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SMU Launches SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree to Create More Software Engineers

The School of Computing and Information Systems (SCIS) at the Singapore Management University will offer the University’s first work-study degree in software engineering to train a pipeline of talent with the necessary knowledge and skills to meet the demand for such talent. The collaboration with the programme’s first anchor partner – the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) – was formalised with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding

The Bachelor of Science (Software Engineering) SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree is a full-time, four-year undergraduate degree programme that combines classroom learning with structured on-the-job training. It features a rigorous 52-week apprenticeship where students work in development teams under the mentorship of professional software engineers.

As the digitalisation of industries, economies and societies accelerate, we have seen strong interest from prospective students to study computing, as well as strong demand from industry and Singapore for computing talent. In response, the School of Computing and Information Systems has been increasing our student intake over the years. We have launched and refreshed our education programmes in response to emerging technologies and market demands in order to stay relevant to the industry.

Professor Pang Hwee Hwa, Dean of SCIS

The new BSc (Software Engineering) SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree aims to nurture undergraduates with a strong foundation in software engineering design and principles, competent programming skills and real-life hands-on industry experience. Collaboration with industry partners is part of an overall effort to nurture future-ready graduates who are able to create value for business and society with industry-relevant skills.

The new work-study degree in software engineering presents a rare opportunity for the students to gain in-depth and first-hand experience through working on challenging and impactful government digitalisation projects. GovTech is a strong advocate in the development of young tech talent and recruits over 200 interns each year. This partnership underscores our commitment to developing the next generation of tech talent to drive Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government agenda.

With the pervasive use of technology across the economy, society and polity, the demand for computing talent, including software engineers, has been increasing in Singapore and globally and is expected to remain high in the foreseeable future. Singapore’s standing as a regional tech hub has attracted many technology companies to the country. This has resulted in a surge in demand for software engineers. Software developers are among the four most in-demand tech roles in both the public and private sectors in Singapore.

Highlights of the BSc (Software Engineering) SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree:

  • Strong industry collaboration: The degree’s curriculum is drawn up after extensive consultation with practising software engineers in Singapore and will be updated regularly to adhere to market trends. The courses will be co-developed and co-taught by SCIS faculty and practising software engineers from our anchor partners. In addition to GovTech, SCIS is looking to collaborate with other industry partners as well.
  • One-year apprenticeship: Undergraduates of the BSc (Software Engineering) SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree will embark on a one-year apprenticeship, which is credit-bearing, after completing a suite of 12 compulsory courses covering essential software engineering skills. The courses are organised in three clusters: Computing Foundation, Software Development, and Solution Management.

The apprenticeship aims to meet demand from prospective students who seek an applied IT degree with a significantly longer apprenticeship period than what a typical internship offers. The apprenticeship will allow them to learn industry best practices from subject matter experts and give them a head start in their careers.

Working in development teams, the students will innovate software solutions under the mentorship of professional software engineers. They will be able to strengthen and broaden their technical and soft skills with hands-on experience, familiarise themselves with organisational work culture, and enhance their career opportunities with deep industry knowledge and personal professional network.

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