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Lifelong learning key to riding waves of digital transformation, say IT industry leaders

Continued learning and skills development is one way Filipino IT practitioners can stay updated, if not ahead of the game, said industry leaders at the recently concluded DevCon Summit 2019 during the discussion on “Preparing for the Jobs of the Future: Igniting Lifelong Learning.”

Photo by Tyler Franta from Unsplash.com

The past decade has seen a huge shift in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, largely because of digitalization and the influx of new technologies. One of the recent strong trends reshaping industries across the world is the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As these exciting new developments and technologies redefine the economic landscape and subsequently the job market, how is the Philippines keeping up?

Continued learning and skills development is one way Filipino IT practitioners can stay updated, if not ahead of the game, said industry leaders at the recently concluded DevCon Summit 2019 during the discussion on “Preparing for the Jobs of the Future: Igniting Lifelong Learning.”

“It’s now all about skills,” said ICTjob.ph Founder and CEO Fred Tshidimba, who shared his insights on the challenges that the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) poses to the country and how we can prepare for them. The panel discussion included Enderun College’s Director of Digital Transformation Colin Christie, EduCredit PH Founder and CEO Vasyl Davydko, QBO Innovation Hub Director Katrina Chan and Mozilla Reps Mentor Robert Reyes, and was moderated by JC Medina, Cignal TV’s Head of Digital Innovations.

4IR, introduced by Professor Klaus Schwab in 2016, promises to connect billions of people and restructure industries all over the world through new technologies such as 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), changing the way we do business forever. Such a massive transformation requires businesses to adapt or risk being left behind.

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Closing the gap

As more companies embrace the new technologies and processes, the jobs of the future will require very different and specific skill sets. the skills the academic sector produces may no longer be up to par.

ICTjob.ph, an online portal specializing in the ICT job market, notes there are 70,000 to 100,000 job openings for graduates of IT and IT-related courses every year. The problem, according to Tshidimba, is that the skills asked for in these job listings are not often matched by local talent.

Tshidimba sees the skills gap persisting and continuing to be a problem but believes lifelong learning can help close the gap.

Industry players at the summit agreed academic institutions need more assistance from the business sector, in particular as regards aligning the quality of education better with the industry. They said that education should not stop at school, and IT practitioners and IT graduates should take advantage of their access to learning materials and resources online to improve their skills and r land their dream job. In the case of IT professionals, continued learning will equip them with new skills that will be useful even after they have landed their dream job.

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Tshidimba shared, “When people come and ask for a salary increase, they say, ‘I’ve been here for two years or five years, I’ve got this kind of tenure.’ But tenure is no longer as significant today. It’s really about the skills, what you can do with the technology.”

He added that ICTjob.ph does more than just connect jobseekers and potential employers. Its skills matrix enables job seekers to keep up with the rising trends in the IT job market so they know what skills they may need to stay on top of their game.

Tshidimba asserted that while many companies in the Philippines still lag in terms of 4IR, the Filipino always thrives by being resilient and savvy. “The culture here is all about relying on one another, on your family or your barkada. We are all one big barkada. We may not know the answer, but we can all find it together.”

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