Five skills to hone as Singapore builds a smart nation

Five skills to hone as Singapore builds a smart nation


The digital revolution is here, and it is here to stay. The digital revolution has already started disrupting jobs and impacting wages. Instead of trying to resist it, Singapore wants to embrace the change and lead the pack in Asia. As such, Singapore is embarking on a transformation of its traditional economy into one that focuses on technology in the Smart Nation journey. As Singapore progresses on in its Smart Nation journey, here are five skills you need to hone if you want to be ahead of the curve.

1. Coding

If DNA is the foundation of humans, then coding is the foundation of technology. Coding is the language that you use to communicate with each other in a nation of smart devices. It is also becoming one of the most important skills to have to find yourself a job. This is because every great software, device or technology can be broken down into lines of programming code, be it Java, C++, Python or Swift. Future employers are going to value your know-how for coding to help businesses create amazing software, smart device or technology.

Apart from the ability to create or manage IT products, coding also teaches you logical thinking. It teaches you to think of problems in a logical manner and solve them step by step. Not only that, it also helps you to develop critical thinking by giving you the opportunity to challenge norms. It also gets you to think outside of the box. More importantly, it encourages you to fail, pick yourself up and try again.

So, if you know how to code, you have a better chance of being on top of the rest. If you do not know how to code, you are likely to get lost in Singapore’s Smart Nation pursuit.

2. Cybersecurity

According to Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation initiative Vivian Balakrishnan, “We cannot be a Smart Nation if our systems are open and vulnerable”. As Singapore races towards its goal of building a smart nation, the whole nation will be digitally transformed. A lot of business processes and operations will be migrating on to digital platforms. At the same time, companies will be collecting much more data than it used to.

With so much emphasis on digitalisation, there will be bad guys out there who are looking to steal data. The recent attack on SingHealth’s medical records showed the importance of building strong capabilities in cybersecurity. In addition, companies need to build cybersecurity capabilities to prevent IT systems from being compromised due to negligence.

As such, security of IT platforms is going to become an integral part of building a smart nation. This explains why there is so much demand for cybersecurity domain experts in Singapore. Based on estimates from Minister for Communications and Information, the cybersecurity sector is expected to grow by S$900M by 2020.

3. Digital marketing

As everyone goes online in the push towards Smart Nation, interacting with consumers will soon become predominantly on online channels. Digital marketing will become a key channel to communicate with consumers. In order to reach out to consumers, businesses will need to hire more digital marketers to push out digital campaigns whenever new products are released. Businesses will also need to develop regular marketing events or content to keep consumers engaged. Picking up skills in digital marketing will help you adapt to the new way of doing business in the Smart Nation era.

4. Data science

Artificial intelligence has been termed as one of the key drivers of the fourth industrial revolution in the global economy. It has the potential to apply human intelligence in niche areas to automate some of the mundane processes that businesses have. It can also bring value in solving problems that humans used to have trouble with.

For example, in the healthcare sector, there is a growing use of artificial intelligence to identify patterns in medical scans in large volume. Not only is artificial intelligence able to scan more cases than professionals, it can do it more quickly and more accurately. Google’s DeepMind has been developing a medical product to scan patients’ eyes using artificial intelligence. It has been more successful in detecting more than 50 sight-threatening conditions from a common type of eye scan than human doctors.

Data science is at the core of artificial intelligence. It is the foundation of artificial intelligence. More specifically, data science involves the understanding of machine learning algorithms to build artificial intelligence. According to IBM, the demand for data scientists will continue to increase in the coming years. Thus, if you want to be in the field of artificial intelligence, you need to brush up on your data science skills.

5. Entrepreneurship

Singapore’s desire to support better living, create economic opportunity and build a closer community is at the heart of the Smart Nation movement. This is done by harnessing the power of networks, data and info-comm technologies. Ultimately, it is to allow every Singaporean to lead more meaningful and fulfilled lives. This is exactly what entrepreneurs do.

Entrepreneurs identify problems that people are facing. These are market gaps, which can be anything from a lack of healthcare providers to misinformation between volunteers and non-governmental organisations. Entrepreneurs then go on to solve these problems by leveraging technology, data and the internet. For example, Grab started its business driven by its desire to provide a safe travel option for people in Southeast Asia. This led them to build the leading ride-hailing and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia.

Gone will be the days where Singaporeans climb the corporate ladder steadily to the peak in multinational corporations. Taking the entrepreneurship path is going to become a norm in the Smart Nation era. Entrepreneurs will become a new type of hero in the Smart Nation era.

This article first appeared on is a leading online marketplace in Singapore that helps consumers compare and apply for financial products such as credit cards and loans.

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