Microsoft teams IDA to groom digital talent for Smart Nation

Microsoft has partnered up with IDA to launched a three-year nationwide initiative called “Code for Change”. This is to boost next-generation talent development to support Singapore’s Smart Nation vision.

The pair will collectively put in place ways to groom the talent and ensure the nation’s long-term competitiveness in the 21st century. Supported by IDA, Microsoft will spearhead specific programmes under the "Code for Change" initiative to help youths nationwide develop computational thinking skills.

The programme aims to reach 1.2 million individuals in Singapore. Of these, 500,000 youths will have access to a deeper experience through on-campus and off-campus curricula, events and competitions that impart the basics of writing coding instructions for software, applications and websites.

“While coding used to be an area of specialisation for STEM field students, Code for Change seeks to expand its reach to impact students across education levels and academic backgrounds. An interesting finding from our survey revealed that 59% of students in Singapore found coding to be relevant to all careers in the future, regardless of the areas of specialization,”said Jessica Tan (pictured), managing director, Microsoft Singapore.

She added, that by collaborating closely with IDA, Microsoft can now collectively leverage its strengths and resources to "maximise impact nationwide and accelerate the realisation of the Smart Nation vision.”

“Singapore is building itself into a Smart Nation. The opportunity now is to create a culture of experimentation in which students are both curious and confident when working with technology. IDA is excited to have industry leaders such as Microsoft support us in developing the young talent who will play a vital role in our Smart Nation journey in the years ahead.” Steve Leonard, executive deputy chairman, IDA said.

Besides equipping young talents with skillsets for the future, a secondary aim of Code for Change is to groom up-and-coming talents in technology fields and improve the perception of careers in infocomm media. To achieve this, tertiary students can leverage industry internship opportunities provided by Microsoft and other partner technology companies in Singapore through the Microsoft Student Partners Programme.

To expand their IT skillsets, educators, students and staff from institutes of higher learning can also pick up fundamental technology skills for today’s IT landscape through the Microsoft IT Academy.

Additionally, the Microsoft BizSpark Programme provides three years of free software, support and brand visibility to enable startups to scale their businesses quickly, while specialised programmes such as Women in Technology and DigiGirlz are being driven actively to harness diverse talents and encourage young women to take up careers in infocomm media.

In recent years, Microsoft has been actively involved in promoting coding as a language among youths in Singapore to equip them with computational thinking skills essential for the 21st century workforce. The Microsoft Imagine Cup introduced in 2003 provides tertiary students with a platform to collaborate and develop technology applications to bring to market.