Why ISTD

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Frequently Asked Questions about ISTD Pillar

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ISTD is about the design and implementation of systems; these could be small such as a simple IoT device or a large system such as a social networking site or a reservation system.

ISTD is also about the design of products: software and software/hardware products; and systems.

ISTD is not only about programming. Programming is an intellectually demanding tool, just as Mathematics is. Programming has become a very important tool not only for ISTD majors but for all majors.

ISTD core is the same as that in most Computer Science programs.

ISTD electives are the same as those in traditional Computer Science programs.

It is the integration of ISTD in the engineering environment of SUTD that makes ISTD different from most Computer Science programs.

Thus, ISTD graduates have an appreciation for traditional engineering and design; they are truly multidisciplinary.

Formally: Python and Java
Short courses: C, C++, Swift
During Internships: Ruby, etc.

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.

This is a joint track. The main difference is in the core classes to be taken in Term 4 and 5. ISTD students are required to take the following core courses:

  • Introduction to Information Systems and Programming
  • Computation Structures
  • Introduction to Algorithms
  • Elements of Software Constructions
  • Computer System Engineering
  • Probability and Statistics

ESD students are required to take the following core courses:

  • Data and Business Analytics
  • Probability
  • Optimization
  • Manufacturing and Service Operations
  • Statistics
  • Engineering Systems Architecture

An ISTD student can take some ESD classes to make the tracks identical.

This is a joint track. For EPD students, they can complete all track requirements within EPD. For ISTD students, they are required to take the following EPD modules to complete the track requirements:

  • 30.106 Microelectronic Circuits and Devices
  • 30.110 Digital Systems Lab

Apart from the above, the ISTD CE track cores and electives and the EPD CE track cores and electives are different. You can compare the differences by looking at https://istd.sutd.edu.sg/undergraduate/tracks/computer-engineering/ and https://epd.sutd.edu.sg/education/undergraduate/curriculum-tracks/computer-engineering/

Knowledge and skills set acquired in ISTD is applicable to ALL pillars.

EPD: Innovative, flexible, and intelligent products: ALL require software, networking, and some even require Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

ESD: Modelling and simulation, system implementation: ALL require knowledge and skill set acquired in ISTD.

ASD: Today’s architect with a sound knowledge of computing fundamentals has a significant edge over others who lack such knowledge and skill set.

  • 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.

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