Singapore identifies AI, IoT as emerging key skillsets, with infrastructure support set for displacement

Singapore has earmarked Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and artificial intelligence (AI) amongst key technology trends it believes will drive demand for skillsets over the next three to five years. Roles in infrastructure and operations, however, are at risk of displacement and will require reskilling as they transition towards automation and DevOps.

Industry regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) released its “jobs transformation” roadmap for the local information and communications workforce Thursday, highlighting roles it said would be in demand as well as at risk of being displaced amidst rapid technology changes.

The roadmap pointed to several key trends that would drive high demand for skilled workers over the next few years, including cloud computing, analytics and AI, and software engineering and DevOps. These were needed as more organisations looked towards cloud-based and AI-powered applications and agile development, according to the IMDA document, which was compiled in partnership with consulting firm EY.

The report placed job roles into three categories, comprising high-impact roles that may face displacement or convergence, medium-impact roles that may require additional skillsets or redesign, as well as low-impact roles that may face minimal changes.

Those parked under high-impact jobs were mainly in infrastructure and operations and support, such as infrastructure and network engineers, applications and systems support engineers, and security operations analysts.

Workers in this category would require reskilling to remain relevant, picking up skillsets such as continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD), 5G-related skills such as network slicing, agile software development, and cyber risk management. These would enable them to transition into roles encompassing, amongst others, automation and orchestration, DevOps, and incident investigation.

“With the move to cloud platforms, there will be a decreasing need for standalone infrastructure engineering roles for organisations that do not have on-premise infrastructure,” the report noted, adding that these companies would outsource the designing and deploying of their IT infrastructures to cloud vendors.

It would reduce the need for infrastructure engineers, who might need to take on SRE (site reliability engineering) functions that could better automate and optimise infrastructure performance.

The report further noted that those holding onto low-impact roles also should look to acquire new competencies, including in AI application, business risk management, customer behaviour analysis, and data governance.

IMDA said initiatives to upskill the local workforce had seen healthy uptake. Singapore 5G & Telecoms Academy, for instance, saw more than 7,000 professionals taking up courses in 5G and related technologies over the past two years.

The industry regulator added that further training would be rolled out through appointed training partners under its current TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) scheme. Institutes of Higher Learning also would work with industry players to help organisations identify at-risk employees and assist them in reskilling their information and communications workforce.

According to IMDA, details on “modular training” on basic and intermediate skills for the local industry would be revealed next year.

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