Continuous Learning for Developing Talent in a Digital World
Emerging technologies like automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have dramatically changed the skills needed within the technology industry over the past decade. On one hand, these technologies are making certain jobs obsolete, sparking unemployment fears. On the other, they are creating new opportunities requiring specialised skills that are in short supply.
According to the Australian Computer Society (ACS)1, an additional 200,000 technology workers will be needed if Australia is to become a world leader in the digital economy in the next five years. With advances in technology rapidly driving the need for more specialised skills, this gap isn’t going to reduce unless there is a drastic shift in the way we approach digital skills. Building a culture of continuous learning will be key to ensuring the workforce remains relevant. The future growth of Australia’s technology sector cannot happen unless people in all stages of their career, from a fresh intern to a highly-skilled architect or a well-experienced business leader, are constantly reskilling and/or upskilling to ensure their skills match industry demands.
What we classify as ‘digital skills’ has changed over the years. From being as narrow as programming or coding, the skills in demand today are a mix of technical and creative capabilities. We are realising, as an industry, that digital means much more than technical.
Digital skills have historically been dependent on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, however, with emerging technologies there is now a need to include liberal arts and design as key areas of talent. The technologies and solutions we develop for our clients are built to solve business problems. We need to create unique business models that are disruptive, but still human-centric, so an understanding of human behaviour, society, and culture is key. With focus on a human-centric, data-driven methodology, digital has evolved beyond technical roles, opening avenues for talent with a range of skills and academic backgrounds. This ensures a more holistic approach to identifying and solving business problems.
Academia and theory provide a strong foundation and basis for digital skills but learning by doing is key to ensuring that talent is job-ready. Participating in experiential learning programs provides an opportunity for the practical application of skills, with people collaborating to solve problems. For students in both high school and university, my advice is to be involved in as many experiential learning programs as you can. From hackathons, to internships, there is such a wide range of opportunities available. The Infosys InStep internship program is one such platform. We accept 140 interns globally, with 30 students from Australia and New Zealand alone, to work on projects across business units and business enabling functions.
So what should you look for in a workplace?
Find a workplace with a culture that supports employees, at all stages of their careers, to upskill and reskill – continuously and on-demand. When we say on-demand, we mean opportunities to learn across a range of platforms, formats and times. We are no longer bound to learning in a classroom, we can now learn on our mobile phones while we are on the move, travelling to and from work. Our always-on learning culture has led to the development of our on-demand learning platform, LEX. Our staff is enabled by ‘always-on’ learning using a platform available anytime, anywhere, and on any-device. The content and programs are constantly updated, supporting our staff to learn, based on their interests, role, and skill set. It’s this type of learning that enables employees to proactively further their own skills with their career growth in mind.
The culture of a workplace should be to celebrate people’s efforts and provide room for failure. There is no better way to learn than by trying, failing, and trying again. This is an ethos we strongly believe in. We recently announced our commitment to hire 1,200 people in Australia and also plans to develop three technology and innovation hubs. We are investing in local talent, and through our hubs, we’ll be giving our staff, opportunities to get involved in new projects to practice and enhance their skills and capabilities, take risks and improve from the lessons learnt.
Irrespective of the stage of your career, the opportunities available to you as technology continues to advance are immense. Use these opportunities, and proactively look for projects to upskill and reskill, with the support of the right workplace environment.