Singapore is well on her way to becoming a Smart Nation with the rise of automation and Industry 4.0. To meet this need, more skilled engineers are needed in the electronics and info-communications technology (ICT) sectors. As a specialized university that trains talent for the digital economy, this is where DigiPen (Singapore) comes in. It offers programs in the disciplines of computer science, UI/UX design, digital art, and systems engineering. Founded in North America in 1988, DigiPen (Singapore) is the Institute’s first international campus and was set up in 2008 at the invitation of Singapore’s Economic Development Board. In 2010, DigiPen partnered with Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), the fifth Autonomous University in Singapore. DigiPen (Singapore) offers five bachelor’s degree programs, out of which three are jointly offered together with SIT. This consists of two degree programs in computer science and one in engineering – BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation (BSCS RTIS), BS in Computer Science in Interactive Media and Game Development (BSCS IMGD), and BEng in Systems Engineering (ElectroMechanical Systems) (SEEMS). Graduates from all three programs are trained in computer science theory, physics, and mathematics. They are also strong programmers and developers who are able to apply their knowledge in the semiconductor industry thanks to DigiPen (Singapore)’s hands-on learning approach.

As part of the curricula, students from the BSCS RTIS, BSCS IMGD, and SEEMS programs have to undergo the Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP). The IWSP is an uninterrupted, eight-month duration (two trimesters) work placement program that will provide students with unique learning opportunities, allowing them to integrate theory and practice in a professional work setting. In doing so, students develop deep specialist skills in their chosen fields. One of these pathways includes carving a meaningful career in the semiconductor industry. An area where DigiPen (Singapore) graduates are poised to shine in is research and development (R&D). SEEMS graduates are able to work as firmware developers who can program system on chip (SoC) integrated circuits. Their knowledge of how hardware and software components integrate help them to easily develop, optimize, and program code on SoC integrated circuits. SEEMS graduates can also work in the process and fabrication of wafer chips as test or process engineers due to their extensive knowledge in handling complex mechanical and electromechanical systems.

Another area that DigiPen (Singapore) graduates can contribute in is the application of semiconductor chips for new technologies. For example, when it comes to virtual reality (VR),  augmented reality (AR) and computer vision applications, the in-depth computer science knowledge that DigiPen (Singapore) graduates have allows them to easily work on converting software code or designs into physical electronic chips. DigiPen (Singapore) also offers the Continuing Education Attach-and-Train (AnT) Program as an extension of its undergraduate degree programs. The AnT Program is a manpower development program supported by Workforce Singapore under their Professional Conversion Program (PCP) that aims to re-skill Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs) for the digital economy.

There have been three AnT Programs so far, training talent in the areas of artificial intelligence, embedded software, and cybersecurity. The pilot run of the Continuing Education Attach-and-Train Program for Artificial Intelligence Software Developer concluded in early 2019 and there are two other AnT Programs currently running. The first batch of students from the AnT Program for Embedded Software Developer have successfully completed their six months of classroom teaching and are now doing their on-the-job training at the Partnering Companies – Continental Automotive Singapore, Government Technology Agency, MSI Global, or ST Engineering. Separately, the first batch of students from the Cybersecurity Software Developer program are in the midst of their classroom training. The comprehensive and practical programs have caught the attention of many companies within the digital economy. To date, many DigiPen (Singapore) graduates have been employed in a variety of industries within the digital economy. They have been hired by companies such as Acronis Asia, Autodesk Asia, Continental Automotive Singapore, Fujitsu Asia, GovTech, and ST Engineering, to name a few.