks faster, cheaper, and more safely, and can perform repetitive tasks around the clock. There’s no going back from automation now—in fact, the field of robotics is only going to continue to grow. For job security, it’s a good idea for prospective engineers to position themselves within the automation industry.
Automation and robotics engineers are responsible for creating, developing, testing, and putting automated systems into place.
Robotic systems are already good at performing menial repetitive tasks that don’t require the dexterity and attention to detail provided by a human worker. However, with constant advances in computing, energy storage and materials, robots are beginning to move from single arm welding and assembly robots to complex humanoid machines.
A good example of this is the Boston Dynamics robot. A robotics engineer is involved in every aspect of the design, development, testing and implementation of robotic systems. Robotics engineers are typically either mechanical, electronics or mechatronic engineers. As we move ever-closer to an automated world, the only safe jobs are those within automation itself.
Courses that you should study:
2. Alternative Energy Engineer
As alternative energy sources become more mainstream and their technology advances, the cost of creating and implementing solar and wind power has gone down. This, in turn, has helped to boost demand for people who work on developing new, more efficient green energy tech, as well as inspect, repair, and install existing tech.
Solar, wind, biofuels and geothermal energy are key players in powering the future with the two most prevalent renewable energy technologies being solar panels and wind turbines.
As solar panels reduce in price, the desire for them increases and they are being installed in more and more projects across the planet every year. It is estimated that within the next five years the need for photovoltaic engineers will be double what it is now, and this shows no sign of stopping as organisations seek to reduce their carbon emissions and find cheaper, more sustainable sources of energy.
With the Malaysian government target that 11% of all energy will come from renewables by 2020, the Solar industry is going through a major surge. The problem is that the new Solar plants are up to 50Mw in size (10 times bigger than what we currently have) and there are 460Mw of new projects already confirmed!
With local talent already in short supply candidates with Solar experience are being offered expat packages to return to Malaysia to work in the industry and many are looking to hire Civil Engineers and Electrical Engineers with transferable skills.
Alternative energy engineers can assemble and install solar panels and service wind turbines. Mechanical or electrical engineers can start out here, but may want to go for a Master’s degree in energy engineering, specifically.
Courses that you should study:
- Electrical & Electronic Engineering
- Mechatronics Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Civil Engineering
3. Civil Engineer
Civil engineering never goes out of style. It’s a very varied field with a lot of different branches, and, as the population grows and environmental policies adjust, there will always be a need for people to oversee infrastructure projects. This is another safe bet for people looking for a secure long-term prospect.
Civil engineers are responsible for overseeing road systems, sewage systems, and dams, among other things. With the increase in demand for alternative energy sources, there’s an equal increase in openings for civil engineers to handle the needed infrastructure for solar and wind farms, geothermal installations, and more. They will need to handle feasibility studies, impact studies, cost estimates, site inspection, and integration with existing infrastructure.
Another opportunity for civil engineers comes in the form of smart cities. With the public and private sectors both looking to embed technology more intuitively into infrastructure, this presents a flourishing of new cross-disciplinary opportunities for civil engineers to build their digital skills and play a vital role in revisiting urban structures to revolutionise the way cities operate.
There are various branches of civil engineering which make it difficult to saturate the market and it is therefore a great field to be in. The main civil engineering fields include: structural engineering, road/highway engineering and transportation engineering.
Courses that you should study:
4. Telecommunications Engineer
According to the UN, in 2014 54% of the world’s population lived in urban areas. This is expected to increase to 66% by 2050, with the majority of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. In absolute terms, the urban population of the world grew from 746 million in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014. This figure is expected to surpass six billion by 2045.
This urbanisation will come with its own challenges and engineers will be involved in meeting the needs of growing urban areas, such as ensuring that there is adequate housing, water, sanitation, electricity and telecommunications.
Telecommunications is one of the most rapidly developing industry sectors globally. Mobile phones have become commonplace, optical fibres have improved long distance communications and digital techniques have made networks much more sophisticated. Communications are of vital importance to all people and all organisations
In addition, the arrival of 5G is expected to increase productivity and bring new products and services to market that have yet to be invented. Building on the foundation created by 4G LTE, 5G will dramatically increase the speed at which data is transferred across the network.
With the new opportunities brought about by this technology, 5G will create a highly competitive business environment across multiple industries. But it can only be built with the right skills and, as a result, many newly qualified engineers, technicians and 5G-ready engineers could find themselves being in very high demand over the next few years.
Courses that you should study:
5. Systems Software Engineer
While the world needs people to design and develop new ways to respond to environmental issues, an aging population, manufacturing, and our growing need for new, sustainable infrastructure, it also needs people to create the software that helps those things function. Every industry is increasing their dependence on technology, and the demand for software engineering has been increasing for years. That doesn’t look like it’s going to slow anytime soon. In fact, experts predict an increase of about 11% within the next few years.
Systems software engineers design, develop, and test operating systems. As more industries continue to update their technology, there will also be a need for network software. Network engineers are needed to oversee planning and implementing computer networks, while data science specialists are needed to analyze data and turn it into usable information.
Technology no longer operates just as a separate discipline but is integrated into all aspects of engineering design, planning, operations and maintenance. That could include the design and commercial production of digital devices and appliances, control systems for defence, power plants, aerospace and smart city infrastructure.
