Tech talent development key for Malaysia’s digital ambitions in 2023

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After surviving the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and facing a global economic recession, what is the best strategy to ensure development goals are met in a country like Malaysia?

The answer: nurture new technological skills in the workforce to ensure the country remains digitally competitive in 2023–and beyond. 

Indeed, despite the growing number of tech layoffs that have made the news across Asia, IT remains one of the fastest growing sectors in the Malaysian market.

A report by GlobalData Market Opportunities Forecasts that IT expenditure in Malaysia will reach RM103.75 billion in 2023. The Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) predicts the demand for tech talent will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.59% per year over the next three years. Cybersecurity, Software-as-a-Service conferencing solutions, E-commerce, and IoT are four areas forecast for growth.

However, there remains a large gap between growing technology needs and existing digital skills of the local Malaysian workforce.  A host of private public partnerships have emerged to fill this gap, including the # Mydigitalmaker movement, the Digital Skills training directory, Let’s learn Digital, and more.

At the same time, private programs such as Practicum Malaysia – a leading global provider of data science and programming boot camps–are seeing a surge of interest.

According to Herdian Mohammad, Southeast Asia Director of Practicum: “While Practicum is new to Malaysia, we’re already seeing a large demand, both from tech employees who want to ensure their skill sets remain relevant in this uncertain economy, as well as from people who want to reskill and become part of the digital revolution.”

An increase in local programming and interest from international bootcamps in expanding to Malaysia is critical for a country ranking relatively low in digital skills: Malaysia ranked 7 out of 9 APEC countries in Workday’s 2022 “Digital Agility Index” which revealed that 79% of Malaysian organizations are still lacking in digital competence. 

Development of local tech talent is key both for Malaysia’s 2023 economic forecast and towards fulfilling the country’s digital ambitions. The blistering pace of digital growth will open up more job opportunities and put the pressure on non-tech industries to mirror developments in tech.