03 Jun 2021 19:01 IST

Upskilling helps close skill gaps and move into new roles

Identifying skill gaps and investing in the right training is the first step in securing our future

The pandemic has brought many changes around us, creating new boundaries — demanding physical distancing and calling for new remote working models. However, the health crisis has also brought in a positive change — the accelerated pace of digital transformation. The rising popularity of digital apps and platforms and the growing public acceptance of digitalisation is changing the outlook for various segments, including finance, education, healthcare, and the gaming industry. There is no doubt that the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 — the process of digitising everything — has been underway for some time now. The pandemic has accentuated the pace , creating a strong demand for a skilled workforce.

Over the years, we have seen a growing focus on automation and a gradual reduction of manual labour, especially for repetitive tasks. A multitude of new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain are being increasingly used by businesses and governments today to solve complex social and economic challenges. Likewise, skill requirements are changing fast too. Skills that may appear relevant today risk getting redundant as new technologies replace the old. The widening of skill gaps risks leaving many people from joining the workforce of the new economic opportunity.

Building the desire to learn

One of the most critical aspects in the current race for professional success is the desire and the ability to stay on the learning curve. Our education system has traditionally focussed more on academic learning and less on skills training and exposure. This is one of the key reasons why the employability of a high number of job-seekers in our country continues to remain low. For a country with over 12 million graduates entering the job market annually, there is a critical need to supplement their theoretical knowledge with specialised skill-based training. Given the development of new tech, advanced industrial concepts, and constant innovation happening across industry, continuous learning is the only way to address today's industry requirements and take a step forward and prepare for the future.

From a very early stage of their careers, professionals need to consider investing their time in gaining technical and management skills that can help them grow in their careers as business leaders of tomorrow. There are plenty of courses in every domain from premium institutes such as IIMs and IITs, where candidates can undertake courses online. Though it is essential to upskill, while selecting a course, evaluate the learning outcome of the programme and check if it aligns with your career goals.

Take ownership

In the new normal, job roles and skills required for professional growth will change even faster than they did prior to the pandemic. Corporations across the board are investing massively in upskilling initiatives — providing employees with knowledge and skills to work in cross-functional teams and encouraging innovative thinking.

These rapid technological advancements have created a gap between what is taught in universities and the knowledge required to secure the right job. It therefore becomes imperative for students to upskill themselves through additional courses and build upon the fundamentals they have already learned. Upskilling is all about investing for one’s own future. Technology is one area where upskilling is popular — with a focus on courses linked to artificial intelligence and machine learning, data science, internet of things, cybersecurity, and digital marketing. In addition, there is growing demand for emerging segments such as e-vehicle technology, 3D printing, renewable energy, and biotechnology.

While some argue how the evolution of technology will replace some jobs, they often overlook the job opportunities that new technologies will create. The change is inevitable, so it’s best we remain open to embrace new ideas and prepare to invest in skills that will secure our future. It's time we proactively identify the need and take the first step towards gaining skills relevant to our respective fields or choice of profession.

(The writer is Senior Director of online learning platform Hughes Global Education.)