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Tech in Singapore - Large Investments Call For Scarce Talent

Posted on July 2021 By Selby Jennings

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The Investment

A pivotal moment in distributed ledger technology (DLT) development has just taken place in Singapore, with the government investing S$50 million to create a global digital trust market in the city-state.

Over the next five years, this multi-million investment will develop digital trust capabilities that can enhance data privacy, create more secure transactions, greater accountability, transparency, and improved governance.

Currently, DLT, a part of blockchain, is almost exclusively used in the cryptocurrency sector except for a few industry applications. While the DLT and blockchain players can expect invigorating activities in this new digital trust push, a major concern arises on whether there is enough talent to drive this initiative forward.

The Talent

“The talent needed for this will typically be software developers and engineers with skills in DevSecOps, which is about application and infrastructure security. Additionally, open-source software including programming languages like C++, Python and Java will also be essential,” says our Assistant Vice President of technology practice – Jin Han Tan, in a recent interview with TechGoondu.

Tan states “Another group of desirable talent are the low latency/ultra-low latency developers and those with working experience in ultra-low latency environments.”

These professionals have the technical know-how to optimize a very high volume of data messages with minimal delay or latency which is often a requirement for DLT.

The highest demand lands on mid-level executives with about 8-12 years of experience in DLT who can apply their skills to the business.

“They would be earning about $180,000 a year, but often a price war will take place because each candidate will have 4-5 offers on hand” Tan explains.

The Gap In-Between

Tech talent is already in short supply, even more so in these new emerging technologies. Last year, Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who was overseeing Singapore’s Smart Nation program highlighted that about 60,000 tech professionals are needed as the country pushes industries to digitalise.

Currently, the tech job market is divided into two pools. One is made up of younger tech professionals with strong foundational training and degrees in computer science and related disciplines, but not enough working experience. The other pool comprises of industry veterans with about 20 years who have to pick up distributed ledger technology to stay ahead. Tan says that many struggles to transit to the new technology.

The acute shortage is not going to let up anytime soon, Tan says. “There just is not enough academic courses available in the blockchain. There are training courses but nothing close to a full degree.”

Looking Outside to Fill Within

With the gap between Singapore’s ambitious investments and their current talent pool stretched so wide, this shortage could very well entice many tech professionals of ranging seniority to the city-state. Although 60,000 tech professionals required is a tall order to fill, our Global Job Confidence Index 2021 showed that APAC financial services professionals expressed the highest willingness to relocate worldwide – specifically to Singapore.

In our recent Mid-Year Market Review, the Technology team lead describes that global companies are working to move talent internally or remotely onboard new talent until travel restriction eases. At Selby Jennings, we foresee the ever-demanded need for Technology professionals to continue across all sectors of the tech function.

Read the original interview with TechGooDu here.

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