SMU and NCS Partner to Foster Software Engineering Talent


Singapore Management University’s Faculty of Computing and Information Systems (SCIS) and NCS Pte Ltd, a leading technology services organization in the Asia Pacific, have joined forces through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the Bachelor of Science (Software Engineering) SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree program. This program aims to develop a pipeline of skilled professionals equipped with the necessary knowledge and expertise to meet the rising demand for software engineering talent.

In addition to this collaboration, both parties have also committed to establishing the NCS Scholarship and NCS Awards to recognize outstanding students at SCIS.

The formal signing ceremony took place at SMU on July 4, 2022, with Professor Pang Hwee Hwa, Dean of SCIS, and Mr. Howie Lau, Managing Partner for Business Development and Partnerships at NCS Pte Ltd, formalizing the partnership.

Professor Pang stated, “SCIS has been expanding our computing offerings and undergraduate admissions to support Singapore’s demand for ICT talent. We have been partnering with like-minded organizations to provide practical relevance to our students’ learning journey and to present future students with exciting career pathways upon graduation with a computing degree. The launch of the NCS Scholarship and Awards, along with NCS’ participation in our BSc (Software Engineering) SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree, will further inspire our students to achieve new heights of academic excellence and provide them with opportunities to experience firsthand the exciting careers at NCS and the broader IT industry. We are delighted that NCS has chosen to partner with us, and I look forward to a successful and enduring partnership.”

Mr. Howie Lau added, “At NCS, we are committed to creating an excellent environment for talent to grow and thrive professionally. Our partnership with SMU for the university’s first SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree demonstrates our dedication to nurturing tech skills and preparing future-ready professionals, by offering software engineering expertise with opportunities to engage in exciting and impactful work at NCS.”

Collaboration in Bachelor of Science (Software Engineering) SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree

Under this collaboration, subject matter experts from NCS will be actively involved in providing feedback on the BSc (Software Engineering) SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree, co-teaching software engineering courses as adjunct faculty or guest speakers, and jointly co-branding and co-certifying a “Certificate of Achievement” for undergraduates who complete an apprenticeship with NCS.

Each apprenticeship will range from 10 to 52 weeks, during which SMU students will work within a software engineering team in a software engineering role. NCS will assign at least one practicing software engineer or an equivalent role as a mentor to each apprentice. These mentors will be responsible for guiding the technical and professional development of the apprentices throughout their apprenticeship and conducting regular feedback sessions to help the apprentices assess their work performance.

NCS Scholarship and NCS Awards

NCS is initiating the NCS Scholarship and Awards program at SCIS to encourage academic excellence among undergraduates at the university.

Professor Pang expressed her appreciation, saying, “We are delighted to have NCS support the NCS Scholarship and Awards at SCIS. The NCS Scholarship and Awards demonstrate the organization’s commitment to this partnership and its support in building a talent pipeline for the nation.”

The NCS Scholarship will be granted to outstanding third-year students enrolled in the Work-Study program, while the NCS Awards will be presented to the top SCIS students in courses such as “Introduction to Programming,” “Digital Business Systems and Transformation,” and “Computational Thinking.”

About the BSc (Software Engineering) SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree

Launched in March of this year, the BSc (Software Engineering) SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree is SMU’s inaugural work-study program. It is a full-time, four-year undergraduate program that combines classroom learning with structured on-the-job training. The program includes an intensive 52-week apprenticeship during which students work in development teams under the mentorship of experienced software engineers. SCIS is set to welcome its inaugural cohort of 40 students for the Academic Year 2022-2023, commencing in August 2022.

Key features of the program include strong industry collaboration, a one-year apprenticeship, a term-in/term-out model, co-designed curriculum with industry partners, co-delivery of courses with industry partners, and a focus on developing comprehensive software engineering skills.

Graduates of the program will be equipped with full-stack development skills, software engineering principles, cybersecurity expertise, agile software development methodologies, and strong communication skills. Potential job roles for graduates include software engineer, software developer, IT analyst, programmer, system tester, DevOps engineer, software designer, IT solution architect, and software architect.

In summary, this partnership between SMU’s SCIS and NCS is set to nurture the next generation of software engineering talent in Singapore, providing students with practical experience and academic excellence opportunities, ultimately contributing to the nation’s IT workforce development.