The Faculty of Computing and Digital Technology in HELP University (HU) forges ahead with its plan to introduce new learning pathways in its latest Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) honours degree by incorporating 2 years at university and 1 year at industry (2U1i) work-based learning (WBL) component.
This new component, as part of the BIT degree, will involve one year of WBL where the BIT student will be placed in the industry and gain WBL experience while completing all the final year academic subjects at the same time. The schedule of classes will be tailor-made to fit the WBL programme to ensure a good balance for the HELP IT intern.
The subjects selected for the WBL component, according to Dr Sien Ven Yu, Dean of the Faculty of Computing and Digital Technology in HELP, will connect the HU classroom to real-world learning, thus allowing the student to learn the skills and knowledge needed for real-world careers.
“Technology is constantly evolving and changing, and whatever is taught in the classroom needs to be constantly updated to match industry standards. HELP University has chosen to connect the student directly with industry by providing the WBL option. For one year, the BIT intern will be based in the IT industry, while completing all their final year subjects, with lecturers regularly monitoring their progress,” said Dr Sien.
Philip Tan, Managing Director of Pilot Multimedia (M) Sdn Bhd and industry partner for the inaugural WBL programme in January 2018, said he felt this was the best way forward in terms of academia and also industry experience.
“The main reason I have undertaken this task is to ensure that students can build up on their soft skills such as project management, writing proposals and also in improving their written and communication skills. The BIT interns will be exposed to specialized software on building data warehouses, of which Pilot Multimedia is the pioneer. We have been in business for 25 years or more and have built a market niche in this area. We pioneered the first data warehouse for an overseas bank in 1993 and have developed specializations that will benefit BIT interns,” said Philip.
“Over the years, Pilot Multimedia developed a very advanced state-of-the-art credit risk storing system and with this type of pioneering and unique expertise, we are in a good position to train up those intending to do their WBL BIT degree programme with us,” said Philip.
Currently, the firm is recognized for its A-list of well-known and reputable clients such as world-class banks and companies and Philip believes that since his company is competing with the best, its success gives the company credibility and the niche software provides the BIT interns with an undeniable edge when dealing with top-notch clients.
The other advantage of WBL, according to Philip, is how students learn to transform business requirements into information technology solutions.
In terms of curriculum, Philip believes this is the best way forward as the learning is not just based on textbooks and theoretical aspects. Experiential learning means the BIT student can develop their initiative and therefore ask more questions. They will also learn how to diagnose problems and solve them.
In my view, Philip said, BIT students in the long term, will develop more depth and knowledge in how they deal with developing business solutions to fit their client’s needs.
Dr Sien said academic standards are not the only determining factor in ensuring the success of IT students but the development of their soft skills such as conflict management, problem-solving and teamwork are all attributes critical to the success of graduates in the workplace.
The pioneering BIT programme with the WBL component bridges the gap between industry and academia and will expose the BIT interns to the best of both worlds.