Upskilling to survive the digital transformation wave

   My first memory of seeing an actual computer goes back to the year, 1999 when I was in class 9. Our school got a few computers and started a “COMPUTER LAB”. The inauguration was a grand affair with politicians and few dignitaries of the town present asserting the importance of computer knowledge/literacy. 5 students had to share 1 computer. Today we cannot imagine people sharing computers. The concept of learning CPU, monitor, mouse and keyboard was amazing at that time. All we learnt was a few tricks in paint, notepad etc. Our focus was more to play games.

 

My next learning was in 2002, when I joined a computer course. The course had MS-DOS, Word, Excel, Power point. It was a 3-month course. Many of us today will laugh at the idea of going to a computer class to learn MS-office. Most of the people today will not even know what MS-DOS is. Floppy drive died many years ago. Even CD drive is vanishing or has already vanished from most computers. USB/Pen drives are becoming smaller with more capacity. The change in the mobile phones/tablets/internet connectivity etc. during the last decade was extremely fast and at times, scary.

 

In a growing digital world, things change at a very rapid pace. Technology changes and gets outdated very quickly. The skill sets required to survive in today’s rapidly changing/evolving job market also change very fast. We should be learning most of the skill sets in our schools or colleges. The bitter truth is, the syllabus in most universities in India is outdated. Most graduates do not have the skills they need to survive in the job market because their syllabus in college is of the technology that existed 4 or 5 years ago. We cannot afford the universities having outdated syllabus for their courses. Syllabus must be revised on a yearly basis. This will help the students to be at least close to current technology trends.

 

The place where we expect to learn more is at our work place where we get exposure to the latest and greatest. This does happen with the entry level recruits where they are given enough training to execute their tasks. But with time when these recruits gain experience, they are not trained in a similar manner and are expected to learn things on their own. The onus of adapting to the changing environment unfortunately is on the employee only. The employers must play an important role in upskilling their workforce. They must identify areas of development and tailor a training program for each of their employee. They must plan on a minimum number of training hours and make it compulsory for every employee. This will in turn benefit the employer in the long term. More employees would prefer a company who cares for their upskilling. So, there should not be any concerns that an upskilled employee might leave after receiving a training.

In October 2017, Capgemini, in conjunction with LinkedIn, released a global report on the digital talent gap. This study analysed the demand and supply of talent with specific digital skills and the availability of digital roles across multiple industries and countries. The report, “The Digital Talent Gap- Are Companies Doing Enough?” reveals the concerns felt by employees on their own digital skills and the lack of training currently available to them within their workplace. Highlights include the fact that nearly 50% of employees (close to 60% for digitally talented employees) are investing their own money and additional time beyond office hours to develop digital skills on their own.

 

The wave of technological advancement is having a disruptive impact on our job market. Digital is some thing that is associated with every thing today. Digital marketing, digital banking, digital communication, digital entertainment and the list goes on. For example, gone are the days where people could rely on hoarding or TV advertisements only to promote their brands. With more people using internet and watching less TV, it is important for brands to connect with their potential customers online too. Data analytics is having an impact on every thing. HR department too is moving towards talent analytics to have an efficient people strategy. With every domain in a company getting digital, the workforce today must ask them selves how to stay relevant to the current scheme of things. The answer to that is never forget learning. Learning must be in the DNA of today’s workforce irrespective of their age or experience or position in an organisation. With learning, one must adapt too to ever changing and challenging environment.

 

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

 

Pranav Bhat

Batch- PGDM-WP, July 2018

Manager-NPD at Studio NPD