What are the Top Computing and Information Technology (IT) Courses that Malaysian Students should Study that has a Future High Job Demand?
- The digital economy contributes 22.6% to Malaysia’s GDP and is expected to rise to 25.5% by 2025 and create more than 500,000 jobs.
- Graduates and workers with higher skills benefited more. Individuals with basic digital skills enjoyed less growth in demand than those with either intermediate or advanced disruptive skills.
- Basic digital skills have become a foundational or essential skill in job markets. Job seekers and people already in the workforce need to advance to intermediate and advanced digital skills to stand out and succeed professionally.
- The pandemic has accelerated demand for digital talent, especially in the industries most heavily affected.
The 2020 Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum cites a survey in which 83% of companies reported that remote work will be scaled up and 84% said that digitalization will accelerate. Accelerated investment in upskilling and reskilling workers can add at least $6.5 trillion to global output and 5.3 million new jobs by 2030, according to a World Economic Forum and PwC report, and make economies around the world inclusive and sustainable. Accelerating skill development has the potential to boost global productivity by 3% on average by 2030. The newly created jobs are expected to be those complemented and augmented by technology, not replaced. Clearly, the age of digital skills has arrived.
Seeing the potential of this wave of digitalisation, the government stepped up its efforts in encouraging the growth of the digital economy. In February 2021, the government launched its digital blueprint—MyDIGITAL, a roadmap that charts the path towards Malaysia’s vision of becoming a regional leader in the digital economy. Some of these initiatives include increasing the number of local data centres to provide high-end cloud computing services, rolling out 5G networks, and driving greater cybersecurity adoption. MyDIGITAL is expected to create 500,000 new job opportunities and increase the number of start-ups to 5,000 in the digital economy by 2030. The digital economy is one of Malaysia’s key economic pillars, currently contributing 22.6% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The number is set to rise to 25.5% by 2025 according to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
Digital skills are increasingly important for success in Malaysia’s future modern job markets. Digital transformation has pervaded practically all industries, exacerbated by developments due to COVID-19. As digital transformation accelerates, what are the skills required for these digital jobs in the future? What types of courses will become more important to graduate in? What is the demand for, and supply of, digital skills in key sectors? This article examines the landscape of future and emerging jobs in Malaysia so that students after SPM or IGCSE/O-Levels and Pre-University are able to choose the right course that has future job demand when they graduate in 2030. It also discusses key trends in job markets, particularly in emerging industries, the courses and qualifications in demand in Malaysia, and the skills that job seekers are expected to have.
This article presents practical recommendations for timely action for students after secondary school to leverage the digital transformation for greater access to digital jobs with appropriate qualification and digital skills. This will bring strong rewards as Malaysia speeds up its digital revolution. Choosing the right course will become critical to graduates obtaining solid careers and benefiting from higher paid jobs in key technology sectors.
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Which are the Top Computing and Technology Courses to Study in Malaysia that has Future High Job Demand?
Digital technology is reshaping labor markets, causing job seekers and employers alike to continually keep track of trends in job markets to understand emerging opportunities and requirements for digital skills.
Explosive growth and spread of digital technologies have brought transformational changes to the working world. Digital technologies are reshaping labor markets, increasing demand for people with digital skills and competencies, while reducing demand for people who perform routine manual jobs that are amenable to automation. This transformation promises higher productivity but comes with challenges, as automation eliminates many jobs, digitalization transforms traditional practice in entire industries, and unequal access to digital technologies threatens to exacerbate job market vulnerabilities of the poor and disadvantaged.
Informed decisions and actions by both students and parents, are needed to amplify benefits and mitigate harm to their future careers. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic accelerated digitalization trends even as it exposed the dangers of unequal access to connectivity and devices. Firms adopted digital business models seemingly overnight to build agility and resilience into their operations. The need for skill enhancement to enable workers to remain in the workforce and to land digital jobs in demand is witnessing a steep rise. The world after COVID-19 will see fundamental transformation in work practices and models.
Basic digital literacy is now essential, and workers with higher skills benefit more.
The survey of employers showed that, on average, employers required 8 of the last 10 candidates hired in the past year to possess at least basic digital literacy and skills, and 4 of the last 10 hires to possess advanced digital skills. Individuals with just basic digital skills met with less growth in demand than those with either intermediate or advanced disruptive digital skills. Hiring for digital talent showed differences when comparing basic, intermediate, and advanced digital skills. Individuals with only basic skills were in much lower demand than those with either intermediate or advanced skills. About 70% of all surveyed employers reported that basic and applied digital skills are now a workplace essential, highlighting the growing importance of advanced digital skills.
Data analytics is a fast-growing skill across all industries in the report. The ability to use and analyze data
is among the fastest-emerging skill categories in e-education, smart cities, and renewable energy
Fundamental coding and programming skills are an emerging need across all jobs.
