Technologically Oriented Skill Development: Reshaping The Future

A large part of skill development today is focused on technology.

With the fast-changing technological landscape and application of technology in almost every sphere of life, there is an ever-increasing demand for people with technology skills. Therefore, a large part of skill development today is focused on technology. 

According to NASSCOM the following digital skills have been identified as emerging skills - Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR), Cyber Security, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Social and Media, Blockchain and 3D Printing. Several other Indian and international organisations too have identified similar sets of skills for the future. 

These technology skills are in addition to some of the core technology skills which have been in focus for several years like Database and Structured Query Language (SQL); Linux; software testing and debugging capabilities; Programming in languages such as Java, Javascript, C++ and Python; DevOps, agile and project management skills; User experience (UX) etc. In fact, many of the emerging digital skills build on the core IT skills. 

Not surprisingly, these technology areas are important for skilling for not just new joiners to the workforce but also for reskilling of in-service employees. 

At another level, not only is skilling oriented to a great extent on technology and digital skills, but also skilling in almost all areas has become increasingly technology-enabled.  Educational Technology (EdTech)- which caters to both education and skill development- has been gaining ground during the last decade. Traditionally, EdTech has largely been focused on learning networks and e-learning segments. However, several new technologies like analytics and AI are emerging, which have the potential to enhance the effectiveness of learning. Similarly, there are other areas that are being targeted by EdTech companies like content curation and predicting learning needs on the basis of assessments. EdTech is also being applied for personalization of learning, gamification, on VR applications in making learning possible especially in knowledge areas where actual situations are difficult to create and on AR for adding to the ease and depth of learning in an actual real-life/ laboratory setting. It is also being used by skill development professionals in making decisions on curriculum, pace of learning, and for designing learning paths using analytics. Another area of focus for EdTech is high-integrity virtual assessments. 

COVID-19 may have further accentuated the predominance of technology skills in skill development probably because the technology sectors were comparatively less affected by the pandemic than the other sectors. Also, technology skills align better with self-learning, remote learning and e-learning methodologies. 

The technology orientation of skill development has several implications. While it contributes to digital transformation in the country and to its global leadership in the technology sector, there needs to be a conscious focus on the population that is on the wrong side of the digital divide. There is also a perception that it may lead to talent shortage - both in terms of quality and quantity for non-technology sectors thereby impacting their growth and productivity. However, technology is a key enabler in almost all industries and therefore talent entering those sectors with technology skills is likely to contribute to the sectors’ growth and productivity.

In summary, ubiquitous technology and technology orientation in skill development is here to stay. The need for skill development programs is to complement the technical skills with necessary domain and industry knowledge as well as soft skills like communication, team working, creativity and innovation, learning-to-learn, critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving. Once this balance is ensured, the skill development eco-system should be able to serve the Indian economy more effectively. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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