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Vietnam Preparing Workforce for AI Ecosystem

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The Minister of Science and Technology, Huynh Thanh Dat, has highlighted the need to develop a workforce skilled in artificial intelligence (AI) to actively support the growth of Vietnam’s AI ecosystem and ensure its long-term sustainability.

The building of this skilled workforce aligns with the objective of positioning Vietnam as a leading innovation and AI hub within ASEAN and globally. This vision is outlined in the national strategy on the research, development, and application of AI till 2030, according to Dat who was addressing the opening of the Vietnam Artificial Intelligence Festival 2023 (AI4VN) in Ho Chi Minh City.

Image credit: Vietnam News Agency

The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is keen on establishing connections among government officials, experts, scientists, businesses, and potential investors in the field of AI, both domestically and internationally.

Throughout the two-day event, the showcased solutions effectively showed the advancement of Vietnam’s technology sector, highlighting the active participation of numerous enterprises. The event served as a valuable platform for promoting the practical applications of AI in various aspects of daily life.

The theme this year was: “AI: Power for Life”. The plenary session delved into crucial topics aimed at enhancing the community’s and businesses’ comprehension of AI technology applications in everyday life. Additionally, it was a bridge to facilitate discussions between government agencies, departments, and businesses, enabling them to collaboratively shape policies for the development of AI in Vietnam.

Furthermore, the event included a technology-focused conference for business leaders, encompassing discussions on AI trends in finance, as well as the application of AI and big data in healthcare. Additionally, there was a dedicated showcase area where nearly 30 exhibitors from both domestic and foreign backgrounds introduced cutting-edge AI products.

AI4VN has been an annual programme organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology since 2018. These series of events serve as a platform to bring together a diverse array of stakeholders in the AI community, including policymakers, technology corporations, researchers, and university students.

Vietnam has been actively addressing the challenge of a shortage of skilled human resources in the field of AI over the past few years. As per data from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) last year, it was noted that there were over 1,600 individuals in Vietnam who were either studying or engaged in AI-related fields. However, the actual number of professionals actively working in AI within Vietnam was relatively low, with only around 700 individuals, including 300 experts, involved in this specialised work. Considering the substantial IT workforce of nearly 1 million employees in Vietnam, the availability of AI human resources remains relatively limited.

To address this challenge, businesses have several strategies at their disposal. They can consider recruiting AI experts from overseas or collaborating with domestic and international training institutions to “upskill” existing talent. It’s important to note that only approximately 30% of IT graduates are immediately equipped to work in AI roles, while the majority require additional training and development. Experts suggest the implementation of a specialised and comprehensive AI training programme to bridge this skills gap effectively.

Enterprises must cooperate with universities to train people for master’s and doctoral degrees in data science and AI for the existing engineering workforce. This approach seeks to create a strong synergy between academic institutions and industry needs. Additionally, there’s a need to broaden the scope of AI training to encompass a more diverse pool of participants, extending beyond individuals with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics or programming.

To facilitate the broad application of AI across various domains, universities should prioritise teaching students statistics and skills in using data. Additionally, there should be a shift in perspective where AI is not solely treated as a subset of information technology faculties. Instead, dedicated undergraduate and graduate training programmes specialised in AI and data science should be established and developed.


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