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A Lifetime Of Learning

Why working professionals are committing themselves to constant learning

Photo Credit : ShutterStock


Knowledge is power

The dynamics of the global business landscape are changing drastically with every new development. Emergent technologies are constantly breaking through the hype to become a firm and fundamental staple of business operations. Data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things – these are but a few technologies which have become so integral today that it is hard to imagine a world without them. That they were considered futuristic barely half a decade ago just goes to show how constant innovation has become a state of being.

In this exciting, rapidly-evolving ecosystem, many professionals find themselves at curious crossroads. Their job roles are constantly being redefined, making it necessary for them to gain expertise in fields that perhaps didn’t even exist when they first started working. But while such never-ending transformation can be daunting at times, it also provides new-age professionals with an unparalleled opportunity: that of lifelong learning.

The need for constant upskilling and reskilling

The concept of continuous learning is not a new one, but one that has been witnessed over and over again. Older coding languages such as BASIC, FORTRAN, and Pascal were replaced by languages such as R and Python. IT professionals had to either equip themselves with these new skills or face the risk of being gradually phased out. Same goes for other professions; the physical ledger system used for generations by accountants was replaced by accounting software, while ERP software became the staple solution for senior business leaders for managing resources and business objectives. Industries such as manufacturing have also witnessed large-scale changes in the way they operate.

Acquiring skills with newer technologies such as data analytics, AI, and machine learning is just the natural progression of this continued business evolution. The only difference is that the speed of such evolution has increased exponentially; while earlier it used to take more than a generation for newer processes to become commonplace, the disruptive impact of technology means that skills which were previously valued become obsolete much quicker. This is what makes it essential for new-age professionals to constantly upgrade their current capabilities with newer skills. Reskilling and upskilling can also unlock better growth opportunities and help them accelerate their career progress, with job profiles such as Chief Data Officer (CDO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) becoming increasingly common.

The financial rewards associated with such skill augmentation are also substantial. For instance, according to a recent industry report, the median salary for analytics professionals in 2018 in India stands at INR 12.7 lakh – a year-on-year increase of around 8percent. The same study also indicated that the percentage of analytics professionals earning upwards of INR 15 lakh has increased from 17 percent in 2016 to 22.3 percent in 2018. These trends are also being witnessed in other emerging fields, such as AI, the blockchain, and machine learning, and are indicative of the burgeoning global demand for professionals equipped with newer skill-sets.

Working while you upskill

With the academia still playing catch-up with the constant innovation that has transformed the business landscape, there is a huge gap between the skills that industry requires and the skills that the future wave of professionals are being trained for. Most working professionals also do not want to put their career trajectory on hold to pursue full-time courses.

This is exactly where leading life-long learning platforms such as Udacity step into the picture to provide a feasible alternative to traditional learning. These platforms enable professionals to access and get trained in newer skill-sets at their convenience through industry-oriented programmes spearheaded by world-class faculty. Since the extensive and curated course material is made available online for enrolled learners, along with additional resources, professionals also have the option of resuming their learning at any time, from any place.

Such self-paced learning enables professionals to upgrade their skill-sets without compromising on their career growth. It also empowers them with the option of upskilling themselves whenever the requirement for a new skill emerges. This ready access to better skills allows jobseekers in the technological age to map their career progress more accurately, as well as benefit from better job and learning opportunities that such constant upskilling unlocks.

Constant, iterative changes are the new normal for the business domain, and new-age professionals need to align themselves to this paradigm. Those who are ready to upskill themselves at regular intervals are the ones who will thrive in the future job market, while those that don’t will gradually find it challenging to even survive.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Ishan Gupta

The author MD - India, Udacity

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