Cambodian senior government officials and tech entrepreneurs have called on students who recently passed their high school exams to pursue ICT and digital technology-related skills at universities, citing an attractive job market with high salaries after graduation.
In his December 22 letter, Chea Vandeth, Minister of Post and Telecommunications, directed his appeal to high schoolers who recently passed their exit exams, asking them to consider digital technology-related majors at university. This includes computer science, telecoms and networking, cloud computing, software development, data science, cybersecurity, blockchain, fintech, artificial intelligence (AI) and e-commerce.
“Choosing these skills could lead you to a job market with high pay and enable you to start your own business, as well as contribute to the country’s development,” said the minister.
Local tech entrepreneurs welcome the minister’s appeal, saying the country has faced a severe shortage of tech human resources both in the public and private sectors.
Keo Reasmey, managing director at Udaya Technology, a Phnom Penh-based company with about 100 staff that provides software and automation solutions, said as Cambodia turns to technologies to drive growth and development, there has been a drastically short supply of tech workforce.
“In the context of the digital economy, all sectors are hungry for tech talents. In the short- and medium-term, the most needed resources are developers or software engineers and electronic engineers,” Reasmey said.
“In the long-run, when we transition to a digital society and to Industry 4.0 in ten years from now, we will need even more highly-skilled tech talents, such as the ones who can make chips and circuits and so on, as well as those who can do electronic, programing and hardware combined together,” he added.
The painful lack of tech talents, Reasmey added, also hinders R&D departments of many companies, thereby slowing the tech industry as a whole.
Chea Langda, Founder and CEO of tech company, BookMeBus, also emphasized the need to produce more tech talents in Cambodia as technologies and a technologically-skilled workforce will bring improved efficiency to the economy.
Studying tech or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), Langda added, also boosts people’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills as computer scientists, for example, are educated to solve problems.
“For example, I studied computer science and when I graduated, I founded BookMeBus to provide an e-commerce solution that contributes to the country’s tourism and passenger transport industries,” Langda said.
“Through the bus ticketing platform BookMeBus, we help around two million local and international tourists to travel each year. This is just one example that digital technology can contribute a great deal to the economy,” he added.
According to Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology (CADT), an institution created and tasked by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications to produce digital tech talents and innovators, students who graduated from the academy have a higher rate of employment.
CADT’s Vice President Hean Samboeun said CADT, formerly known as the National Institute of Posts, Telecoms & ICT, has so far produced 385 graduates majoring in computer science, telecoms and networking, and e-commerce, and is training an additional 620 students.
“The employment rate among our graduates is around 96 to 97 percent, with the remainder becoming self-employed,” Samboeun said.
The demand for digital skills in the job market in 2021, Samboeun added, is between 35 and 40 percent, citing a research study conducted by CADT.