IBM Malaysia’s Waran Govindarajah, Leader- Shared Services, Telecom Expense Management and IBM Global Account
Technology giants have always talked about how jobs in their field are constantly changing. What you are doing now can be made obsolete in just a few years’ time. So, how does one even start to have career longevity in IT?
“Across industries, the changes are fast taking place. Martin Ford, futurist and author of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, explains the jobs that are most at risk are those which ‘are on some level routine, repetitive and predictable’.
“The demand is no longer about white collar vs blue collar jobs, but about the ‘new collar’ jobs. New collar is jobs that need skills in cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and data science to support industries moving to the new economic and technology era,” says Waran.
Examples of new collar jobs are Pharmacy Technicians, Cloud Administrators, Service Delivery Analysts and Cybersecurity Architects, he shares.
IBM consistently ranks among the top places to work. Securing a job there isn’t going to be easy as applicants are many and competition is fierce.
For those who want to work for IBM, here are key skills Waran says you should have.
- Desire to learn
2. Proactive / Willing to take challenges
3. Critical thinking
5. People skills
“They need to continue to harness their skill sets as it is an ever-changing industry. Being both optimistic and flexible in their approach to these changes will ensure they continue to grow and stay in the race,” he says.
At IBM, applicants are given an aptitude test to see how they fare on their logic and statistical thinking. It is then followed by an interview with the hiring manager and a subject matter expert in the area they are applying for.
“This face-to-face interview will allow the hiring team to evaluate how the applicants fare when dealing with people,” says Waran.
According to Waran, IBM recognises the unique value, skills and talent of each individual.
“We believe that innovation comes from a combination of diverse skill and capability. A good 60% of our organisation in Malaysia consists of millennials. Our workforce comprises a good balance of female talent. We are committed to having a diverse workforce.”
In addition, he says an IT expert is evaluated on how relevant they are with new industry trends.
“As long as they keep on acquiring the needed skills, they will certainly have a long and rewarding career in IT.”
For IBM, it is also compulsory for every employee to undergo 40 hours of training annually.
“This will be in skills identified as part of their career progression as well as skills they want to learn,” he says.
Established tech companies versus start-ups
With more and more start-ups coming up every year, an IT graduate will need to decide which route to go for.
However, before you start applying, Waran advises to “research how established organisations and start-ups operate; the culture of the organisation you are applying to, the industry the organisation operates in; and what you want to get out of it”.
“An established company typically have well-defined structures in place and one will be able to ‘plug into the system’ and be able to learn and experience as much as they want. Start-ups are known to be agile, flexible and operate with speed.”
Hence, conducting research on the organisations you want to work for is paramount before you even start crafting your cover letter.