Home Government Tech Policy Attention developers – don’t go to Google, go to Singapore
Attention developers – don’t go to Google, go to Singapore Featured

The Singapore Government has declared its intention to hire an army of world-class developers and it intends to pay big bucks for them so they don’t go off to work for Google, Amazon and other big name tech firms.

At the launch of the government’s first developers conference, Govtech Stack, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the island nation had to develop a deep engineering culture to drive its digital transformation.

The theme of the developers conference is the promotion of the development of a government stack of reusable software components that can be re-used across all agencies.

What’s more, the government intends to pay its IT people well in the pursuit of that goal, Lee said.

“This entails building organisations that invest in and build up our people," he said.

“Remuneration is important, we have recently revamped our salary schemes to pay our officers competitively, and for exceptional talent, we can even pay for person.

“To recruit the best, we must offer the organisation, the culture, and the leadership, where talent can find growth opportunities, deepen their expertise, and make progress in their careers.”

165px LeeHsienLoongViet

Lee (pictured above) openly stated that the Singapore Government wanted to compete with the tech giants for the best IT people by developing its systems in-house.

“If we are successful, we will be able attract and recruit engineers of the calibre that companies like Google, Netflix, Dropbox, Slack and Gojek hire, whether fresh out of university or already mid-career,” he said.

“We want talented IT professionals to consider us, just as seriously as any one of these companies.

“Some of these people will work for a few years with us, and flow out to the private sector, or even Silicon Valley, because that is the quality we are aiming for.

“We can accept this as long we have a similar flow into the government as well.”

Unlike Australia, which has outsourced its government IT development to the extent that local university IT enrolments have stagnated, the IT schools within Singapore universities are thriving.

“Our universities are producing more good IT graduates, because students have started to realise that IT skills are in demand," Lee said.

The writer is attending the Stack conference as a guest of the Singapore Government.


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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.


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