In Malaysia demand for professionals in IT / tech field continues to increase. Actually demand for tech talent is high anywhere around the world - USA, Australia, Singapore, etc.
If you're considering studying Computer Science or IT you're making a good choice. In this guide we'll try to cover everything you need to know about choosing, applying to and studying a course / degree in Computer Science or IT in Malaysia.
But first, let's talk about the two questions we often get asked:
- I hear about different courses: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, and IT. What's the difference?
- Which one should I choose?
The difference between Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, and IT
Here we'll try to give you a quick analysis on these courses:
- Computer Science is a study of how computers work, mostly from the theoretical and mathematical perspective. This course include four major areas of computing: theory, algorithms, programming languages, and architecture. You should choose Computer Science if you like math and logic.
- Computer Engineering is a discipline that integrates several fields of computer science and electronics engineering required to develop computer hardware and software. This is a challenging course and you should choose it if you like math and logic.
- Software Engineering is a study of how software systems are developed, including topics such as project management, quality assurance, and software testing. You should choose Software Engineering if you are more interested in the hands-on approach, and if you want to learn how software is built and maintained.
- IT is probably the easiest course among the four. This course is primarily focused on subjects such as software, databases, and networking. You should choose a course in IT if you want to get into a career in IT but don't want your study to be too challenging.
The good news is that all four courses teach fundamentals of programming and computer science, so you can choose any one to get into a career in technology.
What are the career options after graduating from Computer Science or IT?
Just like the medical field (you've got heart specialists, ENT, dentists, GPs, etc, etc) the tech field is also very diverse. We encourage you to try different things during your study years to figure out what you like. For example you can try:
- programming and a good language to start with is Python
- system administration by building/assembling your own PC, installing the Linux operating system and learning more about Linux
- network administration by setting up a small network, installing a router simulator on your PC and playing with it, understanding subnetting, routers and switches
- designing graphics or animations
If you realize that you are not good at or don't like the above, don't worry you can still have a career in tech as a Business Analyst, Project Manager, Product Manager, Software Tester, etc.
Here are some of the careers in tech.
- Programmer - This is very broad and there are many types of programming, but the bottomline is that you love programming/coding. You can become a web developer, mobile app developer, game developer - possibilities are many.
- Web Developer - This is also a programming job, specifically programming websites and web applications. Depending on your interest you may become a Frontend Developer or Backend Developer or even a Fullstack Developer. What's the difference? Frontend Developers work on the areas which are visible to website visitors, the things that the visitors can touch and see. Backend Developers focus on things which are in the background such as the underlying calculations/logic, database interactions, etc. And finally Fullstack Developers are those programmers who are good at both the frontend and backend programming.
- System Administrator - They make sure that the computer systems (PCs, printers, servers) are working properly in the company.
- Network Engineer - As the name implies Network Engineers are responsible for the network, making sure that it's reliable and fast.
- UI Designer - Design user interfaces such as websites, mobile apps, etc. Their job is to make it pretty and user-friendly.
- Business Analyst - The business analyst is the link between the end user and a project manager. The requirements for business analysts may vary between positions and the business analyst key responsibilities may differ from company to company, but their main purpose is to analyze, evaluate, and refine processes.
- Project Manager - Project managers have the responsibility of the planning and execution of a project. They do everything to make sure that the project is running smooth by removing obstacles that the project members face, following the timelines and project deadlines, etc.
- Product Manager - A product manager combines business, technology, and design in order to discover a product that is valuable, feasible, and usable. It is an important organizational role, especially in technology companies, that sets the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition for a product.
- Software Tester - Software Testers play an important role in the development of new programs/systems. They conduct automated and manual tests to ensure the software created by developers is fit for purpose.
What is the average minimum salary for fresh graduates of Computer Science or IT in Malaysia?
Your starting salary after graduation will depend on the type of company, job, location of the company (e.g. KL or Ipoh?), etc. However, we looked at the JobStreet's salary report and came up with these estimated starting salaries.
|Web Developer||RM 2,000-3,500|
|System Administrator||RM 2,000-3,000|
|Network Engineer||RM 2,000-3,000|
|UI Designer||RM 2,000-3,000|
|Business Analyst||RM 1,800-2,500|
|Project Manager||RM 1,800-2,500|
|Product Manager||RM 1,800-2,500|
|Software Tester||RM 1,800-2,500|
A lot depends on your skills too! Make sure that while you're studying you're not only doing class assignments and projects, but also developing real skills by doing pet projects. For example:
- Develop a simple mobile app
- Develop a website
- Design user interfaces and upload to behance.net
- Learn wireframing
- Improve your writing skills in English
Entry requirements depend on the study level and institution, but in general they are as stated below.
- SPM / SPMV / O Level - 3 credits including Mathematics, OR
- STPM - 1 principal pass and SPM / O Level credit in Mathematics, OR
- UEC - 3 subjects at grade B including Mathematics
|Foundation / Matriculation||Successful completion of the Foundation / Matriculation program that is approved by the Ministry of Higher Education with CGPA 2.0 and credit in SPM Maths or equivalent|
|STPM||Passed STPM with gred C in at least 3 subjects (including Maths) AND credit in Maths in SPM or equivalent|
|UEC||Passes with at least B in 5 subjects (including English and Maths)|
|A-Level||Passes in at least 3 subjects (including Maths)|
|Canadian Pre-U or Ontario Secondary Diploma||Passed with average marks of 55 inclusive of Maths|
|Australian Year 12||Passed Australian Year 12 with average of 55 and credit in Maths in SPM or equivalent|
|South Australian Matriculation (SAM)||Passed 5 subjects with minimum TER score of of 55 or an average of 55, no subjects less than 10/20 including Maths|
|NSW High School Certificate (HSC)||Passed with ATAR 55 (minimum 10 units) including Maths and no subjects score below 50|
|Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY)||Passed Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY) with min 60% in 4 subjects including Maths|
How long is a Degree or Diploma in Computer Science / IT?
Duration depends on the level of study and institution:
- Diploma course is 2 or 2.5 years
- Bachelor's degree is usually 3 years
The tuition fee varies from one university or college to another. Here are some samples.
|Course||Institution||Tuition fee for the whole course|
|Diploma in Information & Communications Technology||INTI International College Penang||RM 31,770|
|Diploma in Information & Communication Technology||Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation||RM 43,200|
|Diploma in Computer Studies||KDU University College||RM 38,485|
|Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Computing||INTI International College Penang||RM 58,940|
|Bachelor of Computer Science (Software Engineering)||INTI International College Subang||RM 79,036|
|Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons)||KDU University College||RM 57,360|
Which universities and colleges offer Computer Science and IT courses in Malaysia?
Computer Science and IT is a popular course in Malaysia and there are many universities and colleges in Malaysia offering this course.
|INTI International College Penang|
|Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation|
|KDU University College|
|UNITAR International University|
|INTI International College Subang|
|Management & Science University (MSU)|
This is just some of them. You can find the complete list in our directory of universities & colleges in Malaysia offering Computer Science and IT courses.