New digital platforms are enabling students to pursue online learning, entrepreneurs to engage in e-commerce, and workers to earn income through online freelancing and micro-work
When asked what digital literacy is and why it matters, Anand Jain, Head of Information Technology Services at Deepak Group Co., in an exclusive interview with CIO News, said, “Digital literacy is the ability to navigate our digital world using reading, writing, technical skills, and critical thinking.” It’s using technology—like a smartphone, PC, e-reader, and more—to find, evaluate, and communicate information.
Digital literacy can play a powerful role in helping people connect, learn, engage with their community, and create more promising futures. Simply reading articles online does not address digital literacy, so it is important for everyone to understand the variety of content and possibilities that are accessible online. Digital literacy can help individuals gain the digital skills necessary to engage in a digital economy, improve the livelihoods of people, and help with day-to-day issues.
When asked about his views as an IT leader on digitally up-skilling the youth in the post-COVID era, he said, “New digital platforms are enabling students to pursue online learning, entrepreneurs to engage in e-commerce, and workers to earn income through online freelancing and micro-work.” These remote opportunities are particularly beneficial for young women and other vulnerable youth who have been disproportionately affected by the crisis.
Governments and businesses are now increasing their investments in digital skills development to ensure that youth can leverage online education and employment opportunities.
Technology has been a great enabler for societies during the pandemic. It has been used to sustain most, if not all facets of life, including education, remote work, and even virtual meetings and virtual parties for relaxation. The post-COVID-19 era will see an increased reliance and realisation of the importance of technology in our day-to-day lives. Tech will take on a heightened role as the “enabler”. I would like to see it being used to reach more vulnerable groups, such as utilising drones to deliver food and healthcare products to remote areas.
When asked how the youth can be digitally empowered and what kind of exposure and engagement opportunities in the educational curriculum can educational institutes implement to raise the interest of youths to up-scale their digital skills, he said, “Digital literacy means empowering people with various technologies to think more creatively and easily learn to participate actively and successfully in their job role by using the existing and upcoming digital tools and devices.” The acquisition of digital skills, from basic to advanced, is a journey that should start from home and continue through their education, always up-skilling from primary to further or tertiary education.
As young people prepare for the workforce, they should continually expand their knowledge of emerging technologies. This will help future employers consider them as being easier to train and re-skill throughout their employment. Digital literacy policies and initiatives all have the aim of bridging the gap between digital skills in student life and the industry of today.
When asked if it should become a must for schools, colleges, and other educational institutes to conduct workshops or crash-courses programmes to drive the importance of technology for businesses, he said, “Of course, it is important for educational institutes to conduct workshops or crash-courses programmes to drive the importance of technology for businesses.” Apart from these educational institutions, there are many other professional online platforms and courses available to drive these initiatives.
When asked about his advice as an IT leader 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 that jobs in the tech industry are expected to grow exponentially in the next few years. All companies, in one way or another, need to transform to keep up with the future of work. If you are planning to enter the job market soon, you may be considering one of the many opportunities in this field.
You need to be open to continuously learning. When you work in tech, you have to be comfortable with this: Your expertise may become obsolete in a couple of years. You also have to be ready to jump into the next significant shift. If you’re not interested in continuous learning or think exams are part of your past, then this is not the right path for you. But if you are like me, excited about the role you will play in building the future, tech is for you.
Another important aspect to consider is that it is fast-paced and offers substantial rewards. While constant change may feel exhausting to some, others find it exhilarating. The fast pace of a career track in tech means more opportunities for upward mobility. Recent graduates who take an entry-level role at a big tech corporation will likely see quick growth in the short term. In this industry, an internship may very well lead to a permanent job. Companies want to retain the people they’ve invested in training as well as compete to attract new talent.
You don’t need to be a “techie” to work in tech. Technology is a broad term. Many jobs require technical expertise, but that doesn’t always equate to what you may imagine: an engineer hunched over a desk coding the next big app. The roles available in tech vary from company to company, and contrary to the myth, you need soft skills — communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and flexibility — to do them well.
I would divide the majority of tech roles into these categories:
- System managers, analysts, administrators: They operate the IT systems and ensure that they comply with the company’s business goals.
- Data scientists and researchers: They use their technical knowledge to find answers to problems and are critical to innovation and progress.
- Programmers and developers: They build applications or solutions for their own company or another one, and have frequent interaction with business stakeholders to gather feedback.
- IT support: They assist and solve problems for internal and external customers and see the impact of their job each day.
- Customer-facing technical roles: They are the customer’s trusted advisors, such as customer engineers, solutions architects, or customer success managers. They understand the pros and cons of technology solutions and help customers solve business problems.
- Evangelists: They are technical-savvy influencers who spread their knowledge to a big audience through different channels, like at conferences or on YouTube. They inspire and enable others.
He highlighted, “As the world is moving towards digitalisation, it is important to focus on youth digital empowerment that will create a better world where technology will play a key role in improving the livelihoods of people.”
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