Ms Serena Tai, Course Manager at the Temasek Polytechnic School of Informatics & IT, talks about the training provided under the Centre of Attachment (COA) initiative for mid-career IT professionals, and how the staff of one company – Infineon – benefitted.
As an IDA Centre of Attachment for Infocomm professionals, what kind of training does Temasek Polytechnic offer?
Under the IDA COA programme, we offer professional training in Business Analytics. With our recent launch of a course in Big Data Management, we are also able to provide training in this area moving forward. The training is in two phases. The first part is classroom training, where we teach data mining and text mining. The participants next embark on a project that has been proposed by their company to address a business issue, and they will consult with our lecturers on a weekly basis.
Infineon was one company that sent its employees to attend the COA programme, and the Infineon staff we were helping to train were basically forming a new department. They were trying to understand business data, to gain insights into what the market is saying and what trends can affect demand. We were happy that Infineon launched its global analytics centre, after the course participants had successfully completed their projects within 6 months.
How does Temasek Poly accommodate the schedules of participants who may have pressing work commitments at the office?
The duration for each typical attachment is between 2 to 3 months. However, this period is flexible, subjected to approval from IDA.
The scope of training is fully customizable based on the needs of the organisation. We will work out the training schedule with the coordinator from the organisation, to ensure that the schedule allows all participants to attend.
For example, in Infineon’s case, we had made arrangements for a block of 5 days of consecutive training, followed by a break for the trainees to resume work. This was then followed by the remaining block of 5 days of consecutive training. This gives them the flexibility to attend to important tasks at work.
What is the commitment required from the participants?
Basically, you have to attend the classroom training for a period equivalent to two weeks to acquire knowledge, and then undertake a project over several months. This is on top of their day-to-day workload. IDA funds the salary and part of training course. I think it is a good programme for companies to build analytics capabilities.
Who, in your opinion, should seriously consider signing up for the COA programme?
The COA programme is ideal for companies that want to build up the data analytics capabilities of their employees. For example, companies that want to start a new analytics department and therefore need to train up their employees.
COA participants are likely to be working professionals who are keen to enhance their knowledge and skill sets in the field of Business Analytics or even Big Data. The baseline for participants is some form of technical knowledge, such as coding, mathematics and statistics, or a tech background.
The programme doesn’t just give the participants classroom training, there’s also a project to build capability to solve real-world business challenges.
I think all organisations looking to build business intelligence, analytics and big data capabilities should consider signing up for the COA programme. We will be happy to work with them to customise the training.
What are the core skills that anyone who completes the COA programme in TP will pick up?
It depends on the organisation’s needs. The Infineon participants picked up data mining, predictive modelling, text and social media analytics skills through the programme.
However, the COA program is fully customisable, so Temasek Poly is able to provide a wider scope of capability building, such as training in business intelligence, statistics, and even Big Data.
Companies must be very clear about what they to achieve before they enrol their staff for the COA programme. We are always happy to help them to refine the training objectives to achieve their business aims.
What, to you, is the benefit of attending the COA programme in an institution such as TP?
At Temasek Polytechnic we’re not teaching the use of specific software; our focus is on concepts and techniques in the areas of Business Analytics and Big Data Management.
Our lecturers are industry experts with years of relevant business experience. For example, some have worked in consulting firms and banks. Their wealth of experience makes a difference when they offer advice as consultants during the project phase. And they remain available to give advice after the COA programme has been completed.
Also, at Temasek Poly we have a Big Data and Analytics Hub. Within the Hub we have a technology centre that have been set up with well-known companies in this sector, like SAS, IBM, Pivotal and EMC.
So this is a very good institution for companies to work with, to continue applied research projects or to take up customised and certification courses to follow up after the COA programme.
How can completing the COA programme help the participants in their line of work?
The COA programme will firstly, improve their competency in advanced analytics and data science. The participants will also gain confidence in applying their knowledge and skills to real-world projects that benefit their company. The COA programme comes with strong ownership and support from companies, and Temasek Polytechnic’s lecturers remain available as consultants.
What else would you like future participants to know about TP’s COA programme?
We are always interested to collaborate with companies; that’s why we are participating in the COA programme. We want to help build capabilities and manpower for the big data ecosystem. We have also set up the new TP-Pivotal Data Science Academy that allows companies to bring their big data issues, and we can work together to find the solutions.
Finally, the time for big data is now! The hottest professional skills worldwide today, as listed by LinkedIn, are statistical analysis and data mining.
Centres of Attachments
The Centres of Attachment (COAs) are a joint initiative by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and industry to train infocomm professionals in various high-end expert-level skills. Below is a list of COAs and their areas of specialisation. If you wish to get more information on the COA, you may visit their respective websites. Alternatively, you may contact IDA personnel Mr Alan Shin at 62113836 or Ms Naaznee Begum at 62111973.
|COA||Areas of specialisation|
|Revolution Analytics Singapore Pte Ltd (RevoSG)||Big Data Analytics|
|EMC||Big Data, Data Science and Cloud Architecture|
|The Logistics Institute – Asia Pacific||Logistics IT and SCM Analytics|
|Temasek Polytechnic||Large Scale Data Mining & Advanced Predictive Modelling and Optimisation|
|KPMG Services Pte Ltd||Cyber Response, Security Intelligence and Malware Analysis|
|Microsoft||Enterprise Mobile Application Development, Cloud Computing, Business Intelligence/Analytics|