Humanising technology to thrive and serve the world

“UTP is always keen to push new innovations out of its labs towards commercialisation,” said Dr Aliza Sarlan.

INEVITABLY, 2020 will be remembered as the year the world stopped.

Although the world is still struggling to get ahead of Covid-19, yet by just about every measure, information technology (IT) and digital were our unsung heroes that kept things running when the world was at a standstill.

Despite all this, the pandemic doubles as a once-in-a-century opportunity to revive traditional industries as it gives us the chance to sneak a look at the future. Surely, the post-Covid-19 reality is likely to lie between digital, IT and computer science.

As we dig into what industries of the future would look like, one truth is widely clear: We cannot afford to go back to the old way of doing things. Despite Covid-19 ending many traditional businesses, it’s also creating scores of new ones.

But what’s behind today’s latest technologies that will power the future?

From the work we do with the industry, computer science, IT and information systems are remaking the world economy to thrive in the face of continuous turbulence.

In other words, computer scientists, technologists and IT experts will be intimately involved with building the hardware, programmes and systems global industries need to grow.

Think of successful “technopreneurs” like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, a Princeton University Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degree holder, and others who created mega platforms such as Facebook and Shopee.

All of them share one thing in common. Most of them had technical background in IT, computer science and information systems before their business ideas took off.

Similarly, now, technologists will be in the thick of things shaping a new business landscape driven by the digital world’s new-found obsession with technology and speed.

Also, they will help global industries seed new products and technologies that can directly address the needs of a borderless world market.

As the pandemic disrupts nearly every aspect of life, businesses are turning to digital and analytics to help them weather the crisis and prepare for new ways of operating once we reach the other side.

Interestingly, what exactly enables all these sophisticated new ways of doing business? The definitive short answer is information systems.

In the years to come, the combination of information systems and breakthrough Industry 4.0 technologies will retool businesses, especially SMEs, to take over the world.

As a result, a new breed of business analysts will emerge. They are decisive strategic thinkers and innovative problem solvers who will serve as a bridge between technical development and management, and lead strategic planning, business intelligence, enterprise system development as well as IT audit within organisations.

At Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP), its Bachelor of Information Systems, Bachelor of Information Technology and Bachelor of Computer Science programmes are preparing a pipeline of business analysts, data scientists and cyber security experts to meet brisk demand in the future from global industries.

Despite the hyperbole, UTP believes this will be the big break that will allow businesses to operate from anywhere and at any time. Physical infrastructure, distance and locations will no longer matter as much.

This is where UTP’s advanced R&D teaching labs and facilities such as Cerdas, Huawei-sponsored network and data communication Lab, high performance computing centre (HPCC), virtual reality lab, and industry-driven specialisation courses such as cyber security, data analytics, enterprise systems and software quality are pivotal to prepare students for the real world.

Industry exposure also begins early at UTP. Its Technopreneurship Team Project (TTP) for example, assembles students for team projects in collaboration with industry partners deeply experienced in planning, pitching and evaluation.

As a leading research university, UTP is always keen to push new innovations out of its labs towards commercialisation.

At the same time, UTP nurtures youth entrepreneurship by giving them the tools and hands-on knowledge to design and develop technology solutions using real industry inputs.

UTP alumni Hezri Amir, the founder of two fast-growing tech start-ups Hezmedia Sdn Bhd and Nexasoft, finds vibrant opportunities in the tech sector which are too good to be ignored.

Similarly, Advance Binary Network’s Afdzal Nazri and Creativeminds’ Muhammad Shafiq Shahrul Amar have followed suit and had a great degree of success with their business ventures.

Basically, all these new technology-driven sectors will be in the front row of new technologies that will be used in novel ways to solve future economic, living and working challenges.

Today however, many industries still haven’t achieved technology maturity in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, big data, business analytics, digital and artificial intelligence. These technologies are some of the best examples of having one foot in the present and another in the future.

Moving forward, a huge window of opportunity led by virtual, digital and automation efforts will open up to help industries stay on pace for the larger narrative of technological progress.

As is so often the case, to help the industry fuel its growth engine, it needs young and aspiring talents.

As industry and education innovators, UTP’s computer science, IT and information systems programmes are closely aligned with industry needs from leading global companies to help you stay in touch with the latest industry trends and development.

With a broad collaboration network, many of its students chose international partners overseas such as Mitsubishi Fuso Japan, Hitachi Japan, TableCheck Inc Japan, EDI GmbH Germany and Kisters AG Germany to undergo their seven-month internship.

For years, UTP has been a prominent feeder university for engineering, science and technology industries.

But what do leading companies namely Petronas, Schlumberger, KPMG, Baker Hughes, Accenture, Intel, Mimos, Halliburton, Deloitte, BP ask of UTP in return?

They want UTP to increase the supply of computer science, information technology and information systems graduates.

Quite simply, you don’t want to pass up this golden opportunity. Changes under way will alter the structure of entire industries and businesses.

Sign up with UTP today and together we can dream up new possibilities to make the world a better place. For more information, visit

Get connected and be in the know about everything UTP. To know more, click here.

Dr Aliza Sarlan is the chair of UTP’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences.


“Currently, there are vast opportunities to improve social and business sectors. Digital, driven information systems and IT make all these opportunities accessible for all of us. My job search app for instance, helps improve lesser developed locations’ economy by matching jobs with local freelance workers and jobseekers. As the app is now valued at RM1mil for its potential, I see this as a big boost to help people in rural areas climb out of low-income brackets, ” said UTP Bachelor of Information Systems graduate, winner of 2018 UTP Convocation Gold Chancellor Award and tech entrepreneur Abdul Qayyum Halid.

“The new normal disguises many new opportunities, especially for youth and digital businesses. Knowing that information systems will change the world for the better in terms of sustainability, opportunities and equality, this is something that resonates with me. Being here allows me to be involved in real work and research being developed with the industry to solve real problems. It gives me work experience even before I leave the university and great assurance that I too, can be an actor of change, ” said UTP Bachelor of Information Systems and MSc in Information Systems graduate, winner of 2018 UTP Convocation Vice Chancellor Award and business system analyst Yeong Yoon Chow.

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