The Various Types of Job Areas for Computing, Computer Science, Software Engineering or Information Technology in Malaysia
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Information Technology is a challenging and rapidly changing field in the face of an explosion in the new technologies era such as software and hardware technology, which enhances the growth of the industry.
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Brief Description on the Job Functions for Computing, Computer Science, Software Engineering, & Information Communications Technology Degree Programmes
Nature of Work of Computing and IT Professionals in Malaysia
The rapid and widespread use of computers and information technology has generated a need for highly trained workers proficient in various job functions.
These computer specialists include computer scientists, database administrators, and network systems and data communication analysts.
Job tasks and occupational titles used to describe these workers evolve rapidly and continually, reflecting new areas of specialization or changes in technology, as well as the preferences and practices of employers.
Computer scientists work as theorists, researchers, or inventors. Their jobs are distinguished by the higher level of theoretical expertise and innovation they apply to complex problems and the creation or application of new technology.
The areas of computer science research range from complex theory to hardware design to programming-language design. Some researchers work on multidisciplinary projects, such as developing and advancing uses of virtual reality, extending human-computer interaction, or designing robots. They may work on design teams with electrical engineers and other specialists.
With the Internet and electronic business generating large volumes of data, there is a growing need to be able to store, manage, and extract data effectively.
Database administrators work with database management systems software and determine ways to organize and store data. They identify user needs and set up new computer databases.
In many cases, database administrators must integrate data from outdated systems into a new system. They also test and coordinate modifications to the system when needed, and troubleshoot problems when they occur.
An organization’s database administrator ensures the performance of the system, understands the platform on which the database runs, and adds new users to the system. Because many databases are connected to the Internet, database administrators also must plan and coordinate
Network systems and data communications analysts, also referred to as network architects, design, test, and evaluate systems such as local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), the Internet, intranets, and other data communications systems.
Systems are configured in many ways and can range from a connection between two offices in the same building to globally distributed networks, voice mail, and e-mail systems of a multinational organization. Network systems and data communications analysts perform network modeling, analysis, and planning, often requiring both hardware and software solutions.
For example, a network may involve the installation of several pieces of hardware, such as routers and hubs, wireless adaptors, and cables, while also requiring the installation and configuration of software, such as network drivers. Analysts also may research related products and make necessary hardware and software recommendations.
Telecommunications specialists focus on the interaction between computer and communications equipment. These workers design voice and data communication systems, supervise the installation of the systems, and provide maintenance and other services to clients after the systems are installed.
The growth of the Internet and the expansion of the World Wide Web (the graphical portion of the Internet) have generated a variety of occupations related to the design, development, and maintenance of Web sites and their servers.
For example, webmasters are responsible for all technical aspects of a Web site, including performance issues such as speed of access, and for approving the content of the site. Internet developers or Web developers, also called Web designers, are responsible for day-to-day site creation and design.
Computer programmers write, test, and maintain the detailed instructions, called programs that computers follow to perform their functions.
Programmers also conceive, design, and test logical structures for solving problems by computer. With the help of other computer specialists, they figure out which instructions to use to make computers do specific tasks.
Many technical innovations in programming—advanced computing technologies and sophisticated new languages and programming tools, for example—have redefined the role of a programmer and elevated much of the programming work done today. Programmers usually write programs according to the specifications given by computer software engineers and systems analysts.
After engineers and analysts design software—describing how it will work—the programmer converts that design into a logical series of instructions that the computer can follow. The programmer codes these instructions in a conventional programming language such as COBOL; an artificial intelligence language such as Prolog; or one of the more advanced object-oriented languages, such as Java, C++, or ACTOR.
Different programming languages are used depending on the purpose of the program. Programmers generally know more than one programming language, and because many languages are similar, they often can learn new languages relatively easily. In practice, programmers often are referred to by the language they know, such as Java programmers, or by the type of function they perform or environment in which they work—for example, database programmers, mainframe programmers, or Web programmers.
Programmers also update, repair, modify, and expand existing programs. Some, especially those working on large projects that involve many programmers, use computer-assisted software engineering (CASE) tools to automate much of the coding process. These tools enable a programmer to concentrate on writing the unique parts of a program.
Programmers working on smaller projects often use “programmer environments,” applications that increase productivity by combining compiling, code walk through, code generation, test data generation, and debugging functions.
Programmers also use libraries of basic code that can be modified or customized for a specific application. This approach yields more reliable and consistent programs and increases programmers’ productivity by eliminating some routine steps.
The work of Computing & IT Professionals in Malaysia
Programs vary widely depending on the type of information they will access or generate. For example, the instructions involved in updating financial records are very different from those required to simulate flight for pilot training.
Simple programs can be written in a few hours, but some programs draw data from many existing systems or use complex mathematical formulas.
These programs may take more than a year to create. In most cases, several programmers work together as a team under a senior programmer’s supervision.
Programmers test a program by running it to ensure that the instructions are correct and that the program produces the desired outcome. If errors do occur, the programmer must make the appropriate change and recheck the program until it produces the correct results. This process is called testing and debugging. Programmers may continue to fix problems for as long as a program is used.
Programmers working on a mainframe, a large centralized computer, may prepare instructions for a computer operator who will run the program. Programmers also may contribute to the instruction manual for a program.
