Friday, June 21, 2024

Smart Grid Systems Creating Opportunities in Malaysia

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With the Internet of Things (IoT) and digitalisation taking over industries, it is only a matter of time that the nation’s energy supply industry is completely transformed by technology. The journey to digitalisation within the industry commenced with the implementation of the present-day Smart Grid System. Energy Malaysia delves into the workings of the Smart Grid System and the various job opportunities arising from its implementation.

A digitally enhanced network utilising computer-based remote control and automation to increase power grid efficiency, the Smart Grid System employs two-way communications technology and computer processing typically used in telecommunications. This enables utilities to control and adjust each device from a central location, while at the same time the devices are able to send data back to the operations centre.

Because of this, electricity utilities are able to receive real-time feedback on issues like power usage, consumption patterns and interruptions. The Smart Grid System also facilitates power utilities in moving towards the use of greener technology with them opting for renewable energy sources and becoming energy efficient for the reduction of carbon emissions.

The on-going implementation of the Smart Grid System in Malaysia has opened countless job opportunities in the industry, particularly for those skilled in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The following are just some of the more in-demand occupations.

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Operations Research Analyst

An operations research analyst formulates and applies analytical methods using science, mathematics and engineering principles to develop and interpret information. They reduce the complexity of resource management to assist utility companies in making informed decisions and in improving its overall efficiency. Using state-of-the-art software, analysts essentially solve problems and are often involved in planning and forecasting. For example, they anticipate future electricity needs so that power generation and transmission capacity is established before it is even needed.

To be employed as an operations research analyst, one must possess a Bachelor’s Degree in disciplines that include extensive coursework in Mathematics and other quantitative subjects such as Mathematical Science and Operations Science. However, employers are also more inclined to hire candidates with a Master’s Degree in Operations Research, Management Science or a related field – such as Computer Science, Engineering, Applied Mathematics or Information Systems.

Candidates with a dual graduate degree in operations research and computer science are especially attractive to employers. Thus, continuous learning and the willingness to pursue further education are crucial for those who are interested in joining this line of work. One must also keep up to date with new technological advances and software tools while improvements in analytical methods are vital for maintaining problem-solving skills required for the job.

Software Developers

The profession of software developers has been around since the nation’s paradigm shift towards modernisation. Software developers generally design, test and evaluate applications and systems that operate computers. With regards to the smart grid system, the computer system that runs the smart grid require a specific software that is created and modified accordingly by software developers to cater to the individual needs of each utility.  

Commonly, software developers need a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering. However, for some positions that require a specific area of expertise, employers may prefer to hire candidates with a Master’s Degree. On the other hand, an associate’s degree, diploma or certificate in the related field is adequate for the less taxing jobs. Candidates who possess the relevant skill-set and industry experience are typically favoured by employers.

Technical know-how is one way of measuring how good a developer is but soft skills are the ones that really put you on the map. Adaptability should be second nature to developers due to the fact that there are always things to be changed and things to be learned. Critical thinking is also one of the import soft skills that should be practiced by a developer. It involves assessing facts which will allow them to quickly test each scenario mentally before choosing the most efficient solution. This would especially come in handy as it helps developers write clean and maintainable code.

Network and Computer System Administrators

These are dedicated teams of people who install and maintain an organisation’s computer system. Most components of the smart grid depend greatly on reliable computer networks to operate. Therefore, it is up to the system administrators to ensure that the computer systems function properly and that problems are fixed in an efficient manner.

In terms of academic qualification, network and computer system administrators often times need a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Networking and System Administration. An associate’s degree, diploma or a professional certificate in the same field in addition to the relevant work experience may be adequate for some jobs. The majority of system operators begin as computer support specialists before advancing to administrative positions.                                                                                        

To further develop themselves professionally, network and computer system administrators can enhance their employment opportunities by obtaining the relevant certifications. Numerous employers regard certain certifications as the industry standard and may require employees to obtain them. Computer specialists must also attend periodic training to stay abreast of the latest industry developments due to the ever-changing nature of technology.

Candidates need several vital personal qualities. Strong problem solving skills will be helpful in identifying problems within an organisation’s computer network or in this case, within the smart grid’s networks. Excellent critical thinking skills are a prerequisite as it aids you in weighing all the possible options and determining the most effective resolution.

Computer System Analysts

Computer system analysts have many roles to play. They specialise in assisting in the selection of the appropriate system hardware or in developing and fine-tuning systems. They also cooperate with computer programmers to debug and eliminate errors from the system or do in-depth testing for the system. Apart from that, computer system analysts help build the system and manage them once operational as the smart grid relies more on computer control than the current grid.

To be employed as a computer system analyst, it is ideal for candidates to possess a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. For those without a Bachelor’s Degree, an associate’s degree, diploma or professional certification in an applicable field plus relevant work experience may be adequate for some roles.

In order to be a holistic computer system analyst, one needs to have strong troubleshooting and problem solving skills. They must retain an understanding of how each component works, diagnose the problems and determine viable options in case of a technical glitch. Analytical and writing skills are also a great asset to decipher large amounts of data and produce written reports of the analysis. With the growth of digitalisation in the electricity supply industry, job opportunities therein are booming, requiring the current staff as well as fresh graduates to constantly seek additional industry relevant qualifications, skills and knowledge. It also pushes current employees to keep up to date with the latest technological developments in procuring the best opportunities for career advancement. All in all, the career prospect in the smart grid industry is thriving with potential for both the present as well as future employees to grow along with the technological advancement.

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