In this second of the AskST series on university education, The Straits Times looks at how to pick the right institution and course of study.
Q: It is good to have a choice of six local universities, but what should my son look out for in making the choice, other than ensuring that the university offers the computing degree course he wants to pursue?
A: Computing is a good course to study, given the rise of Industry 4.0, which refers to a new phase in industrial revolution that focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning and real-time data.
Several public universities offer degree courses in computing. So, how do you pick the right one?
First, look at whether your son is able to meet the cut-off score for computing, as it is highly competitive.
For the National University of Singapore (NUS), which has Singapore's largest intake of students for computing - with more than 1,400 last year - students generally need four As to enter the course.
Having said that, many students, including those at NUS, are admitted into computing despite falling short of the cut-off score.
Often, they demonstrate their aptitude for and interest in the field through other means, be it in the interview process or through some software they may have created.
NUS provost Ho Teck Hua feels it is important to recognise that developments in computing are rapid. Therefore, his advice is to pick a university where teaching and research in the field are at the cutting edge.
How do you ascertain that? One way is to look at the international rankings according to disciplines.
NUS, for example, was ranked ninth in the world last year for computer science and information systems by Times Higher Education and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), where significant weightage is given to research output.
Your son should study the job and salary prospects for computing graduates in the yearly survey results, which were released on Friday last week.