The field of computing and technology has come to play an integral role in our day-to-day operations. Five professionals talk about how they get their geek on.
Ravin Muthukrishnan: Ravin majored in software and animation at the Multimedia University in Cyberjaya and had the option of either pursuing a career in the technical – software – or creative side – animation. He chose the former.
Having worked in the IT industry for five years, previously managing IT operations, Ravin recently decided to venture into project management, which focuses on IT delivery. Presently his job as a project manager entails managing the end-to-end completion of IT projects based requirements of clients.
“The projects I manage involve managing the support team and stakeholders, the finances and timely completion of the project ensuring that the end product or service that is delivered to customers is satisfactory and meets their needs,” he explains.
Ravin says that a career in IT project management is usually reserved for those who have some working experience in the IT industry. However, if a graduate has some training or has carried out an internship in project management, they stand a good chance of being hired as a junior project manager and may earn between RM2,000 and RM3,000 depending on their knowledge and experience in IT.
As the industry covers a wide field, Ravin says most people find the jargon challenging. “Sometimes even people with IT background may not be able to understand the technical terms used. The best way to learn is with the help of your colleagues or Google,” he says with a laugh.
In Ravin’s opinion, the field in computer and technology to look out for is multimedia. “In recent times, we’ve seen the development of many animated and 3D movies. Many would have thought that this was not a promising field some years back but times have changed and this has proven to be one that is booming rapidly.”
From project managing, one can move on to other areas in IT, for example, a technical specialist focusing on servers or take on a role in management to manage people in bigger teams. The best part of being an IT project manager, he adds, is that you can find employment in any part of the world and have a bright future.
Surin Sandrasagran: As a security analyst, Surin’s job comprises audit, compliance and corporate governance. In addition, he reviews and approves security access. Surin says that to be a security analyst, one should have a diploma or degree in security, otherwise, a general degree in IT can help.
IT security is a new field in Malaysia and there is a great demand for security professionals in the area of antivirus management, ethical hacking, firewall, audit and compliance.
According to Surin, from IT security one can branch out to training or even as an educator. “If you are experienced in the field, you will be able to do well,” he says. Fresh graduates can expect to earn between RM2,500 and RM3,200 and those with added IT knowledge can expect to climb the corporate ladder a little faster than their inexperienced counterparts.
Surin believes that IT security has great potential for growth in the country as it plays a vital role in many organisations. “There is, however, currently a shortage of IT security professionals. Many local and private institutions have incorporated IT security into their syllabus and with more training available the industry shortage can be overcome,” he says.
Surin’s advice to young IT hopefuls is to carry out an internship in their field of interest. “It would be good if you can get a certification while you are still studying as it will increase your chances of securing a job when you graduate.”
Hiedayyahtul Hamzah: Hiedayyahtul studied information systems engineering that focuses primarily on the design and development of computer-based systems to enhance the efficiency of business organisations.
“It is a field that requires training and practice in programming, computer systems, mathematics for IT and information database, as well as effective problem solving skills,” she says.
To be successful in information systems engineering, Hiedayyahtul says one has to be well-versed in the designing of databases and information systems. “A lot of your success depends on how fast you learn and how far you are willing to invest your time practising your programming skills,” she explains.
After graduating from this field, a graduate can go on to pursue a career as a systems specialist, systems administrator, database administrator, project manager, software developer, IT consultant and researcher among others. The starting pay for a fresh graduate would be, on average, between RM2,800 and RM3,500, says Hiedayyahtul.
It is possible for those with an information systems engineering background to venture out into other fields. “I am currently working as a production editor with a publishing firm while some of my friends have combined their knowledge in information systems engineering with entrepreneurship and have started up online shopping sites. So the possibilities are endless.”
Yuswani Yusof: She studied at Universiti Putra Malaysia and earned herself a Bachelor of Computer Science, majoring in multimedia but Yuswani now has a career in the financial services industry.
“When I graduated, about eight years ago, the rate of unemployment among computer science graduates was rather high and it was quite challenging to land a job in computer science so I had no choice but to be creative and branch out into a different industry. I carried out my industrial training with a major automotive parts manufacturer before joining the financial services industry,” she explains.
“We now have local companies producing high quality animation so the field is definitely flourishing and certainly more diversified than what it used to be. We are moving ahead at a very healthy pace. More and more companies are investing in the Malaysian IT industry because we certainly have the human capital here with most universities offering degrees in computer science and information technology,” Yuswani says.
Yuswani recommends those interested in the IT field to carry out some research beforehand and find out what line they really want to be involved in is as the field is very diverse.
“It is also good to check out what’s hot in the job market and industries that could possibly grow in the future. You should also ask around to find out what type of specialisations employers are looking for. Once you have made up your mind, stay focused, go for it and don’t forget to have fun in the process,” she concludes.
Jaclyn Choong: Choong currently works in at IT organisation doing service delivery management, ensuring that customers receive the service that they are contracted for. It involves working with the delivery organisation in fulfilment of the service.
“It has been my goal since college to be an intermediary between the business and the technical people,” Choong reveals.
To qualify for a position in service delivery management, Choong says one has to have certifications in IT, engineering or Information Technology Infrastructure Library.
“This is a niche market and you can do well in this field as long as you have the right qualifications, the ability to communicate effectively with people at all levels of an organisation and the right experience in handling customers and technical people,” Choong says.
She says that being in the service delivery management field requires one to constantly keep abreast with the latest technology and hype and the ability to ensure delivery of the technology meets the customers’ expectations.
According to Choong, the service delivery management field has become very important because of the IT outsourcing trend. She adds that as more and more companies are outsourcing their IT-related activities, service delivery management is needed to ensure that the IT needs are delivered accordingly.