Digital technologies can be a double-edged sword, says Vishal Sharma, VP Technology at AGNITY Inc.

Digital technologies can be a double-edged sword, says Vishal Sharma, VP Technology at AGNITY Inc.
Digital technologies can be a double-edged sword, says Vishal Sharma, VP Technology at AGNITY Inc.

Digital technologies are evolving at a stupendous pace

This is an exclusive interview conducted by the Editor Team of CIO News with Vishal Sharma, VP Technology at AGNITY Inc.

What is digital literacy, and why does it matter?

Digital literacy is sufficient proficiency in digital tools and technologies for effective gathering, analysis, and dissemination of information. In today’s world, a significant part of our lives is spent online. The inability to gainfully utilise digital resources is an impediment to personal progress. Hence, it is imperative for everyone to have sufficient digital skills.

As an IT leader, what are your views on digitally upskilling the youth in the post-COVID era?

COVID lockdowns and the ensuing distancing precautions have underlined the importance of online infrastructure and digital literacy in a tightly connected world. It is no longer just a Plan B for in-person interactions. The COVID era has also shown us the magnitude of efficiency that digitalization may bring to many aspects of everyday life. Many leaders who were on the fence about the digital world have been triggered. In this digital-first world, digital upskilling is not optional; it is a survival skill, apart from being a mass employment generator for the coming decades.

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 literacy needs to start at an early age, as children are being exposed to smartphones and other smart devices even before they start school. In my opinion, the focus should be on empowering children with tools that can fuel their desire to learn on their own. Tools that can enhance rational thinking and empathy can aid in overall personality development. The prevalence of smartphones, even in the remotest parts of the country, can be leveraged to create tools suited to this format with the objective of making digital literacy a fun process. It is very important to teach children early on about safe cyber practises to avoid exploitation by unscrupulous elements. Digital devices should be integrated into everyday routines without degrading the overall quality of life. For this reason, digital hygiene should be a part of the curriculum as well, to emphasise the importance of a balance between the online and offline worlds and to avoid the problem of digital addiction.

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?

In today’s world, basic knowledge of digital technology is as important as learning to read and write. However, unlike reading and writing, digital technology is evolving at a very fast pace. So it would be imperative to refresh students with the latest tools and best practises at every stage of their educational journey.

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 challenges they could face in and how do they overcome the challenges?

Digital technologies are evolving at a stupendous pace. New fields are added on a regular basis, and existing technology areas are integrated. However, in the end, digital technologies are just powerful tools. Understanding the spectrum at a high level and seeking guidance from technology leaders can help in the identification of some areas that one may want to explore further as a career. Due to the sheer volume and variations, digital technologies may seem overwhelming. My advice will be to remain curious, ask questions without hesitation, and not be afraid to put forth any new ideas that one may generate.

Any other points you would like to highlight?

Like everything else in life, digital technologies can be a double-edged sword. It is important to make it your well-wishing friend and not become a slave to this omniscient, very addictive master.

Also readTechnology can impact the core business outcomes of revenue, profit, and risk

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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