With evolving digital technologies, products and services are being re-imagined. Hence, there is a need to learn and unlearn. Years back, text chats were popular; now there is a shift towards voice-enabled services. We need to adapt to this fast-changing landscape
When asked what digital literacy is and why it matters, Mangesh Baitule, Head of Information Technology and Digital at Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises PTE. LTD, in an exclusive interview with CIO News, said:
- To me, digital literacy is the effective use of digital assets to empower oneself and others.
- India is the second country in the world in terms of smartphone users after China. With technology advancements like 5G, the number of users in India will further increase, and the majority of them will be young.
- In today’s world, digital is challenging everything. Youths are the future of this country. For them, educational empowerment, building financial literacy, and addressing socio-political challenges are important issues. The use of digital platforms efficiently and responsibly to address the above challenges is extremely critical.
When asked about his views on digitally up-skilling the youth in the post-COVID era, he said:
- There is no denying that digital has accelerated in the post-COVID era, particularly with regard to attending online classes via platforms such as Zoom and working from home with office colleagues via online collaborative platforms that have delivered significant value. Political and industry leaders are batting for hybrid ways of working, which means these technologies and platforms, will further grow in the future.
- Because of the availability and use of multiple digital platforms in the pre-Covid era, such as OLA, Uber, Amazon, Unacademy, Paytm, and others, today’s youth have embraced this new normal.
- With evolving digital technologies, products and services are being re-imagined. Hence, there is a need to learn and unlearn. Years back, text chats were popular; now there is a shift towards voice-enabled services. We need to adapt to this fast-changing landscape.
When asked how the youth can be digitally empowered and what kind of exposure and engagement opportunities in the educational curriculum educational institutes can implement to raise the interest of youths to up-scale their digital skills, he said:
- I strongly believe that a few fundamental digital skills, such as digital marketing, cloud computing, data and analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain, web3, agile project management, and so on, should be taught in schools. These skills are critical for building a digital first mindset.
- Building digital labs or sandboxes for students can provide them with great opportunity and confidence in developing digital skills.
When asked if it should become a must for schools, colleges, and other educational institutes to conduct workshops or crash-course programmes to drive the importance of technology for businesses, he said:
- Education institutes need to contribute heavily to up-scaling digital competencies. They must develop hybrid, easy-to-learn learning models using online courses and physical classes to build digital skills amongst youth.
- They should also provide hands-on experience to students by conducting digital hackathons and providing internship programmes to students, especially with digital-first industries.
When asked about his advice for youth considering their career in the technology industry, what they should know about the industry before starting their career, what challenges they could face and how they could overcome the challenges, he said:
- Today, no industry can survive without technology. If you have a target industry sector in mind in which you want to build a career, start by understanding the strategic priorities, innovation, and technology that are critical to that industry sector. For example, because of customer hyper-personalization, the use of big data and AI/ML is critical in retail. In manufacturing, to improve process efficiency, Industry 4.0 solutions are a must.
- Two specific challenges I could see – the ocean of available information and finding the right set of advisors.
- Extracting useful information and locating the right content is a big challenge. This can be partly addressed by collaborating amongst peers, picking up common tech themes, user reviews on articles, popular online certifications, and actively participating in digital events.
- In today’s digital world, knowledge is highly distributed. Hence, the concept of mentorship is diluted. Youth must focus on building an ecosystem of advisors within and outside their organisational boundaries and colleges, who can provide them with expert advice on industry nuances and relevant digital competencies.
He highlighted, “Embrace digital, this is not optional.”
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