Good news, fans of ‘Back to the Future’: flying cars may become a reality this decade. Big brands like Uber, Hyundai and Airbus are working to create flying taxis that whisk passengers through the sky, avoid traffic and connect cities to suburbs.

This decade will see some of the most exciting tech innovations in history. But this new world means that totally different skills will be required, said Michael Macdonald, Chief Digital Officer of Huawei Asia Pacific. “This new ICT landscape will leave us with an estimated shortage of about 5 million professionals,” he said at Huawei’s recent ICT Talent Forum.

To match this demand for skilled workers, Huawei is planning to develop 2 million ICT professionals through certification programs, online courses, and talent competitions.

1. Training ICT talent

Covid-19 has “created a higher demand for ICT technology” and thus ICT talent, said McDonald at Huawei’s media roundtable, which took place before the forum. Teleconferencing, 5G, and artificial intelligence have helped organisations deal with the pandemic, and Huawei “still sees a heavy demand” for such skillsets, McDonald added.

The Huawei ICT academy aims to meet this increase in demand for ICT professionals. Launched in 2013, the academy has partnered with over 900 higher education institutions to offer ICT courses and training for over 45,000 students each year. To date, the company has set up 103 ICT academies in the Asia Pacific region.

Separately, the company’s online learning platform, Huawei Talent Online, offers 300 free courses covering 22 technical areas of ICT. Students learn through live webinars, which allow for interactions between students and teachers. Students can also conduct experiments online through cloud computing technology, and take simulation exercises to prepare for exams.

Malaysia’s Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) is one of Huawei ICT academy’s partners.
Huawei trains the university’s staff on the latest industry trends and products and gives them access to the latest technology, said Chang Yoong Choon, UTAR’s head of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. This way, graduates are equipped with industry-relevant knowledge and skill sets upon graduation.

2. Certifying students and employees

Next, Huawei also announced a new program for aspiring ICT workers to achieve an associate, professional, or expert level certification. The Huawei ICT certification comprises 100 certification exams spanning 22 technical fields. It ranges from the fundamentals such as routing and switching, to specific industry knowledge where one can learn how ICT is applied in finance or public safety, said McDonald.

To date, the company has certified more than 260,000 ICT students and employees, including 19,000 in Asia Pacific.

3. Huawei ICT competition

Lastly, Huawei organises competitions and job fairs to “give everybody the opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned,” said McDonald.

Started in 2015, the Huawei ICT competition aims to promote talent development through an international contest. “The competition allows the students to get recognized and secure valuable employment at leading enterprises,” said McDonald.

Flying cars may be a reality in the near future – but before that, the pressing gap in ICT professionals must be addressed. Huawei estimates that its training and certification programs will bring 700,000 skilled ICT workers into the market by 2023, and will continue to work with its partners to bridge this talent gap.

Image by Huawei