The Endless Possibilities of ICT and What This Means for You

17 Apr 2020 Posted in ⟨Stories⟩

NTUC LearningHub is known for its vast range of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) courses, but have you ever wondered what goes into their development?

With a wealth of experience in the technology industry, Isa Nasser, Head of ICT, made the leap a year ago from doing robotics training for industrial robots to his new position spearheading the ICT Product Division.

Take a peek behind the curtain with Isa as we discover his passion for continuous learning and the wonders of technology.

“My role here has allowed me to align my enthusiasm for learning with our social mission of developing high-quality ICT courses for Singaporeans,” described Isa. “And my day-to-day challenge involves thinking about what’s most apt in the fast evolving world of ICT for you!”

In his first year, Isa had his plate full with ensuring Singaporeans were well prepared for Industry 4.0. Innovation is hurtling forward faster than ever, and actively finding ways to remain ahead of the curve is part and parcel of his usual workday.


 

Constantly looking beyond the horizon

Ultimately, teamwork makes the dream work, and developing top-notch courses is not something that is done in isolation. Isa emphasises the need for collaboration in order to ensure the training can provide the most value, especially when weighing the costs of building courses in-house or with external partners.

“As a continuous learning provider, we cannot stand by ourselves. I’m always on the lookout for best-in-class partners, as their expertise is highly valuable in creating good content,” said Isa. “I also liaise with funding bodies to ensure sufficient support to keep our courses affordable!”

As expected, designing courses comes with its fair share of challenges. A major one is being responsive enough to the ever-changing ICT trends, and making sure Singaporeans have the needed skills in a timely manner.

“One example of a recent trend is Agile project management, which encourages people to approach tasks in an incremental fashion for faster reactions. In line with this methodology, we were quick to launch a mix of courses that cover Agile and Scrum Fundamentals and PMI Agile certification,” Isa reflected.

Worlds colliding as data takes centre stage


 

Data is the most powerful currency in the digital age, and as physical and virtual worlds begin to merge, the uses of data will increase tenfold to achieve capabilities that would have been unimaginable a decade ago.

“This conflation of the physical and digital worlds is the lynchpin to Industry 4.0,” says Isa. “By pulling out the data from the real world, we are able to create a digital twin in the virtual world. A good example is the one used in the Tuas Mega Port, which helps researchers test the impact of various designs and simulate potential weather disruptions. Incorporating Industrial Internet of Things (IOT) allows businesses to pull data and use data analytics to extract insights and optimise processes and services.”

The painless way to progress in your career is to achieve industrial certification.

With great power comes great responsibility, and Isa acknowledges that handling massive amounts of invaluable data has inherent risks. “The abundance of machine learning models requiring data as basic fuel means that people are actively seeking to procure data, whether legally or illegally.” Isa warned.

So what is one way to prepare against data breaches? “Get trained!” Isa states with a smile. “Many companies have sent their staff to our Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) course. Understanding is the first step of competency in data protection.”

Technology is leading the charge to the future

According to Isa, end-users are often the most vulnerable part of an organisation, and cybersecurity is so much more than just encryption practices. At NTUC LearningHub, cybersecurity courses are no dreary classroom tutorials. It is one thing to tell people what they should do, but how can you actually bring about real behavioural change?

“By getting a hacker to be the trainer!” Isa chuckles, a twinkle in his eye. “We partnered with Cybint for a course that has real hacking demonstrations to show how data can be compromised. It does scare the learners a bit, but that way they are less inclined to repeat the same mistakes!”

Isa’s enthusiasm for learning radiates prominently, and his top advice for working professionals is to always look for learning opportunities. “While having a diploma or degree is extremely valuable, companies are also looking for professionals certified by Oracle, Microsoft, UiPath, and Tableau. Having certifications serve as solid proof of your capabilities and would vastly improve employability,” said Isa.

Say the word “ICT” and most would assume those skills are only needed for technical careers, but Isa hopes to change that stereotype. “ICT isn’t just for developers or computer scientists. For example, Robotics Process Automation (RPA) bots can be useful for accountants, and coding skills for designers,” remarked Isa. “If you are new to ICT, data analytics and RPA are good places to start. For more experienced individuals, a certificate in project management will be valuable for any industry,” he recommends.

With a fierce passion for technology, Isa’s role at NTUC LearningHub has allowed him to be at the forefront of technological trends. “From Artificial Intelligence to robots that work for you, having the opportunity to work closely with so many kinds of technologies is the best part of my job. It’s really fulfilling and exhilarating for me,” Isa shared.

My motivation is being able to excite others who may not be in the industry about the possibilities of technology!” says Isa. “I hope to share about the importance of coding, data literacy and cybersecurity, just to name a few, as I find them immensely interesting to learn.”

Since 2004, NTUC LearningHub has fulfilled over 2.4 million training places and transformed over 16,700 organisations.

 

Regardless of collar, age or nationality, we are here to help you change your skills to keep up with a rapidly changing workforce. For more information on how we can help, talk to our friendly Course Consultants at NTUC Trade Union House, Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability, LHUB @ Tampines Mall or any of our roadshows islandwide.


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