Diploma to fill ITSM skills gap

Singapore polytechnic teams up with BMC Software to train students in IT services management, a move aimed at easing a skills shortage.

SINGAPORE--The Asian IT job market is experiencing a shortage of ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) skilled personnel, but one education institute in Singapore hopes to address this deficit.

Singapore's Republic Polytechnic announced today a three-year diploma in ITSM (DSM). BMC Software will provide its Remedy Service Management suite of applications for the program's ITSM practice laboratory which will present third-year students with ITSM-related scenarios and case studies for a simulated work experience.

Students will be taught IT best practices through delivery frameworks such as ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), and BMC's Business Service Management program.

The polytechnic has been conducting the diploma course for over a year, but BMC's involvement is new. The laboratory is awaiting the current batch of second-year students to progress into their final year.

Republic Polytechnic has about 100 students enrolled in the course--50 in the second year, and the remaining 50 in the first year. The second-year students are expected to graduate in March 2009.

The polytechnic expects to double the student enrolment in next year's intake.

NCS CEO Chong Yoke Sin told ZDNet Asia in an interview that NCS currently trains its ITSM-skilled staff in-house, sending them for ITIL certifications later.

Chong said she welcomes Republic Polytechnic's new diploma course as it will result in a ready pool of ITSM skilled personnel that NCS can tap. She also hopes the new course will address the industry's growing skills deficit, as well as reduce the need to provide in-house ITSM training for staff.

"We are facing a talent crunch here. We need ITSM-skilled staff, but knowledge is just half the battle. Work experience counts to a majority of the staff's value, so we need people who have been exposed to both theory and practical situations," said Chong.

Chip Salyards, BMC's director of sales for enterprise service management, added: "Anyone can get ITIL certified, but work experience and problem-based learning is the key to making it work."

Noting that BMC has seen a 30 percent increase in ITSM sales in Singapore, Salyards said the industry should also see a corresponding demand for ITSM skills.

Said Chong: "If we're to be the successful IT services hub that [Singapore] aims to be, we probably need to double the [ITSM-trained] staff needed in future to service clients inside and outside of the country."

On the competition from other outsourcing hubs in the region such as India, Chong said that although Singapore cannot compete in providing skills such as programming, the island-state boasts the right "ecosystem".

Chong noted: "Singapore has excellent infrastructure and is a great place to do business--we have the right ecosystem of finance, affordable telecommunications infrastructure, and a ready pool of trained professionals. While we have the infrastructure, what we constantly need is the people."

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