As the corporate world has reached the brink of an unpredictable transition and as things change at an exponential rate, there is a lot that students have to really keep in mind as they focus on skilling and keeping themselves prepared for the 21st century workforce.
Going by a report that McKinsey Global Institute had published, more than 375 million workers will have to completely change their skills sets by 2030. Reason for such is pretty obvious -the rate at which newer technologies such as Digitization, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Automation is disrupting the world of work, one has got to catch up with such advances. And with computer technology capturing the world, it is only logical that students master IT skills to compete in the new emerging economy alongside focusing on soft skills like communication, problem-solving, collaboration and empathy.
For a student who is just 18 year old, indeed it is unnerving to figure out what kind of education and skills he/she must acquire to become ready for the future jobs and more so because they see most of the jobs are taken away by machines. From all what we see around us, it looks likely that in the new automation age, students really require a range of human skills in the workplace and technological expertise to essential social and emotional capabilities.
As per projections, employment in the area of computer and information technology would go up by 13 percent from 2016 to 2026 and what is interesting to note here is that, this would be faster than the average rate for all occupations. Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data and information security. Skills are increasingly required if students want a job with upward mobility and autonomy.
In terms of the rise in IT Jobs so far, we referred to the IT intensity index along with the data table from the Occupation Employment statistics program and found that - IT intensive occupations grew by 19.5 percent between 2004 and 2017, while less IT intensive occupations only grew by 2.4 percent. These statistics further goes on to show that there has been a growth in IT based jobs and this growth has been more than eight times the expected rate.
Employers of today largely complain that there is a huge skill gap particularly in areas such like- digital and technical tasks. Similarly, there is equal amount of skill gap existing in the area of cybersecurity and which is why the higher education system must address such skill gap issues the sooner the better. There is already a big uproar about increasing pressure of student debt across the world as the education system has not been able to help out students to master new age employment skills or be flexible enough to relearn things and equip themselves to accommodate in the ever changing working environment.
Big Data - The Crude Oil of Future Jobs
Big data is emerging out to be a new world currency. It holds much importance in the age of technology because, this form of digital data generates almost automatically by the online interactions of people and products and services, it also creates a wealth of constantly updating information which can be used to support in decision making and aid in monitoring and evaluation.
Basically, big data refers to data that are ‘so large and complex that traditional methods of collection and analysis are not possible. In fact, it is the amount and variety of big data which has increased exponentially over the past decade. The source of big data can be web content such as news, social media interactions, mobile phone services or internet banking and even one’s search history.
As the use of big data is growing in Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and other areas, new ways of looking at the patterns and rules of digital content are emerging. Organizations today are increasingly making use of Big Data to improve their decision making ability. And technology keeps on advancing, the point of collection, structuring and analysis of data occurs almost automatically, provided one knows how to use those technologies.
There are multiple sources of data that can be generated and analysed in real-time. They can also be arranged to capture complex interactions among data streams and to also to identify previously unsuspected linkages among seemingly unrelated factors.
Coding - A Much in Demand Skill for the Future Jobs
One finds today, an increasing number of businesses rely on computer code, from accountants using complex spread sheets, to artists and designers using graphic software.
Coding and programming skills is also an essential big data analysis skill. Unlike in the past, when traditional data analyst might be able to get away without being a full-fledged programmer, a big data analyst need to be very comfortable with coding. The reason why it is so is because, big data is still in its evolution phase and not many standard processes are set around the large complex datasets a big data analyst has to deal with. There is a need for a lot of customization to be carried out on daily basis to deal with the unstructured data.
A whole new tongue altogether but the language of computers is important to say because it is this that separates the educated from the ignorant masses of tomorrow. Understanding how to write code for computers is already becoming one of the most highly prized skill set that anyone can have in the global economy. Say, all major tech companies’ today right from Google to Facebook aggressively compete to hire young coders. Apart from this fact, it is also important to note that coding bridges the Universal divide. It is the one language that connects different nationalities and countries.
The other thing that makes coding a demanding skill in the future is that machines cannot code and while many more jobs will continue to be lost to automation, ultimately it is coders who control what is automated. Also, machines no matter how smart they become and take up most of the human jobs, they would still be dependent on humans because someone will have to code those machines. Further, it is the humans who have the empathetic ability to see when something new should be created. At the end of the day it is the human who will create and programme the next evolution of artificial intelligence.
And as the future of work seemingly looks out to be a lot different than what we had seen and students have been learning so far, it’s time that Universities adopt new models in higher education. Universities should also focus on preparing students for the New AI world by ensuring students have the necessary IT and soft skills required to thrive in the tech dominated world. To know more on the future of work, please watch the video below and see what influential business leaders have to say on it.