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Education: Keeping up with the job market changes

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Ask anyone 10 years ago if they knew what a social media strategist, data analyst or UI/UX designer does as part of their job scope, and you’d probably be met with a blank look. While such jobs didn’t exist back then, these – and many others – now form an essential part of various industries in the workforce.

For example, a social media strategist plans and executes various strategies across various platforms; a data analyst examines large amounts of information in order to obtain understandings of certain trends; and a UI/UX designer is the one who creates the look, feel and overall experience of a website or application.

As technology continues to develop, evolve and disrupt, the skills that are now required to carry out specialised jobs and tasks now differ more than ever from that of the simpler past. According to LinkedIn, the top skills that are highly sought after by hiring managers on their 2017 list of top 50 companies run the gamut from management (project management, business development) and sales, to ICT (Java development, web programming) and social media, and even statistical analysis. This list would have differed greatly from a time when social media had not yet existed, and when mobile phones had not yet taken on the multifaceted and multi-tasking role it does today.  

Education: Keeping up with the trends

With such emerging sectors and job scopes becoming a part of the norm, the education field has to also move with the times and ensure that the courses or modules they provide reflect the trends in the ever-changing job market. This is to ensure that they are able to equip students with the relevant skills needed when they specialise in a particular role in the future, and to be able to meet the needs of their future workplace. 

In Singapore, this shift has been recognised by the Ministry of Education (MOE), which has pledged to ‘expand its offerings of short courses to deepen workers’ skills… in eight “priority and emerging” sectors that would benefit the economy’, such as digital media, data analytics, cyber security and finance and tech-enabled services.

What matters more now: the prestige or the practical skills?

While the existing education system continues to focus greatly on the ‘prestige’ of acquiring a tertiary-certified qualification, genuine emphasis should be on the practical skills students can gain and apply to the 21st century workforce.  To be truly able to keep up with rapidly evolving trends and to develop talents for jobs that have yet to be created, there is a need to rethink the approach to education and allow for students to be better equipped for the future. 

Trends in the education sector show that ICT and digital-related modules are highly in demand – as such, it’s never been more crucial than now to keep with the times and stay relevant. Consider partnering with us to provide such modules at your educational institution. Find out more here: icdlasia.org