Digital innovation is rapidly altering workforce structures, creating new types of jobs. The future will see man and machines working side by side which will alter job structures further. The workforce will need a combination of new technology and human skills such as critical thinking, empathy, and judgement skills. Students today should be investing in developing their skills for high growth technology areas such as Cloud, Data, AI, IoT or Extended Reality. Beyond that, they need to build their intellectual curiosity and create an agile learning mindset so that they can continuously upskill themselves as new needs emerge.
What are the skills that will be needed for IT professionals in 2021?
We are already seeing the need for Cloud professionals and this will continue with a focus on skills in areas such as migration, deployment and maintenance across multi-cloud environments. Similarly, Data and AI skills are also required with Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Virtual Agents, Computer Vision, Data Visualization is becoming important. An additional requirement is security skills to support the rapid pace of cloud deployments, cybersecurity services, cyber defence services and managed security operations. Beyond technology prowess, it is also important to develop a deep understanding of how these technologies apply to the unique demand of industries. The emergence of remote working has increased the need for effective virtual communicators and collaborators to converse impactfully.
Indian students are famously into textbook learning with enormous theoretical knowledge. Do they need to have more focus on the practical approach?
Students need to understand that the end of their term at college does not mean the end of their education. They need to make upskilling a focus throughout their career. The internet has democratized learning and we need application-oriented education through massive open online courses in an ongoing manner. They also need to push themselves to take risks and experiment with new technologies and application areas, as thinking out of the box will be a competitive differentiator.
Several IT companies are investing in upskilling their existing workforce. Can you explain Accenture’s plan?
As a talent-and innovation-led organization, we are continuously investing in our workforce. We invest nearly USD 1 billion every year globally in the learning and development of our people, and the centrepiece of this investment is Accenture Connected Learning, which enables us to deliver highly personalized, continuous learning, anywhere and anytime. It curates the best content available on any given topic and delivers it via modular formats through a combination of virtual, video-based and traditional classroom training.
How can individuals stay adaptive to future requirements/disruptions?
There are three key attributes we must cultivate to take advantage of the numerous opportunities brought about by disruption. Firstly, be a continuous learner so you can apply that learning effectively to prevail even in unfamiliar situations. Secondly, be self-motivated to seek out cross-functional opportunities and enthusiastically participate when given the chance. This demonstrates your ability to adapt quickly and take on new tasks. Thirdly, leverage the availability of high-quality learning resources to align your learning to fulfil your aspirations and that of your organization.