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Universities often provide a foundational education but overlook specific skills that are increasingly vital in the rapidly evolving job markets. As industries and technologies advance, the skills needed to excel in the professional world also shift. This trend highlights the importance of staying abreast of the latest developments and adapting to new occupational demands in the Asian market.
Whether fresh out of university or pursuing education through alternative means, recognising and honing these emerging skills is crucial for success in Asia's diverse and competitive job landscape. The pace of change, driven by technological innovations and shifting market needs, underscores the necessity for continuous learning and skill adaptation.
Given the global technological trends, many sought-after skills are related to tech. As outlined in the Royal Government of Cambodia's Pentagonal Strategy Phase 1, four key priorities include roads, water, electricity, and, more recently, technology, with people as the central focus. Below I raise here some key areas Cambodian students should consider:
Digital Literacy and Data Analytics
Understanding and leveraging data is crucial with digital expansion across nations and sectors. As Iain Brown, PhD, articulates, data literacy is the ability to effectively use and understand data, which is crucial in a data-driven society for better decision-making and innovation. Upskilling in digital and data analytics is vital in this rapidly changing landscape.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
AI involves computer systems performing tasks that typically require human intelligence, like speech recognition and problem-solving. Machine learning allows computers to learn from data and make decisions with minimal human intervention. These technologies revolutionise finance, banking, and insurance sectors, enhancing decision-making and customer experiences.
Sustainability and Green Technologies
Green and technology skills encompass cutting-edge technologies such as AI and data analytics, crucial for addressing major global sustainability challenges. Since 2015, the global demand for green skills has increased by 40%, yet there is still a significant gap in the workforce, with only 13% of organisations having employees with these skills. Therefore, proficiency in green and tech skills represents the future of work, offering the potential to make a positive, sustainable impact on the planet.
E-Commerce and Digital Marketing
E-commerce enhances customer experience using AR/VR and omnichannel strategies, contributing to mobile and social commerce platform growth. These platforms facilitate the buying and selling of products internationally, integrating technologies like AI and ML. Success in e-commerce is closely linked to digital marketing, which leverages technology to connect with online customers and audiences. Therefore, individuals need to develop skills in these areas to achieve business success in the digital era.
Fintech and Blockchain
Fintech, or Financial Technology, is an umbrella term for technologies and innovations in finance that aim to enhance financial services through automation, security, and accessibility. Blockchain technology enhances security, greater transparency, instant traceability, increased efficiency, and automation. The digital era requires employees specialising in these areas to boost business, build a better economy, and shape the nation's financial sector.
Healthcare and Biotechnology
Biotechnology is defined as technology based on biology. It uses biological processes, cells, and molecules to create new technologies and products that enhance human life and the environment. This includes advancements in healthcare, sustainable fuels, and innovations in food and agriculture. Staying updated with developments in biotech, healthcare technology, and medicine is crucial, as they are progressively centred on improving healthcare.
In addition to the above, soft skills and language proficiency are highly beneficial. Skills like cross-cultural communication, adaptability, problem-solving, and leadership are powerful in diverse environments. Particularly in Asia, learning an additional language can be a significant asset.
In summary, the Asian market constantly changes due to new technologies and economic shifts. Both students and professionals must keep learning and updating their skills to keep up. Understanding the cultural nuances and market trends in Asia is also essential. Adaptability and commitment to lifelong learning are key to success in this fast-paced, diverse market. Staying informed about new trends can lead to a successful career and a significant role in the Asian economy.
In today's world, continuous learning is crucial. Students should focus on lifelong education, while others can benefit from online courses, social media, volunteering, internships, and reading relevant materials to stay ahead.
Sarik Seangmeng is pursuing a Master of Arts in Development Studies at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP).