On World Youth Skills Day, A Time to Reflect on Tech Talent
It’s fair to say that as far as the technological landscape is concerned, we are living in a time of great change.
The telecommunications sector is constantly evolving, subject to emerging trends such as digital transformation, Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, smart city services and of course, the impending introduction of 5G technology on a wide scale. Being on the front-lines of technology at Sigma Systems, we see these changes on a daily basis.
This calls for a fundamental change in the way we train and educate our youth to become the business and technology leaders of tomorrow.
With today being UN World Youth Skills Day, I wanted to reflect on what I’ve been seeing in the industry over the years, and where I feel we need to go, to ensure that our children are prepared to take up the reins after us. Now more than ever, the need for myriad skills and multi-faceted tech professionals to steer organizations during this era of flux has become greater than ever. While opportunities in the technology and STEM fields will be in higher demand in the years to come, as leaders within the telecommunications industry, we need to take a step back and look at how emerging talent is being honed and prepared for the future.
Where once coding and programming ruled supreme, soft skills, emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication have now come to the fore. It is not enough to teach our children how to code and program anymore, in line with the traditional perceptions of what an engineer or a developer should be. Creating well-rounded individuals and leaders calls for a holistic approach to educating and training them – and this should start at a formative stage of their lives.
Being technically competent is critical, of course. However, the youth of today must also become acquainted with the value of working in intercultural teams, situational awareness, effective communication, as well as the ethical implications of the technology which they will be harnessing and eventually become custodians of. If we’re talking about equipping our children with the right skills for their profession, then this must include prioritizing soft skills in equal measure.
Of course, a collective strategy, encompassing the government, academic institutions and private-sector companies, is required to address this issue. As a start, we can instill these lessons in our children at home. I’ll admit, it’s always exciting for me to see someone sign up for a computer science course or embark on their technology journey for the very first time. I’m proud to say that at Sigma Systems, we ensure that our employees are given every chance for holistic growth, on both the professional and personal levels. I truly believe that the future will belong to those who can work collaboratively, lead from the front and communicate a strategic vision, as much as having the technical ability to create the next big app.
Senior Vice President of Engineering