The T-shaped skill structure that induces qualities to make employees valuable has made its way along with a Z-shaped structure where the talented has to learn, unlearn and relearn. Thirumala Arohi, Senior Vice President and Head – Education, Training and Assessment at Infosys on the emergence of flexibility, growth mindset and lifelong learning as the new operative words in new-age workplaces.

What should fresh engineering graduates keep in mind while seeking a job? How has the employment landscape transformed in the post-pandemic world?

The current batch of engineering graduates who are joining the corporate sector is witnessing a massive change, probably the most intense since the Industrial Revolution. The operative words for them would be flexibility, growth mindset and lifelong learning. It is important to know – what, how and why to learn.


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What – Fresh engineering graduates should nurture a mindset for continuous learning and upskilling. The dimensions of upskilling will be technical expertise, behavioural/professional skills and domain knowledge.

How – In the current pandemic-ravaged world, an average learner is also witnessing depleting attention spans. blended/online/byte and Nano learning are now crucial, but the dilemma for the learner is to choose the right content and source to boost their knowledge levels. Communication, written, verbal and non-verbal continues to be a critical life skill to establish a strong professional foundation.

Why-The dynamic business and technology landscape driven by digital disruption requires candidates who can learn continuously. That is where platforms like Infosys Springboard and the Infosys Foundation program training for fresh hires play a pivotal role to train fresh engineering graduates.

Why is reskilling gaining importance and how are companies focusing on helping the employees with upskilling?

The rise of the VUCA world has disrupted business models. Projects, across industries, are executed in an agile and iterative manner. During these iterations, companies and organisations are tweaking their products and innovating constantly to stay ahead of the competition. All of these have contributed to the need for full stack professionals and reskilling/upskilling being integral to growth, agnostic of age, experience, gender, designation, etc. Organisations now seek the adjacent skills for better results. The T-shaped skill structure has given way and also co-exists with a Z-shaped structure where the talented has to learn, unlearn and relearn.

How important it is for the educational institutes to collaborate with the industry to have a future-ready workforce?

A student invests about three to four years to earn a professional degree and be employment ready. During this period, a lot of changes are witnessed in technology. The agility with which the industry evolves makes it difficult for academia and curriculum to keep pace. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 now gives a framework for helping bridge this gap. But, there is a need for the industry to be an integral part of the ecosystem for the learner and the academia to help with application-oriented learning. While the academic curriculum lays the foundation for a subject area, the industry should step in to provide for the application of a concept to a real-time scenario. We have introduced Infosys Campus Connect to bring an industry perspective to academics. This initiative is powered by Infosys Springboard making it convenient for educational institutions to have easy access to real-life scenarios for internships and knowledge from practitioners.

How can we involve youngsters in research and in creating solutions at the juncture of next-gen digital, AI/ML and hybrid collaboration?

To meet the dynamic changes, agility should be at the pace of nature. It should be sentient; unless organisations do not mimic and imbibe hyper-responsive approaches, it will be difficult for them to survive and ace this business world. We see digital platforms for talent transformation, commerce, democratising learning, content gathering, etc while being powered by AI/ML algorithms. With this kind of community-driven mindset, platforms are helping reimagine partnerships, university alliances, content partnerships and the resultant pedagogy.

Students need to be aware of these tectonic changes and immerse themselves in these scenarios. The research is moving out of incubation centres, and academic orientation is based on its application in the industry. This can be done by internship, short-term association during the academic period with the industry etc to augment the impact.

How is Infosys enabling freshers and experienced managers/ technology professionals to build the right skill sets?

Learning is an essential part of our employees. Freshers must mandatorily undergo the flagship Infosys Foundation Program consisting of two training segments – the generic stream and the career stream. The generic stream imparts the learners with the foundation of IT skills, making them knowledgeable in the programming aspects. The career stream is continuously refreshed to be in sync with Infosys’ aspirations, client needs and industry trends. There is a periodic update of 45+ career streams. We have provided learning paths to the trainees that will prepare them for industry-ready skills such as full-stack development, cloud-native development, big data, data analytics, automating apps and IT infrastructure (using tools like Ansible), Agile, and DevOps.

Soft skills, critical thinking and time management have emerged as important skill sets for engineering graduates. How can these skills be honed?

We need to acknowledge our work, workforce and workplace for the overall growth. This helps in honing the professional and soft skills of the talent. The definition of work, for example, has evolved from in-person, to remote to hybrid, and gig. In these changing contours of work, it is important that the talent also adopts the skill to learn and invest in lifelong learning. The workforce must develop soft skills including the ability to work in teams, appreciation of multiple global and local cultures, creative problem solving, appreciation of multi-generational cultures, sensitivity to multi-cultural groups and ethnicities, critical thinking, creativity and time management while constantly nurturing their passion for learning.

Here are some measures that need to be undertaken:

  • Create awareness for institutions regarding the importance of soft skills – Leaders in academia and institutions should create both a vision for and a culture of how soft skills can be an integral part of the learning needed to succeed post the students’ educational pursuit.
  • Provide the requisite soft skill development infrastructure – While many institutions want to provide professional and soft skills training, many times there are constraints, like budgets. So, providing them with support in any form will help them fill this gap in an effective way.
  • Increasing industry-academia connect – Collaboration with industry is crucial for academia to help our students understand real soft skills required in today’s world. This prepares students for the professional world right from their university.

With Infosys Springboard we want to bring this balance between digital and life skills for students. While these skills have always been important, the digital and remote work environment has made them even more crucial. The gap in these ‘uniquely human’ soft skills can be bridged by creating awareness, supporting, and connecting them with the industry.


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