Skills and Jobs part 2

We are currently at the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. If we look back at the first three revolutions, we will see that each revolution caused a massive change in society. But in this fourth, we will see unprecedented changes beyond anyone’s imagination. The most profound change is the speed of change and the disruption it causes. In the past, changes happened at a slower pace, it took several years for people to felt the impact but in this revolution, it only takes a few months, and many things can be turned upside down.

Today, people are beginning to see automation replaces human in many industries. The manual labors are the first casualty of robots but soon office workers will also be replaced by “smart software” too. These changes will create a big challenge to many countries as their leaders will have to deal with an unprecedented economic disruption and upheaval as the pace of change is accelerating. Currently, there is a “war” going on that many people do not pay attention: “The war for talents” where some countries are taking the best and the brightest workers from another. This competition for the skilled workers is fierce. But these “skills” are different from a few years ago. Many of the skills are so new, they are NOT taught at universities or even unknown to most people.

Image: Internet

A recent industrial report indicated that over 60 percent of companies could not find people with the right skills even the number of unemployed college graduates is still increasing. Today the job growth is outpacing the ability of the education system to develop a skilled workforce, making it more critical than ever for students to learn these skills on their own instead of waiting for the school to teach them. To succeed in this fourth Industrial revolution, students must constantly read about technology changes so they know what skills that they will need and build competencies that go beyond what has been taught in the classroom. They must actively learn from multiple sources such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Technical websites, Online tutorials, etc. Besides technical skills, they need to develop soft-skills such as problem-solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation.

Although today many students have a laptop, smartphone and are able to access the Internet the question is how many of them are taking advantage of the online training? And how many of them are wasting their time on trivial things from Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and WeChat? How many students can distinguish valuable information from the vast amount of these “digital distractions?” How many students use the Internet for entertainment instead of learning something useful for their career?


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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