OCBC Bank, in collaboration with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, has created a Data Certification Pathway as part of a structured approach to groom more data scientists and analysts.
With the growing importance of data analytics across many industries, the programme will be made available to all Singaporeans under the MySkillsFuture portal.
The pathway consists of a progressive set of 12 modules conducted by lecturers from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm Technology and other industry practitioners. The course structure and content was formulated to focus on practical skills needed for data roles based on consultation with industry practitioners, including OCBC Bank's Head of Group Customer Analytics and Decisioning (GCAD), Mr Donald Macdonald.
The first four modules are foundation courses such as using Python for programming, data essentials and data storytelling. Thereafter, a trainee can specialise in either the data scientist track or data analyst track, each comprising four more courses in topics such as data visualisation, machine learning and deep learning.
Learners who pass an assessment on their knowledge and skills will be exempted from the foundation courses and can begin the specialisation modules immediately. Those who do not wish to go through the entire pathway but are keen to acquire a stronger data proficiency can also just apply for the individual data modules.
The Data Certification Pathway adopts a multi-modal learning approach that combines online and classroom learning, project work, assignments and assessments. This ensures an effective transition from theory to actual application at the workplace.
At the end of each module, learners will be assessed by a global panel of industry practitioners. After completing either track, which is estimated to take between two to three years, they will receive an official certification from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
OCBC Bank employees can sign up for these courses at the Bank’s Learning and Development arm, OCBC Campus. OCBC Bank aims to train 200 more data scientists and analysts over the next three years through the pathway, doubling the number of data scientists and analysts it has now.
The collaboration with Ngee Ann Polytechnic is part of OCBC Bank's Future Smart Programme, a three-year strategic initiative launched last year to develop the digital skills of all its 29,000 employees across the Group to prepare everyone for jobs of the future.
Data analytics is one of the key pillars that the Bank is focusing on developing among its employees. OCBC Bank was one of the first financial institutions in Southeast Asia to embrace the value of data with the setting up of its own data analytics unit, GCAD, in 1999. The Bank's pool of data scientists and analysts has doubled in the last three years to 200 now.
The growing focus on data analytics is happening at the national level as well, with government leaders such as Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat identifying data analytics as one of the key skillsets that the workforce needs more training in.
To help Singapore's workforce raise its overall proficiency in data analytics, SkillsFuture Singapore will incorporate the 12 data modules from the Data Certification Pathway into the SkillsFuture Series. Members of the public can sign up for these modules through the MySkillsFuture portal (www.myskillsfuture.sg) from the fourth quarter of this year. The SkillsFuture Series comprises eight emerging and priority areas, of which data analytics is one of them, for the country’s workforce and curates courses at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels.
OCBC Bank's Head of Group Human Resources, Mr Jason Ho, said: "This initiative underscores OCBC Bank's philosophy of leaving no one behind in this changing landscape of work. We believe strongly in our employees' innate ability to grow and adapt and we offer the right courses to equip them for the future."
"But more than that, we believe that as our world becomes increasingly connected, it is crucial that we continue to work in synergy with the wider ecosystem. With this partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, the structured learning pathway we have designed together will groom future data scientists and analysts within our Smart Nation so that Singapore remains future-ready."
Ngee Ann Polytechnic's Principal, Mr Clarence Ti, said: "Data remains one of the key drivers transforming finance today. We are excited to partner OCBC Bank in developing programmes to build the data talent pipeline. The Data Certification Pathway we have co-created marries academic rigour with an assessment framework driven by industry practitioners so that it produces data scientists and analysts with industry-relevant skills and know-how."