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Gearing up for a tech-driven future workforce

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Like many countries around the world, Singapore’s containment measures for the Coronavirus pandemic saw its economy contract and slide into a recession in 2020. The resulting economic fallout has also seen the country’s unemployment rate rose to its highest level in more than a decade.


With more than 50,000 fresh graduates entering the workforce this year, creating jobs and opportunities has grown to become the government's overriding economic priority.


The Ministry of Manpower shared that the hiring outlook for the third quarter of 2020 is at the weakest since 2009, with 28 percent of firms looking to tighten their belts and reduce headcount. Earlier last week, the Singapore government also introduced a new SGD1 Billion scheme to boost the hiring of locals in the coming months. Whether you are a fresh graduate looking to kick-start your career or mid-career professional on your mission to secure a new beginning, it is important to understand the current climate and the uncertainty that follows before embarking on your journey.


The Thriving Tech Industry

The silver lining in this ongoing crisis is the rise of technology and crisis-led solutions that have helped us to adapt to the “new normal”. With remote working arrangements and contactless services, there is an increased dependency on digital solutions and communication platforms. This has resulted in a 3.5% expansion in the Information and communications (ICT) industry despite the economic downturn.


The Singapore government has also rolled out initiatives to increase spending on the ICT sector this year to further support the development of crisis-led solutions as well as accelerate the digital transformation of the nation. To facilitate the push for digital disruption, the government is looking to give grants of up to $10,000 for companies adopting tech-solutions. With the government's backing and the industry rapidly evolving, there is a higher need to ensure that the capabilities available in the local workforce meets the needs of the growth as we look to slowly recuperate back to normal.


The Increased Demand for Tech Talents

While it is true that COVID-19 has caused layoffs and budget cuts in most industries, the pandemic has gotten traditional firms investing in capabilities to design, develop and operate digital solutions to keep up with the customer demand.  While tech companies on one end of the spectrum are actively recruiting fresh graduates as well as experienced professionals to bridge the gap for tech talents in the local workforce, other service sectors are also looking to enhance their digital infrastructure in-house, further elevating the demand for tech majors.


Like many of our peers in the ICT industry, Building Cities Beyond (BCB) Blockchain has been aggressively hiring since the start of 2020, as we look to expand our Singapore headquarters to support the development of our ecosystem. Singapore’s Minister of Parliament, Vivian Balakrishnan, who leads the country’s Smart Nation Initiatives mentioned that Singapore has about 200,000 existing tech professionals and will be requiring another 60,000 in the next three years.  Singapore’s ICT sector on its own has created about 1,100 jobs in the first quarter of 2020  despite the bleak economic outlook.


Preparing for a role in the tech industry

Regardless of hiring, the job economy remains a competitive one for aspiring job seekers to enter the technology sector. In a tight job market where employers are more selective, retaining every advantage as a job seeker and standing out during your application has become increasingly important.


As a hiring manager in the thriving tech sector, here are my tips on what candidates can do to distinguish themselves from the others: 


Understanding the project – Beyond job openings and details circulated on hiring ads, candidates should have a genuine interest in the company they are pursuing. This is especially important in a rapidly growing industry like blockchain. Jobseekers should invest their time and effort in understanding the project, read up the company's whitepaper, join their community channel, and get to know what are their major developments and upcoming projects. A background understanding will not only impress the hiring manager but also give a better picture for the candidate on where they fit best and how they can contribute to the project.


Networking is important – Many candidates fail to understand how networking is an important and crucial part of securing their dream job in tech. The pandemic has, of course, limited face-to-face meetings, but the tech industry is still abuzz with online tech meetups, webinars, and industry events. Most industries within the ICT sector in Singapore feature tight-knit communities and the current pandemic is the perfect opportunity for job seekers to integrate with these communities.


Brushing up cross-disciplinary skills – Companies are looking for candidates who are beyond their academic accreditation. Candidates should remember that jobs in tech are often not silos – and teams are required to socialise in order to solve complex issues or co-develop a solution. Hence, it is important to work on interdisciplinary skills that make one a better team player and also equip them with a better understanding of the different functions that work hand in hand to achieve the company goals.


Final Note

With that said, I wish the best for all job seekers looking to break into tech. Always remember to evolve with the technology, as it is a platform of life-long learning and ever-growing opportunities. Be proactive in building your capabilities and understanding the needs of the industry, especially when it comes to emerging technologies like Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI). An eager learning attitude combined with critical thinking abilities is always an asset to all growing industries.



 GUEST POST BY:

 Vanessa Koh, CTO of BCB Blockchain

Vanessa Koh is a Techpreneur and a start-up specialist, who partners with CSuite Executives to engineer the best customer-centric products and deliver multimillion-dollar revenues. Vanessa is also the CTO of GBCI Ventures, a smart city venture builder.

As an avid fan of futuristic cities, she is the Co-CTO of BCB Blockchain a Singapore-based blockchain technology. With a passion for technology and experience with developing successful tech products, she is instrumental in spearheading the research & development department and the developer ecosystem in BCB Blockchain.

Vanessa has started 4 technology start-up companies in the areas of SAAS infrastructure, software and web applications development, Enterprise Resource Planning systems, Blockchain and smart contract technologies as well as 2 Fintech investment funds since 2010. She brings this of experience in a multitude of different technologies to BCB, spearheading projects globally.

Driven and with a hands-on approach, Vanessa has recruited and worked with the brightest talents around Asia and enjoys applying game theories and gamification in her work.

Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Computer Science in Game Design from the University of Wollongong.




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