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21st century skills – required to succeed in the future

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

Sundar Pichai, Head of Google

Indira Nooyi, Ex-CEO of PepsiCo

Shantanu Narayan, CEO of Adobe Systems

Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo

Ajaypal Banga, President, and CEO of MasterCard

Francisco D’Souza, CEO of Cognizant

Whenever we question our standing in this tech world, we look to examples of Indian CEOs in multinational organizations. These names ensure a sense of pride in every Indian’s heart. However, CEOs of Indian origin only comprise 2% of all CEOs in Fortune 500 companies.

In the last decade, the employability of engineers in India has dropped to 50%. Today engineers do not possess the adequate skill sets required to remain relevant in the ever-growing industry. Firstly, only 4.6% of engineers have any coding expertise. Furthermore, only 4.6% of Indian coders code correctly as compared to 18.8% of their American peers. Even when compared to China, the computing ability of Indians is much lower. As a result, it falls on Indians to do repetitive basic level work in the job market.

All this is happening in the environment where smart machines have begun to take on adaptive low-level, repetitive work. The potential of smart machines in replacing human jobs is limitless! It can be a bank clerk which won't get tired of working 24 hours a day at minimal cost or self-driving cars replacing cab drivers. Global trends clearly indicate that any job that is process-based or rule-based would be better performed by smart machines.

Today the skills that are sought in the upcoming generation are way different than what was required earlier. In the future 21st century, skills such as critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, ability to collaborate with people and communicate well are required to survive and multiply. Qualitative skills such as financial literacy are also important skills to possess from early childhood. Problem-solving is the ability to use one’s creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills to find the most optimal solution to the problem at hand. These skills, if mastered by children, will enable them to never be replaced by a smart machine when they are part of the workforce.

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