Article by Stanley Gona
Corporate Service Director
At the International College of Advanced Technology Sarawak (i-CATS), students of the diploma and degree programmes in Software Engineering are quick to grasp the importance of acquiring a broad base of industry-relevant technical and soft skills to thrive in the global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry.
As highlighted by Mr. Goh Kok Luong, Head of the i-CATS School of Innovative Technology, “Both the diploma and degree programmes in Software Engineering prepare graduates for exciting careers in the Global Digital Economy. If one is interested in a career in ICT, he or she should have the ability to think logically, have strong problem-solving skills and good communication skills.” He added, “At both the diploma and degree levels, our students’ learning experience is essentially a voyage of discovery, covering a blend of theoretical concepts and practical experience. We work closely with our students, to encourage them to tap into their inner sense of curiosity, and to strive for excellence. This facilitates the transition of our graduates from the classroom to the workplace.”
Mr. Goh also emphasized that, “Due to our strong links with industry, our students are able to secure internships in the ICT industry. We are also able to reach out to the industry and invite Guest Speakers to share their experience with our students.” In this respect, recently, the i-CATS School of Innovative Technology organized a seminar on E-Commerce for its final year students. The Guest Speaker was Mr. Jong Tze Shien, who has extensive experience in the IT and Networking industry. He is also involved in the development of mobile applications (apps) and websites, and conducts ICT training. During the seminar, Mr. Jong took the opportunity to introduce the students to the E-Commerce environment, including the various Payment Gateways, Visuals, and the competitive E-Commerce Landscape.
Commenting on the two-and-a-half-year Diploma in Software Engineering programme, Madam Siti Nurhasanah binti Mohamad, Head of Programme (Software Engineering) highlighted, “During their studies, students take a wide range of subjects such as Introduction to Software Engineering, Database Concept and Design, System Analysis and Design, Software Development, and Web Programming. In addition, they will develop effective oral, written and interpersonal communication skills as well as critical thinking, decision-making and team building skills. She also shared, “Prior to the completion of the programme, students are required to undergo a 4-month internship. This will enable them to gain relevant hands-on experience and develop new skills. On completion of their studies, graduates can apply for a wide variety of positions such as Site Server Supervisor, Graphic Design Engineer, Assistant Administrator, and Systems Analyst.”
Graduates of the i-CATS Diploma in Software Engineering programme may also proceed to degree level programmes. For example, diploma graduates may opt to pursue the Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons.) programme offered in collaboration with Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur. The entire degree programme can be completed at the i-CATS West Campus at Jalan Stampin Timur in Kuching. During their studies, students will acquire knowledge and skills in areas such as problem-solving, mathematical foundations of software engineering, programming, software development methodologies, software processes and life cycles, software quality, testing and technical documentation. With the support and guidance of the i-CATS team of experienced lecturers, students will also gain invaluable experience in teamwork, project management and the utilisation of industry best practice techniques. In the final year of study, students will hone their skills through industry internship and be involved in a major software related project. Graduates can look forward to exciting careers in ICT, in positions such as Software Engineer, Software Developer, Software Tester, and Software Quality Executive. For diploma graduates, total duration to complete the degree programme is two years and four months inclusive of industrial training.
At i-CATS, a major point of pride is the fast-growing number of alumni, with their diverse contributions across the length and breadth of industry. For example, Junaidi bin Junie (Diploma in Software Engineering: Class of 2011) is currently an IT Technician at Sarawak Energy Berhad, an energy development company as well as a vertically integrated electricity utility with a vision to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for Sarawak by meeting the region’s need for reliable, renewable energy.
Since his student days at i-CATS, Junaidi has always held firm to the belief that one must draw on his or her wellspring of determination and perseverance in order to achieve one’s academic and life goals. Commenting on the world of work, he shared that the corporate world, although challenging, offers many opportunities for one to excel. In this respect, he shared that, “It is of utmost importance to equip oneself with relevant knowledge, technical skills, and people skills. There is also a need to keep abreast of the latest developments, especially in one’s area of specialization, by attending training courses (internal and external), reading updated versions of technical materials and working closely with colleagues as a team.”
Another i-CATS graduate (Diploma in Software Engineering: Class of 2013) Ezra Moses bin Adrian Amit, is currently a Webmaster at Pasti Nyala Sdn. Bhd. in Kuching. The company provides a wide range of end-to-end IT solutions and services to its clients. He highlighted that, “In my capacity as a Webmaster, I am involved in Website Design and Maintenance. For example, with regard to website maintenance services, I work closely with my clients in the area of content revision and updates. I also ensure that web servers, hardware and software are operating at optimum performance level(s).”
Indeed, i-CATS alumni are making their mark, contributing positively to the progress and vibrancy of the broad canvas of the ICT industry. In recent years, it has been widely publicized that Software Engineers are among the highest paid professionals in many countries around the world. In Malaysia, the Government has identified the digital economy as a key driver for economic growth. The digital economy will be a catalyst to transform Malaysia into a knowledge-based economy. It is also forecasted that Global ICT trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality, gaming hardware advances, and startup innovation will generate a host of career opportunities for ICT professionals.
Enrolment (to the Diploma and Degree programmes in Software Engineering) is now ongoing for the March 2017 session. For the Diploma in Software Engineering programme, students who have completed SPM/SPMV with a minimum of three credits including Mathematics and a pass in English are eligible to enter the programme. Students who have passed STPM with at least Grade C (CGP 2.00) in 1 subject, and a credit in Mathematics at SPM level are also eligible to enter the diploma programme. Those who have completed a Computer Certificate (MQF level 3) programme in a related field (with at least a CGPA of 2.00) with credit in one subject at SPM level are encouraged to apply.
For the degree programme, students who meet any of the following requirements are eligible to enter the programme: Passed STPM with minimum Grade C (CGP 2.00) in any 2 subjects, and a credit in Additional Mathematics at SPM level/5 Bs in UEC including Advanced Mathematics. Those having a diploma in Computer Science or Software Engineering or equivalent with a minimum CGPA of 2.50 and a credit in Additional Mathematics at SPM level are encouraged to apply.
For further information on the Diploma and Degree programmes in Software Engineering and various forms of financial assistance, interested school leavers and their parents are invited to visit the i-CATS West Campus at Jalan Stampin Timur, Kuching or call 082-570888/451533. Information can also be obtained from i-CATS’s website: www.icats.edu.my.
Mr. Junaidi bin Junie (Diploma in Software Engineering: Class of 2011)
Mr. Ezra Moses bin Adrian Amit (Diploma in Software Engineering: Class of 2013)
One of the Software Engineering Labs at i-CATS West Campus
Seated (Left): Mr. Mohamad Isham bin Fauzi, CEO of i-CATS with the academic team members of the i-CATS School of Innovative Technology
Seated (Right): Mr. Goh Kok Luong, Head of the i-CATS School of Innovative Technology
Standing (Second from left): Madam Siti Nurhasanah binti Mohamad, Head of Programme (Software Engineering)
Mr. Goh Kok Luong (Right), Head of the i-CATS School of Innovative Technology presenting a memento to Guest Speaker, Mr. Jong Tze Shien