PETALING JAYA: The advancement into the digital age and Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) has rendered digital skills a necessity for employees and businesses alike in the current landscape, even prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Even before the pandemic, we had begun to see the rapid rise in demand for technology related jobs and the incessant decrease in demand for more traditional roles,” Redbeat Academy director of strategy & innovation Dr Ram Gopal (pix) told SunBiz.
Domestically, he pointed out that there is a shortage of such skills as evidenced by a Randstad survey in 2018 that found close to 90% of the Malaysian workforce does not have digital skills, and graduate unemployment also increased due to the lack of such skills.
On the ground, Ram said this translates into organisations within the country as well as the Asean region finding themselves at the cusp of a transformation but unable to close the huge skills gap. Reskilling the available talent has the potential to address this gap.
He noted that consistent upskilling would also address the issue given the fleeting nature of tech stacks, which have expanded market reach and lowered costs, and have enabled the development of new products and services.
“I believe that all sectors of the economy must adopt ICT to enhance productivity, enlarge market reach, and reduce operational costs.”
On the question of demand, the director observed that skills in data analysis, software engineering, digital marketing, artificial intelligence and cyber security are much sought after in the market.
For Redbeat Academy, established with the collaboration between AirAsia Digital and Google Cloud which was launched during the first movement control order (MCO 1.0) last year, saw over 1,200 AirAsia employees sign up for such courses, allowing them to look for new opportunities within the organisation.
“We have security officers, baggage handlers, pilots, cabin crew, commercial, engineering employees who are now in their selected tech paths such as cyber security, UX design, data analytics, software engineering, and digital marketing.”
Given the wealth of options of digital skills to choose from, Ram advises those who are unsure of which course to pick to go through a digital fundamentals course to discover their suitable tech path. Then they can consult with the academy’s trainers and experts to see what (digital) skill will complement their competencies or career aspirations.
“Most importantly, I believe that the individual will know what tech path they want to pursue once they’ve completed the course.”
On the whole, he believes reskilling is a necessity to compensate for an outdated education system. Employers recognise digital skills as a boon and it gives an advantage over those who do not have such skills.
To cement this advantage, it has partnered with WOBB Jobs to ensure those that have completed the course have the best chance at changing careers and gaining tech employment.
The academy has partnered with universities and Malaysian Industry-Government Group of High Technology to reskill a pool of talent in software engineering and high technology projects.
The director relayed its courses has been awarded and acknowledged as part of the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Malaya, Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation, Asia School of Business in collaboration with MIT Sloan Management and Imperial College London.
Commenting on the talent shortage, he said this has led to a great lag in the country’s progress into the tech sector which has threatened to scupper Malaysia’s efforts in attracting global investors.
Ram believes that most of the tech talent required will not require full degrees but would be better suited having professional certifications that equip them with the skills necessary to start working.
“It is all about getting the biggest bang for your buck,” he said.
“Why wait three years when you can get employed within six months? To me, the choice is clear – get certified, get employed and gain the experience you need to thrive.”