For wider engineering disciplines, digital engineers allow projects to make use of simulations, models, analysis and big data insights which support resource planning and costings, reduces wastage and allows projects to come to life for the client as early as possible with richly detailed computer-aided design.
this means that if you’re an engineer with capabilities in software, hardware, and data management, your expertise will be in high demand in whichever industry you want to specialise.
Courses that you should study:
6. Medical Devices
Malaysia is the largest medical device market in Southeast Asia, with a market worth US$1.55 billion (RM6.44 billion). In addition, Malaysia is seen as the leading medical device manufacturing hub in the East, competing against the likes of mature hubs such as Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Ireland.
In Malaysia, the medical devices industry spans a wide range of industries from
rubber and latex, textiles, plastics, machinery and engineering support and
Under the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (RMK-11), the Government has identified medical devices as one of the high potential growth sectors. The industry has also been identified as one of the growth areas under the Healthcare NKEA under which eight (8) EPPs were announced and targeted to contribute RM17.1 billion in revenue and RM11.4 billion in GNI, as well as generate 86,000 jobs by 2020.
There are approximately more than 200 medical devices manufacturers, mainly the small and medium entreprises (SMEs) manufacturing medical gloves. However, the industry also includes higher value-added and technologically advanced products such as cardiac pacemakers, stents, orthopaedic implantable devices, electromedical, therapeutic and monitoring devices.
There are currently more than 30 MNCs producing high value-added medical
devices, making Malaysia their offshore location for manufacturing operations, such as Agilent, B. Braun, Boston Scientific, St. Jude Medical, C.R. Bard, Symmetry Medical, Teleflex, Resmed, Ciba Vision, Kelpac Medical, Ambu, Toshiba Medical Systems and Haemonetics.
- Electromedical equipment
- Cardiovascular devices
- Orthopaedic devices
- In-vitro diagnostic products
- Wound care management products
- Products from convergence of technology (medical devices/ pharmaceutical/electronics/ ICT/IoT/ 3D Printing)
Courses that you should study:
7. Aerospace Engineer
Malaysia is already home to more than 230 aerospace companies including international players such as Airbus, General Electric, Spirit Aerospace and Honeywell. It is a great enabler for the development of a vibrant local supply chain comprising both international and local industry players.
Malaysia’s strategic position and strong local supply chain have contributed to its position as a preferred location for many MRO companies. Over 230 aerospace-related companies have established operations here in the country. They are involved in (MRO), aero manufacturing, education and training, systems integration, and engineering and design activities. Notable players such as Airbus Helicopters, Airfoil Services, Sepang Aircraft Engineering and GKN Aerospace have leveraged on our skilled local competencies to serve their customers in this region. Our local industry champions include UMW Aerospace, CTRM, Aerospace Composites Malaysia (ACM) and Spirit Aerosystems Malaysia. These are among the top tier single-source suppliers to major global aerospace OEMs such as Airbus, Boeing and Rolls Royce.
In the country’s most recent Aerospace Industry Blueprint, running from 2015 to 2030, the government has again targeted capturing 5% of the global MRO market by 2030, in addition to generating annual revenues of RM55.2bn ($13.7bn) and creating 32,000 high-skill jobs. Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Plan, meanwhile, forecasts the aerospace industry to be worth $1trn by 2020.
From commercial aviation to aircraft parts manufacturing MRO, aerospace is a strategic industry for Malaysia. In 2019, revenue from manufacturing and MRO raked in an estimated RM18 billion and provided jobs for 26,000 skilled workers.
As for Malaysia’s major exports, key products include aerospace parts and components such as fan cowl, fan casing, thrust reverser, forward leading edge and aircraft door. Most of the products were exported mainly to the US, Singapore, UK, China and France.
Malaysia is the second-largest aerospace market in Southeast Asia and the largest aero structures manufacturer in the region, with a long established design and build capability.
Currently, the aerospace industry activities can be seen throughout the country, especially in Selangor, Penang and Johor. The government is committed to strengthening the aerospace ecosystem by implementing efforts to transform Selangor and Kuala Lumpur into Southeast Asia’s hub for aerospace, particularly via Subang Aerotech Park and KLIA Aeropolis.
Courses that you should study:
Education Pathway to Become an Engineer
Engineering degrees that are accredited by the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) are recognised by overseas countries for work. Students should choose the best university in Malaysia to study engineering so that they can gain the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in their career.
Students after SPM or O-Levels who are sure of choosing engineering for their degree studies may go for the Foundation in Engineering. If you are still not sure whether you want engineering or other science courses, you may choose the Foundation in Science programme at premier private universities in Malaysia. Students after the external Pre-University Programme such as A-Levels, UEC, STPM, SAM, CPU, MUFY or AUSMAT may enter directly into the Engineering Degree programme with relevant results.
EduSpiral Consultant Services provides free advise to students after SPM, O-Levels, STPM, A-Levels, UEC, and Pre-University to guide them in choosing the right course and university to study so that they can have a successful career. The aim for EduSpiral Consultant Services in sharing this article is to help students in selecting their course of study and career paths based on areas in demand.