Courses for the Most Important Jobs of Tomorrow

Courses for the Most Important Jobs of Tomorrow

By Arunima Rajan
In today’s digital world, learning looks very different. Here’s how to revamp the way you learn to keep up with an India charging into the future

It sounds like the name of a loveable movie monster, but these four letters could change your life: MOOC. Whether you are trying to stay relevant in the job market, or are hungry to update your skills to specialise in your field, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) can fire up your education and career goals.

What will a MOOC give me?

A MOOC offers university-level education to anyone with an internet connection — and the best part is it’s often free. MOOCs are flexible, short and rich in video content — perfect for fast learning. And perfect for can-do knowledge seekers. In our global survey, 6.2% of Indians said learning makes them feel fulfilled, a response higher than any other country we surveyed! Here’s how to channel that love of learning into success.

What are the best courses for success?

These are the top five courses in India, according to a survey conducted by Coursera:

Mastering Data Analysis in Excel. In a world that is generating data at a fierce rate, experts who can make sense of those statistics will be greatly in demand.

Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python). Processes everywhere are powered by code, the digital language that tells computers what to do. Even kids are learning to program nowadays, so now’s the time to jump on the bandwagon.

Machine Learning. This is a method of teaching computers to improve their behaviour and work smarter — in a sense, it’s the field that is one day building a world of Artificial Intelligence.

R Programming. Want to be a data analyst? You’ll need to learn this programming language which powers statistical computing.

Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects.Computers aren’t the only ones learning how to soak up information better. Courses such as these which ‘hack’ learning itself are gaining popularity in a time-poor, information-rich world.

These courses are the key to jobs that barely existed a couple of decades ago. IT (especially mobile, e-commerce and related industries), clean energy, healthcare, data science, artificial intelligence and robotics, biotechnology, energy science, medical devices, public policy and urban studies — are just some of the growing sectors in Indian job market. And the key to mastering the skills for these new opportunities? A MOOC, of course.

How valuable is a MOOC?

When Vikas Karade won admission to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, he decided to study Mechanical Engineering. He also developed an interest in computer engineering — a decision that plays out well in the job market of the future.

The IIT Bombay graduate says he had many classmates who had a passion for both electrical engineering and computers. “This is because many creative jobs need interdisciplinary knowledge and skills. India used to be a manufacturing hub or IT hub but now students want to design and create for the future,” he adds.

“During my BTech I could choose only a few courses like that. However, after a few reforms at IIT, students now have a lot of choices for additional courses.” The reason people like Karade are climbing the ladder to success is that they realise supplementary courses, often taught online are a key to upgrading skills. Education is no longer a maze you follow blindly – you can choose your own adventure.

Creating his own adventure was the key to Karade’s success. He is currently director of Algosurg Products, Private Limited. During university he proactively learned computer graphics and clinical concepts (orthopaedics) during his BTech days and soon developed Tabplan 3D, a software that converts 2D X-ray to 3D. “In fact, my PhD topic was about computer programming — even though my PhD degree is for mechanical engineering.” 

How can I make the most of these courses?

Self-Discipline - There’s flexibility to these courses, but you also must master self-discipline. “Coursera, Khan Academy and Udacity are some of the popular websites. Some of the Indian Institutes of Technology have their recorded lectures [online]. However, there are no tutorials or assignments,” says Karade, which means it is up to the individual to monitor his or her own progression.

Practice makes perfect - “It is important to practice what you learn in online courses,” says Karade, “It will be easier to stick to the programme if you join a community inside or outside the campus, so that you can learn it by doing and discussing the concepts with similar-minded people.”

Abhimanyu Bhosale, CEO of Livehealth, wholeheartedly agrees. “One should practice and apply what one is learning. Once you get used to this process, you will soon learn to apply what you have learnt to something new, and create a miracle one day,” Bhosale grins.