The year 2018 is on the horizon, and whether you like or not – the 4th industrial revolution is coming for you; bringing with it new opportunities and challenges. Now I will make it clear from the very beginning, this is not a guide on how to write a kick-ass motivation letter or CV that can secure you an international scholarship – there are tons of information on that. This guide is to help you survive the ever-changing rule of building a successful career globally.
To begin with, let’s recall about our education system – what is this all about ??? You start with kindergarten, then elementary school which prepares you for the great moment of junior and senior high school. And if you manage to graduate, congrats.. but hey… the stairs doesn’t end there! Now, you are expected to choose a career path and keep getting up and up to the coveted goal of the university. If you were born and raised on planet earth. big chances your education milestone will go on like this. We have been conditioned by an educational processing system arranged in steps, which supposedly leading to some ultimate success. The million dollar question is, does it? Hohoho.. I invite, no, implore you to check the statistic on how many university graduates (or better yet, the Ph.D.) that manage to get a job on the field that they studied.
Now, once you do the homework in finding the statistic and get the number, we can talk about how to survive the academic inflation in the 4th industrial revolution. We need to break down WHY many bright academics didn’t land a position that they dreamed of since they started climbing the “success” ladder. All the cases certainly cannot be generalized, but there is some pattern which we can learn. The first and foremost is how the law of supply and demand play its role. Decades ago, if you get a degree – you get a job. Now, however, everyone has a degree. Is it a bad thing? Of course not!!! Before, only few can actually read – now even calculating the radius of planet earth is not a big deal for children.
Our society is getting better at upholding one of the human rights – education. The only problem is, the growth of the economy is being outpaced by the number of graduates produced from the ever-increasing number of the university. But if it was the case, how is it possible, that some industry complains they can’t find the right talent to solve their business challenge? Now it’s the other way around. The current education system is too rigid, it cannot adjust its curriculum as fast as the development rate of an industry. You are like an encyclopedia, it takes time to produce one and by the time you are finally printed – some of the knowledge you contain are already obsolete.
Do you see now, what the problem is all about? It’s a devil circle, more and more supply of graduate with “obsolete” knowledge is being produced and it doesn’t match with the current demand of the industry.
BUT, we are not going to talk about idealism – how the education system is supposed to be. Instead, let’s talk about HOW we can get out of this devil’s circle. Obviously, we, generation Y – the millennials, have many options in our path. The most effective way that I personally tried and proven to be successful is not to play by the rule if you think the game is rigged. If you think that following education ladder step by step will only lead you to a rat race, throw away the ladder altogether! Update your radar with the current skill in demand from industry or society, and go get that skill by yourself. Do not wait till your lecturer serve that skill training to you on a silver platter. Instead of following mind-bogging video channel from YouTube, try to invest your time in mastering skills that can make you stand out from the rest – foreign language, for instance.
We now know WHY you cannot just score a 4.0 GPA and expect hiring managers will roll out a red carpet just for you. We also know HOW to not depend on our obsolete education system and hope for a miracle to happen. Now it is time to discuss; WHAT are some examples of the skills in demand to survive the 4th industrial revolution?
I personally like to follow how innovators like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and many others think. And guess what, they often share their foresight for the future – for free! You can do your own search, but since there is still some space on my allocated word limit – I will gladly share one.
I believe that advance data analysis is going to be a must-have skill for the next few years. With the insanely huge amount of data generated by our technology, analyzing it with a spreadsheet could get you an early onset of stress-induced brain degenerative disease. Before, knowing what to click on popular office software might be enough to land you an entry-level job in many fields. Now, you better train yourself to be a ninja in coding regardless of your future field of study. Believe it or not, big pharmaceutical companies now utilize advanced data analysis and simulation to cut the cost of finding new drugs. Getting a 4.0 GPA in the field of chemistry, pharmacy, or chemical engineering degree is awesome – but that’s that. If you can’t tell a machine to do the boring stuff for you, you won’t have enough time to invest your mind and energy in finding a new creative idea.
At this point, I already give you all the crucial info and logic that may make the pursuit of your dream smoother. But you see, as much as I’d like to boast on my ability to analyze the huge amount of data, do a curve fitting, and build a model to predict something – it doesn’t always fit with reality. And that’s ok – that’s life, what’s the fun in living if you know exactly what the future has in store for you? What makes me stand out from my peer group, even in international level, is not my IQ – It is my ability to react and adapt to various kind of situation. Even when things don’t go as planned, I can quickly recover from the shock and prepare a solution to mitigate the change. You should get this skill too.
Finally, let me share with you my little secret how I can study what I want to study and get paid for it. I made an analysis of what subject would be in high demand when I was in high school. Then I chose a bachelor program which could be a stepping stone to what I really want to master. The opportunity came and I manage to secure a nice scholarship. This is luck – when preparation meets opportunity. If you can make a prediction, do some preparation and an opportunity come, then you are lucky. Now, if you just sit idly by, and an opportunity comes but you don’t have the right skill to grab it because you don’t prepare enough, well, luck won’t wait for you.