Home Expert How to train future professionals for the challenges of the digital age?

How to train future professionals for the challenges of the digital age?

30th August 2016 0 comment

No doubt, digitalisation will change almost everything we do in the future. Life is supposed to become easier, as many routines, currently requiring manual work, disappear. Those tasks will be performed by intelligent machines in digital space. This will also mean cost savings and the opportunity for companies to focus on more productive and creative tasks.

At the same time, life will become more complex and demanding, because familiar jobs and structures will disappear and force us to face totally new challenges and learn new skills. Even we, as teachers, do not know exactly, what those challenges are. Rather than providing ready-made solutions, we should possibly advise the students to acquire necessary resources to face the challenges and fight the “dragons” they possibly meet during their journey to the unknown future.

Collective wisdom is needed

Because of uncertainty, collective wisdom apparently works better than conventional wisdom. Teachers can’t master all necessary skills alone, but need to trust on networks of teachers from different disciplines, e.g. technology, business and solutions. In addition, learning methods should become more collaborative and more established to use real-time information.

This spring we had an excellent opportunity to test one approach, targeted to software architect students. It was a “joint venture” by teachers from three TAMK degree programmes, including ICT Engineering, Business Information Systems and International Business.

The role of International Business teachers was to elaborate business aspects of digitalisation, whereas teachers from other departments taught solutions and technologies. The focus was on industrial internet, which means the industrial viewpoint to the digitalisation and Internet of Things (IoT).

Combining technical skills and business knowledge

In addition to the technical skills, future IoT professionals need to also understand business issues, because digitalisation has such a strong impact on both technology and business. Focusing solely on technical skills may make sense for some advanced professionals in big companies, who can afford it.

In addition to technical challenges, small firms may also struggle with disruptions in their operating environment and undergo fundamental changes in their business. Understanding that small firms will be important employers in the future, it is important to supply new IoT software architects with appropriate business understanding, too.

Considering the training of future professionals and digitalisation in a more generic framework, more collaboration will be required in the future between teachers from different fields. In this way, we can supply the students with appropriate skills for their future working life.

Matti Karlsson
Lecturer in the Degree Programme in International Business

PHOTO: JOEL FORSMAN

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