“With the advent of artificial intelligence and robotics, the landscape of science and technology is changing at a breakneck pace. And the only way to keep ourselves relevant in this era is to update ourselves with technological advancement, else we easily can become obsolete and so can our skills,” mentioned Sita Karki, Earth Observation Computational Scientist at ICHEC at The Rising 2020.
In this session, “Are you updated with the changes?” Sita Karki stated the importance of upskilling ourselves and keeping ourselves updated in this dynamic landscape. She started with her personal goal of working as a remote sensing scientist, however with the advancement in the era, things have changed, and now environmental scientists are working with terabytes of data and re-learning new things from collaborators and colleagues.
Stating the importance of upskilling Sita further explained a few fundamental changes that the industry has seen over the years — sharing and collaboration is one of the critical.
Sharing & Collaboration
In earlier days, researchers used to work alone on their desk without much talking to other people and teams in the organisation, however over the years things have changed — people rely more on collaboration these days. “The older kind of science is no more relevant these days. Most of the research we do currently is a collaboration and working with other people, not just within one country but across the world.”
She further explained that how collaboration is never a part of academic studies and no school and colleges teach the art of collaboration to their students, however “in the workforce, we are collaborating with all the other people of different disciplines. So for example, even in our ICHEC now more than 90% of the work is collaborative efforts.”
Like, Steve Jobs once said, “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” Similar, Sita also believes that “we cannot just afford to work alone.”
“It is not about just memorising information. It’s all about knowing who to talk and collaborate to know how to solve the problem, knowing where to find the information. And also, with the changing technology, everything, all the information is just a click away. So it’s all about how we can organise our resources.”
And that’s why even if these researchers were never trained on collaboration, this is one modern thing that everybody should update themselves too.
What Happens If We Don’t Update Ourselves?
Concerning updating each self is critical; without doing so can bring immense productivity challenges for professionals. Restricting to update according to the technological advancements can not only push the professionals to run in protect mode but also makes them fearful. “If we don’t update ourselves, we will have to focus more on self-preservation because we stop growing, so we become more fearful in our workplace,” said Sita.
Also, no skills are time-proof, and thus after a certain point, every knowledge and expertise gets obsolete until reskilled with newer tools and technologies. “None of the skills that we have is time-proof, and thus soon the value of the skill will go down. Whatever skill that I have now can soon be outdated, and will lower down my value in the market.”
In fact, according to WHO data, the global average life expectancy has increased by 5.5 years between 2000 and 2016, and an average person will change his careers 5-7 times during their working life. Such numbers highlight that humans are living longer than what they used to before and thus have more chances to change their careers, and therefore to support that, individuals must upskill themselves in order to stay relevant.
How To Update Ourselves?
Courses are not the only way a professional can update themselves; instead, its small everyday choices that will have a compound effect of change. According to Sita, “Some of the smaller choices might be just taking an online course or sometimes just working in a multidisciplinary project, collaborating with our partners or colleagues.”
Also, it is imperative for researchers to get out of their comfort zone to bring in the change that is required, “Joining conferences going to the workshop attending webinars and not thinking that collaboration is a sign of weakness, but it’s a sign of power, are the key ways to yield change and update ourselves.”
Concluding the session, Sita said, “These small, simple steps that can have a bigger impact on a longer run,” so bring in the change and keep updating.