Digital literacy can play a powerful role in helping people connect, learn, engage with their community, and create more promising futures
This is an exclusive interview conducted by the Editor Team of CIO News with Ahmad ElGhazouly, Information Systems & Technology / Information Security Manager at PGESCo
What is digital literacy, and why does it matter?
Digital literacy is defined as dealing with digital content in various forms and for various uses—whether reading, writing, or using—all the way up to technical skills and critical thinking. Simply reading articles online does not address digital literacy. The most important thing at the end is being able to find, evaluate, and communicate information in a digital format using different digital technology platforms. Digital literacy can play a powerful role in helping people connect, learn, engage with their community, and create more promising futures.
As an IT leader, what are your views on digitally upskilling the youth in the post-COVID era?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has defined a new norm for doing business; what was hard to achieve has become the norm (ex., remote working, distance learning), and the pandemic has disrupted livelihoods for millions of people worldwide.
Education and training are not an exception; today, different educational digital platforms exist and are becoming more reliable and mature. The new technologies provide new opportunities for entrepreneurs to engage in e-commerce, and freelancing has become a big part of today’s business norm. These new opportunities are specifically beneficial for young people.
How can the youth be digitally empowered? What kind of exposure and engagement opportunities in the educational curriculum can educational institutes implement to raise the interest of youths in upgrading their digital skills?
Digital technology has become integrated into the classroom and learning environment, especially after COVID-19. As said, this has enhanced the learning experience of willing individuals, and young people are no exception. Digital technologies such as collaboration platforms, smart boards, virtual reality, and even 3D printers are now incorporated into educational tutorials and lessons to boost and engage students in the learning process and also to make academic instruction more meaningful. In addition to remote learning during the COIVD lockdown, communication and collaboration platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have been very significant in getting over the impact of physically attending the classes.
Our future will depend on many of today’s emerging technologies, and in the years to come, technological skills will be more valuable in the workplace. Tech jobs are here today, and there will be even more advanced tech jobs in the future. Who’s going to be best equipped to fill those positions? The one who starts learning now.
Even most notably, games on devices help improve reasoning and problem-solving skills, and the players are encouraged to come up with their own problem-solving solutions when facing real-life issues such as school homework, disagreements with friends, or personal hardship, as well as technology-based obstacles.
Should it become a must for schools, colleges, and other educational institutes to conduct workshops or crash-course programmes to drive home the importance of technology for businesses?
Educational institutes should be sensitive to market needs by preparing our youth to be ready with the right tool set and skills that are important to today’s business needs. Supporting the market with the right technological skills is a must, and this will provide a competitive edge to the school itself. Technology know-how and skills should be applied by embedding technology concepts in traditional educational content as well as providing courses and simulators for real-world problems.
As an IT leader, what advice would you give to the youth considering a career in the technology industry? What should they know about the industry before starting their career? What obstacles might they face, and how will they overcome them?
Today, the baseline for minimum requirements and expectations from young people has increased; now you see fresh graduates holding professional certifications in addition to the basic certification from their school. Some pillar skills are required and expected of fresh graduates, such as basic network management knowledge, programming skills, data manipulation and presentation, and various cloud knowledge. The most difficult challenge is the diversity of fields and studies that young people are willing to learn. My recommendation is to begin with the previously mentioned basic skills, and over time and with hands-on experience, the young people will know better where their passion is, and this is when they begin to be specialists.
Any other points you would like to highlight?
My final piece of advice is to stay aware of and aligned with changes in the technology spectrum by joining online groups and technology communities, attending conferences and webinars, staying current with new technology trends, and always combining knowledge with professional certifications.
CIO News, a proprietary of Mercadeo, produces award-winning content and resources for IT leaders across any industry through print articles and recorded video interviews on topics in the technology sector such as Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud, Robotics, Cyber-security, Data, Analytics, SOC, SASE, among other technology topics