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Old 26-03-2011, 12:07 PM
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Default Thinking of doing an IT diploma/degree? Read this first.

Degree in computer science but jobs hard to come by
By Mavis Toh

The Straits Times
January 04, 2009

For the eight years he has been in the workforce, Mr Jacky Leo has held a permanent job only once.

From 2003 to 2004, he was a helpdesk specialist at a telecommunications company. He enjoyed 14 days of annual leave, medical benefits, insurance coverage and a mobile phone subsidy.

'I even had about three months' bonus,' said Mr Leo, 31.

In 2004, he left to pursue a degree in computer science at Deakin University in Melbourne.

For years, before his only permanent job and after his graduation, he could only find contract work.

Each time, he worked as a merchandiser or a systems support engineer for periods of one to two years. He received no bonuses or medical benefits and at times even no contributions to his Central Provident Fund.

'It's unfair when you do the same job as others but get less because you're on contract,' he said. 'But I just couldn't find a permanent job.'

One reason, Mr Leo said, is that most jobs in the IT industry are contract-based.

IT jobs also require various certifications and each course can cost several thousand dollars. In 2007, he considered paying $16,000 for a three-month systems training course conducted by a private training school but backed out at the last minute. 'What if I paid so much and still didn't get the job?'

In March last year, he flew to Australia in the hope of securing a financial system support engineer position. He failed.

Now back in Singapore, he is jobless. He lives with his parents in a Jurong West flat and is getting by on his savings.

He doesn't have much in his CPF account and doesn't even dare think about marriage.

'I'm financially unstable and it'll continue if I keep getting contract jobs.'

He has registered for a taxi training course in February as a backup plan to his job search.

Meanwhile, he trawls the Web daily for job openings and is registered with five recruitment agencies.

'My next job will most probably still be a contract one, but to survive, I have no choice.'

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