Across all countries surveyed, Structured Query Language (SQL) and Java consistently appear among the digital skills most in demand for different job categories.
This indicates the broad applicability and relevance of these fundamental coding and programming skills, required for data analysis and building software and hardware tools.
To seize emerging opportunities in the digital era, students should choose degree programmes whose syllabus would cover key areas so that they are able to perform competently as soon as they start work.
Avoid lesser known universities that may offer cheaper tuition fees but may not equip you with the necessary skills as their adoption of changes to course offerings and curricula did not keep pace with evolving employers’ needs.
World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Jobs Report 2023
Digital talent is already in high demand at present and looks to grow even more in years to come. In the World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Jobs Report 2023 found that employers expect to create 69 million new jobs by 2027 and eliminate 83 million positions. That will result in a net loss of 14 million jobs, equivalent to 2% of current employment. Organizations polled by WEF estimated that 34% of all business-related tasks are currently performed by machines. They expect that number to reach 42% by 2027.
The rush to deploy artificial intelligence means that companies will need new workers to help them implement and manage AI tools. Employment of data analysts and scientists, machine learning specialists and cybersecurity experts is forecast to grow 30% on average by 2027, according to WEF. Within technology adoption, big data, cloud computing and AI feature highly on likelihood of adoption. More than 75% of companies are looking to adopt these technologies in the next five years.
Malaysia: A Hub for Digital Startups
Malaysia is positioning itself at the forefront of Southeast Asia’s vibrant start-up ecosystem, with a focus on becoming a regional hub to grow high-performing start-ups.
The announcement that Carsome has become Malaysia’s latest unicorn is adding momentum to the country’s emergence as a hub for scaling up. The Malaysian-based second-hand car sales platform raised US$200 million in funding last year and follows the country’s home-grown “super app” Grab, which provides services including food delivery, transport and online payment systems, and is now estimated to be worth about US$10 billion. Other companies also chasing unicorn status include drone-tech company Aerodyne, and Inmagine, a creative industries company providing a wide range of assets to clients and partners.
Malaysia is ideally placed to serve as a base for start-ups looking to scale up. A report published last year by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network ranked Kuala Lumpur ninth globally in Ecosystem Value, estimating it to be worth US$16.1 billion.
The same report also ranked Malaysia 34th of 134 countries ready to transition to a digital economy, and suggested fintech as a leading sector in the nation’s pool of start-ups.
MDEC, together with the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, launched Malaysia Digital — the national strategic initiative to encourage and attract companies, talents and investments, while enabling Malaysians to play a leading role in the global digital revolution.
MyDIGITAL is an initiative that reflects the Government’s aspiration to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation that is focused on digitalisation and is a regional pioneer in digital economy. The Malaysian Digital Economy Blueprint outlines the efforts and initiatives taken to fulfill the myDIGITAL aspiration. This blueprint will determine the trajectory of the digital economy’s contributions to the Malaysian economy and builds the foundation to drive digitalisation nationwide, including to bridge the digital divide.
MyDIGITAL is a roadmap that charts the path towards Malaysia’s vision of becoming a regional leader in the digital economy. Some of these initiatives include increasing the number of local data centres to provide high-end cloud computing services, rolling out 5G networks, and driving greater cybersecurity adoption. MyDIGITAL is expected to create 500,000 new job opportunities and increase the number of start-ups to 5,000 in the digital economy, in effect, contribute 22.6% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product by 2030.
Besides serving as the engine to accelerate the growth of the nation’s digital ecosystem, Malaysia Digital seeks to drive adoption and opportunities in the digital economy to support the national recovery plan, especially through the Malaysia Digital Catalytic Programmes (Pemangkin).
Under Malaysia Digital, nine focus sectors have been identified as presenting high-growth potential, opportunity and importance in driving Malaysia’s next transformation in the digital economy. The nine are: trade, agriculture, services, cities, health, finance, content, tourism and Islamic digital economy.
Top 15 Computing and Digital Technology Degree Courses with Future High Job Demand in Malaysia
Graduates and workers with either intermediate or advanced digital skills are much more in demand than those with only basic digital skills. Those with only basic digital skills are nearly on par with those who did not report any digital skills at all. Employers hiring staff for niche, tech-intensive roles reported demand for computer hardware and software skills.
Students who are interested in Computing and Digital Technology field should talk to a knowledgeable and experienced counselor to find out more about the courses, the future job demand and whether it would suit their personality. Here are 15 Top Computing and Information Technology (IT) courses to consider for your undergraduate studies:
- Data science
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Machine Learning
- Software development or Software Engineering
- Cloud Computing
- Computer Science
- Financial Technology (Fintech)
- Internet of Things (IOT)
- Information Technology (IT)
- Game Development
- Network Computing
- Mobile Computing
- Digital Transformation
- Digital Forensics