Programmers in software development companies may work directly with experts from various fields to create specialized software—either programs designed for specific clients or packaged software for general use—ranging from games and educational software to programs for desktop publishing and financial planning.
Programming of packaged software constitutes one of the most rapidly growing segments of the computer services industry.
Increasingly, advanced software platforms are bridging the gap between computer programmers and computer users. New platforms, such as spreadsheet, accounting, and enterprise resource planning applications, have created demand for computer specialists who have first-hand knowledge of a user-base.
These workers use such platforms to develop programs that meet the specific needs of this base. Computer programmers often are responsible for creating the software platform, and then fine-tuning the final program after it has been made.
Computer programmers often are grouped into two broad types—applications programmers and systems programmers. Applications programmers write programs to handle a specific job, such as a program to track inventory within an organization.
They also may revise existing packaged software or customize generic applications purchased from vendors.
Systems programmers, in contrast, write programs to maintain and control computer systems software for operating systems, networked systems, and database systems.
These workers make changes in the instructions that determine how the network, workstations, and central processing unit of a system handle the various jobs they have been given, and how they communicate with peripheral equipment such as terminals, printers, and disk drives.
Because of their knowledge of the entire computer system, systems programmers often help applications programmers determine the source of problems that may occur with their programs.
Systems analysts are Information and Communications Technology (ICT) specialists, who design tailor-made computer systems for larger users such as banks, supermarkets, insurance companies, utilities, government departments and defence systems. It is their job to investigate and analyse a business problem in detail, in both a commercial and technical context, and specify one or more designs for computer systems to provide possible solutions.
Systems analysts begin by discussing the nature of the ICT problem with managers and other users in order to establish exactly what is required. They then plan the structure of the new system, setting out in detail the data to be used, input and output files needed and the mathematical and logical operations to be performed.
They may also prepare a cost-benefit analysis to help management decide whether the proposed programming project is worth undertaking.
Once the project is approved, they specify the particular files and records to be used by the program, determine the sequence of processing, and design how the final output will look.
After the program is written, they oversee the testing and evaluation process and make sure that any problems are corrected.
The final stage is to draw up a detailed implementation plan, write relevant user manuals and set up staff training programmes.
Systems Analyst And Designer – Finds ways of using a particular set of computer software combined with hardware to solve problems in a business system. After identifying these problems in an organisation they then design a solution in the form of an effective computerized system. They reduce the old system into a logical sequence of procedures and design the new proposed system.
Sometimes, the jobs of an analyst/ designer and of a programmer are merged into a single job. Most systems analysts work with large corporations or with the Government. Some work with software houses, providing consultancy for their clients.
Systems Programmers – Create the supporting software that runs a multimedia programme and responds to the user’s action. Programmers design, write, evaluate, test, install and maintain the existing programmes required to operate computers.
This enables the computers to perform their function in logical steps. They tell the computer what to do – which information to identify and access, how to process it and what equipment to use. Programmes vary widely in length and complexity depending on the type of information generated.
Systems Analyst And Designer – Identifies problems in an organisation and designs a solution in the form of an effective computerized system. He reduces the old system into a logical sequence of procedures and designs the new proposed system. Sometime, the jobs of an analyst/ designer and of a programmer are merged into a single job. This is an example of the constantly shifting computer job scene.
Most systems analysts work with large corporations or with the Government. Some work with software houses, providing consultancy for their clients.
Application Programmer – Based on the specialisations given by the systems analyst, he writes new programmes as well as updates existing programmes. He may also work for software packages’ to cater for the needs of users with similar requirements.
He breaks down the programme into components and each component into individual step-by-step sequences of instructions. These need logical, analytical reasoning, but not entirely mathematical skills. Then comes ‘coding’ which is the conversion of each instruction step using the appropriate programming language. The programme is then subjected to extensive testing and debugging, to correct errors.
As virtually everybody in computing, has to have some programming knowledge or experience, programmers have a good chance of moving up in their career.
User Support Staff – Work with computer manufacturers or vendors and provide service to customers who have bought a new system or updated and extended an existing one. They provide training and keep them informed of new equipment and software. The job combines the ability to communicate and establish good relations with people at all levels, with technical expertise.
Management – A computer manager is responsible for the overall policy within the department. He plays a key role in the discussions and decisions involving computerization and for supervising and co-ordinating the work of the systems, operations and technical sections.
Computer Engineer/ Technician – Is the key person in every computer installation. Computers are delicate, and the smallest fault may cause havoc with serious results. As a result, a computer is put through certain routine tests periodically of what is commonly called preventive maintenance.
Many organisations depend heavily upon their computers, so faults must be identified and rectified without delay. As such, in very large installations, the engineer or technician usually remains permanently on site or may be on-call throughout the day.
Those with experience in telecommunications, electrical engineering or other fields closely related to computer hardware maybe trained to apply their skills in this field.
Career Prospects for Computing & IT Professionals in Malaysia
There are various positions in ICT that can be filled up by IT graduates such as ICT entrepreneur, Software Engineer, System Analyst, Programmer, Database Specialist, Computer Trainer and other ICT professionals.
The graduates also have the advantage to attend any job placement courses customized to specific technical demand in ICT fields.