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Frequently Asked Questions about ISTD Pillar

ISTD pillar focuses on information and computing technologies and its relationship with the world. It integrates the traditional disciplines of Computer Science and Information Systems while focusing on computing, systems, and intelligence. The aim of such integration and focus is to offer you the flexibility to acquire a strong foundation of computing knowledge and skills in areas of your choice and the ability to interact with other engineering disciplines in creative ways. The computing grounding, system thinking and intense exposure to design in the context of interdisciplinary education empowers you to tackle challenging computing and information problems.

Knowledge set

  1. Software design; software/hardware co-design; programming languages
  2. Fundamentals of computer hardware
  3. Networking and cyber security: structure, protocols, implementation, cryptography, etc.
  4. Databases, Machine Learning, Artificial Language
  5. User Interface Design
  6. Computer Graphics, Computational Fabrication

Skills set

  1. Ability to design, develop, test, and deploy software applications; e.g., games, financial, transportation, educational, web, and many more
  2. Ability to design, develop, test, and deploy software/hardware products as as IoT devices, network devices, and more
  3. Ability to work in multidisciplinary engineering product development teams
  4. Ability to learn on-your-own new computing technologies that keep cropping up nearly everyday. This includes new programming languages, new operating systems, new software tools, etc.

ISTD focuses on the design of software and software/hardware products and systems; not only hardware products.

ISTD offers knowledge and skill set that is relevant to ALL industries in a modern society.

Most ISTD courses are very hands on and have less mathematical content than most ESD courses.

  • Hardware design projects
  • UI design projects
  • Game Design projects
  • Product design projects

Projects are a key element of the pedagogy used in SUTD.

ISTD instructors will include projects in nearly all courses.

It is true that projects are time consuming but they enhance learning. Projects also enable you to sharpen your software design skills, which are much in demand.

ISTD graduates develop PRODUCTS.

ISTD graduates develop SYSTEMS.

ISTD products have earned billions for Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Google, and thousands of other companies in nearly all areas of human endeavor.

ISTD graduates have the knowledge and skill set needed NOW and in the FUTURE for Singapore!

Computers have entered nearly ALL aspects of human endeavor.

Thus, you will be able to apply most of the knowledge acquired in ISTD. You could develop applications for nearly any kind of company (including defence, banks, and game companies). You could start your own app development company.

If you like to play with hardware products, then you could very well use your programming and hardware skill set to desisgn new IoT devices.

All ISTD tracks are in demand. Also, the precise demand changes. Currently graduates with a good security and communications background and software design skills are in big demand.

Salary depends on more than one factor. Your overall performances at SUTD, your communication skills, your passion, are some of the factors that decide on your salary.

The median starting salary of our pioneer ISTD graduates (Year 2015) is the highest among the IT students in local universities, as well as across SUTD pillars.

The average and median salary of ISTD graduates is the highest among all pillars, and graduates in computing.

Employment rate of ISTD graduates is 100% [2018]

ISTD graduates are in demand in nearly every industry.

Small sample of companies where ISTD graduates have found employment:

  • Citi [Finance]
  • BP [Petroleum]
  • DSTA [Defense]
  • Google [Software, Hardware]
  • Gov Tech [Government]
  • IBM [Multi-disciplinary]
  • JP Morgan [Finance]
  • Koei Tecmo [Gaming]
  • KPMG [Finance, Consulting]
  • SP Group [Utilities]

Artificial Intelligence is a mix of many technologies.

For students going for the AI track, ISTD has a rich collection of subjects to offer. These includes:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Vision
  • Computational Data Science
  • Distributed Autonomous Systems
  • Machine Learning

No, ISTD is not all about coding.

In ISTD, you learn algorithms, techniques to secure complex systems, methods for reliable data communications, algorithms for machine learning, analysis of algorithms, logic for Artificial Intelligence, and many more.

Implementation of any technique that requires computing, does require design of computer programs, and hence coding.

ISTD has a rich collection of 6 core subjects and 11 electives to choose from. At the end of a successful ISTD curriculum, you will:

  • Be skillful in program design in multiple programming languages
  • Be able to learn new technologies
  • Be in high demand in ALL industry in Singapore including finance and banking
  • Have appreciation and knowledge of traditional engineering disciplines that will make you a great fit for industries such as autonomous vehicles

In summary, you will be in high demand!

We are now in an era of digital transformation.

Computing has entered nearly all domains of human endeavor.

Design-centric multidisciplinary education of SUTD makes ISTD graduate perhaps the most employable graduate among all graduates in Singapore.

A traditional computer science graduate An ISTD graduate A traditional information system graduate
  • Has a solid understanding on the technical foundations of computer science
  • Has the same basic skills of a computer scientist but combines that with expertise in
    • multi-disciplinary design approach
    • systematic design approach
  • Has an acute awareness of the business needs that computing technologies can fulfill
  • Acquires a wide-range of computing knowledge from its theoretical and algorithmic foundations to cutting-edge development
  • Has a comprehensive understanding of the social, cultural, political, and economic dimensions of the world, he or she is creating, designing, and building for.
  • Focus on integrating information technology and business process to meet the information needs of businesses and other enterprises
  • Develop effective ways to solve computing problems
  • Works on cross modular projects and is trained to develop problem-driven computing solutions instead of just technology-driven solutions, which often do not solve the root of a problem
  • Enable businesses to achieve their objectives in an effective and efficient way
  • Develop in-depth knowledge in one or more computer science specialisations
  • Has a holistic view of any problem and applies technically sound computing solutions as well as industry-relevant solution management
  • Develops innovative and value-adding solutions for business and society

  • Application/System Programmer
  • Software, Web and Multimedia Developer/Engineer
  • System Analyst
  • Security Specialist
  • Researcher/Scientist
  • Data Scientist

  • Finds employment across the same spectrum of industries that employ traditional computer scientists and information system engineers. But has the agility and power to excel beyond careers in these industries due to multi-disciplinary and design-oriented training

  • Business Consultant/Analyst
  • System Design/Administration
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Database Management/Administration
  • Network Architect
  • Project/Product Management
  • Web Content Management