Meet Anjali, a curious and imaginative student of a college and IBM Skillsbuild. She was known among friends for always coming up with innovative solutions to everyday problems. One day, a hackathon was announced at her college as part of the annual Tech Fest, and the theme of the hackathon that was part of the fest was “Technologies for a Sustainable World.” Students were excited but also felt a bit overwhelmed by the challenge.
Anjali, however, saw this as an opportunity to showcase both analytical and creative thinking. She decided to create a project that blended technology, sustainability, and creativity. The idea was to develop a smart gardening system that used AI to monitor plant health and adjust water and nutrients accordingly.
With determination, Anjali started researching AI and machine learning from the IBM Skillsbuild platform. The more she learned, the more exciting the project became. But there were challenges along the way. Debugging the code was like solving a puzzle, requiring both analytical thinking to identify the issues and creative thinking to devise solutions.
As the final presentation of the hackathon approached, she faced a minor setback when the system’s sensors stopped functioning correctly. With the every passing minute, Anjali had to brainstorm and quickly find a fix. She combined analytical and creative thinking with her knowledge of AI and ML and the result was a unique solution that involved recalibrating the sensors and using recycled materials to enhance the system’s sustainability.
On the day of the presentation, Anjali’s smart gardening system stood out as a shining example of innovative thinking. The judges were impressed not only by the technology but also by the creative problem-solving approach. Her project won the top prize, and it wasn’t just a victory for her—it was a celebration of the power of analytical and creative thinking with technology working hand in hand.
This story of Anjali can be a shining story of every student in the country who combines technological skills with analytical and creative thinking to solve real world problems. It increases the employability of a student also. So how should one go about it.
- Understand the job market and choose what you would like to work on- The recent future of jobs report 2023 suggests that the fastest-growing roles relative to their size today are driven by technology, digitalization and sustainability. AI and Machine Learning Specialists top the list of fast-growing jobs, followed by Sustainability Specialists, Business Intelligence Analysts and Information Security Analysts. Big data analytics, climate change and environmental management technologies, and encryption and cybersecurity are expected to be the biggest drivers of job growth. Agriculture technologies, digital platforms and apps, e-commerce and digital trade, and AI are all expected to result in significant labour-market disruption. Making. Choice of the right job for you helps take the right next steps towards it.
- Identify skills that may be needed for jobs of the next decade is just the beginning but you know what they say – ‘well begun is half done’. As per the future of jobs 2023 report, Analytical thinking and creative thinking remain the most important skills for workers in 2023.
- The highest priority for skills training from 2023-2027 is analytical thinking.
- The second priority for workforce development is to promote creative thinking.
- Training workers to utilize AI and big data ranks third among company skills-training priorities in the next five years.
Creative thinking is divergent, starting from the description of the problem and diverging to give many ideas for solving it, or possible answers to it. Analytical thinking is convergent, narrowing down to unique answers or a small number of ideas which can be further analyzed and implemented. In effect, analytical thinking produces solutions and creative thinking produces ideas. These skills when combined with technologies that are set to grow, create an amazing combination of skills for success.
- Upskill – Upskilling on skills needs to begin at an undergraduate level. The New Education Policy of India envisions a holistic and integrated education approach, focusing on skill development, multi-disciplinary learning, and promoting creativity and critical thinking. It also emphasizes using technology and digital resources to enhance the learning experience. Rightly so it focusses on the job roles that are expected to grow in the near future. Platforms such as the IBM Skillsbuild are designed to provide the right depth and flavour of technology for a student of any discipline to upskills easily.
- Adopt a progressive approach towards learning – A future-oriented education must start with a strong foundation in emerging technologies and general skills, and then progress towards more specialized skills. This progression is essential to ensure that students are prepared for the job market and can adapt to its changing demands.
In conclusion, a future-oriented education must take into account emerging trends and shifts in the labor market. It must incorporate emerging technologies and general skills, progress towards more specialized skills, and prepare students for the job market. A collaboration between academia and industry is crucial to ensure that students have access to the necessary resources and skills to succeed in the job market. As Jim Rohn rightly said ‘Don’t bring your need to the marketplace, bring your skill.’
-By Mona Bharadwaj, CSR Academia – India Leader at IBM Research