It is all systems go for NUS Computing’s flight to the future of a diverse and changing world.
The game plan includes a new building added by next year which will link the School to the University’s hub of research, enterprise and incubation, especially those relating to Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative.
Said Professor Mohan Kankanhalli, Dean of NUS Computing, “The extension will also help bridge the School to the world at large in translating innovation to industry. A lot of infrastructure will be reconfigured to contribute to a vibrant environment. Even the canteen will be converted to a hi-tech place that is not just for meals. It will be equipped with learning spaces. There will be pods with lots of plug points and high speed Internet. Students can have impromptu project discussions or meet potential venture capitalists for example.”
The School, ranked 10 in the world by the latest Quacquarelli Symonds survey, has seen its intake doubled to about 1,000 last year, with the same number expected this year. Said Prof Kankanhalli, “We offer flexibility with rigour. Our students today come with diverse experiences, hopes, ambitions and aspirations. So we have been carefully changing our programmes continuously to build a pathway for every kind of aspiration.”
Students can choose and craft their own pathways depending on their interests. For example, the Computer Science Programme allows students to choose from 10 focus areas ranging from Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things to Big Data. Those interested in Information Security will be able to take a new module called Penetration Testing Practice which trains students to become ethical hackers in attacking an IT system to find out its flaws and vulnerability. New specialisations like Financial Analytics, Marketing Analytics, Fintech and E-commerce also cater to different aspirations.
“We are a school creating the future. We have amazing professors doing cutting-edge research in AI for example, creating new techniques and actually advancing the state of the art,” said Prof Kankanhalli.
A six-month compulsory internship helps students connect to the real working world. They also can take on stints with NUS Overseas Colleges in places abuzz with AI activities.
“Companies always want more of our students. Our career fairs are held once annually. But they are so popular with employers that we may need to hold it twice a year!” said Prof Kankanhalli.
Top students from NUS Computing have joined companies like Google, Apple and Facebook after graduation and students can also look forward to holding jobs like analysts, software engineers and data scientists in all sectors, said Prof Kankanhalli. Fresh graduates can expect a high starting pay of around $4,500. There have even been enterprising students who made big bucks before graduating – a much envied case was one who sold his start-up to Australia for a cool $6 million!
“Everything needs good computing talent. Our graduates are in demand, from port to healthcare. We have created pathways that lead to every centre of the economy. We are future-looking, keeping a pulse on the needs of the next 30 to 40 years,” said Prof Kankanhalli.