Lifelong learners part 2

If we look at the current global economy, we can see that technologies are disrupting almost everything. As more global companies are investing in these technologies, they will need a lot of technical people to help them to stay competitive. So at this time and the near future, the best subject for students to study is technologies. The highest demand skills of today and tomorrow are Robotics, Artificial intelligence, Data Science, Machine learning, and Cloud Computing. All over the world and across industries, companies will hire million technical workers who specialize in these technologies. The question is where do they find enough of them?

In this technology-driven market, skilled workers are the most critical element for the company to succeed but there is not enough of them so the competition for skilled workers is becoming a “war” among companies. Have you ever asking why some graduates receive several jobs offers when others could not even find a job? Today students should not be passive on their future and relying on having a college degree to get a job. They must be more active to find the right subjects and develop their skills that have a high demand. The problem is most universities could not catch up fast enough to meet the new demand so students should stay current by reading more and learn as much as they can from multiple sources such as the Internet, Online tutorials, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Today top companies such as Google, Facebook, IBM etc, already hired people with or without a degree, as long as they have the skills that they need.

For people who already have a job, they will need to do the same to keep up their skills to stay relevant else they may not be able to keep their job for long. A few weeks ago, a graduate who worked in Silicon Valley complained: “It is frustrated to keep learning a new thing all the time. It creates a lot of pressure for me and my family.” I told him: “You have a good job with high salary and working at a top company where many people dream of getting what you have. If you cannot take the pressure, find another job.” He said: “But they do not pay much.” I explained: “You cannot have an easy job with a high salary. There is a price that you must pay, either continue to learn and keep your job or be lazy and worry that you may not be able to keep your job for long.” I think all students need to recognize that we are living in a technology-driven market where technology change very fast unless they develop a lifelong learning habit, they will not be successful.

For people who just start working, they should focus on getting more adept at what they already know because the working environment is competitive. They should focus on learning more and do not let complacency sets in and affect their performance. What they have learned in school is only the basics, if they are content of what they know and staying in the same spot, they will be at risk. They should continue to expand their skills to a specific level to stay competitive. They should learn and acquire new skills to advance their career and grab every opportunity to add value to their career. To stay ahead of others, they should invest in online courses and obtain additional certifications in new technologies that will add value to their careers.

The world of next-generation belongs to those who continue to learn and never feel comfortable with what they know. I always advise my students to always keep an open mind to learn new things that create more value for their company and themselves. To do that all must learn to be lifelong learners because only they can survive in this era of technology changing.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University
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