Collaborating for industry-relevant curriculum
(L-R): Alan Ho, Senior Director of Marketing, APJ, TIBCO, Prof. Dr Ir Ts Vinesh Thiruchelvam, Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Chief Innovation Officer, APU
Even though the name of its premises has evolved to become APU or Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation, the group of companies still retain the APIIT brand name, according to its deputy vice-chancellor and chief innovation officer, Dr. Vinesh Thiruchelvam.
“And in fact the organisation has become the APIIT Education Group, where technology and innovation are still the core key words,” he explained.
This reflects APU’s forte in technology and innovation, a focus they have had since their beginnings in 1993. They have steadily built upon this over the years to become Malaysia’s go-to establishment for specialised and premium technology education.
They have also entered into phase 2 of a collaboration with TIBCO to train APU students with TIBCO solutions and equip them with the competencies and skill sets required to meet industry needs in application and solution innovation.
The objective is to have a steady batch of students trained in TIBCO Spotfire, annually.
Readying a pipeline
Dr. Vinesh shared,“Our drive back in 1993, and till today has always been to produce IT gradates for the country.
“We want to groom IT experts so when the country moves towards a generation of computing, there would be enough IT graduates for the industry.
“As we evolve, we continue to do this. But we have evolved our offers as well in tandem with the industry, so that what the market needs that is what we have as education offerings,” he also added.
One such need from the market is data scientists and professionals in the field of data science like data engineers and data analysts.
APU had recognised this, and were the first university in Malaysia to offer a data science programme.
The postgraduate programme’s first intake drew in 22 students. Three years later, APU has a running intake of almost 125 students. For the undergraduate programme, this figure is almost 250.
Ever since then, they have been topmost in the minds of parties like MDEC and the Ministry of Education, as the number one provider of data science programmes.
“So, we have programmes from diploma till PhD in the data science space,” Dr. Vinesh explained.
In fact, APU boasts the entire spectrum of post-graduate and undergraduate degrees for data science, and they support the entire ecosystem from a research perspective with APCA.
The Asia Pacific Centre of Analytics (APCA), has the objective of building data science expertise within APU. Dr. Vinesh also shared that they have successfully obtained commercial and non-commercial projects to be able to forge forward as the data science hub for other universities in the country.
Dr. Vinesh said, “The next phase of our collaboration is really to optimise the experience that TIBCO has in the industry.
“We can’t leave the industry out of the education portfolio in terms of education offerings. They have to be part of the curriculum and that’s the the heavy role TIBCO has, advising us on the curriculum, moving forward.”
The wealth of experience in various different industries that TIBCO brings to the table, helps greatly in designing relevant curriculum for APU’s education offerings.
Dr. Vinesh observed, “The market wants someone on the job right away, whom they do not need to train. Cloud computing, for example; the industry wants graduate who have studied six to eight subjects about it, which is about a year’s worth. They don’t want general cloud computing students.”
This is where APU comes in to fill the gap with market-ready graduates, thanks to valuable input from industry players such as TIBCO.