SKILL UP INDIA – A book by VIJAY K BANDA
Book Review by Dr. Srilakshmi Ramu, Assistant Professor, Department of Business Management
India is growing at a consistent 6.1 % p.a. and is estimated to become a 5 trillion $ economy by 2027 and 10 trillion $ by 2035 for which a clear road map has been laid down by our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. In fact, India’s population of 1.41 bn is expected to surpass the China’s population very shortly, which means India will have one of the largest workforces too globally. Presently the percentage of working population of India is 59.5 percent of which agriculture consists of 41.19%, industry consists of 26.18% and service sector consists of 32.33%. India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35 and this demographic dividend will peak around 2041, when the share of working-age, i.e., 20-59 years population, is expected to hit 59% according to Economic Survey 2018-19.
This would pose a great challenge for the Indian companies in creating jobs. It also alerts youth and young professionals to understand the need for upskilling, updating and upgrading themselves to grab job opportunities and seek gainful employment in the corporate world. In this context and scenario, I felt it is relevant to bring out few insights presented by Vijay K Bandra in his book “Skill Up India” which is going to be handy for the students who are job-ready and who are seeking career guidance to understand the nuances of staying relevant in today’s job market.
Mr. Vijay Bandra with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, has more than 25 years of work experience in IT working with various Fortune 100 companies in multiple domains including 12 years in USA.
He begins the book with a strong note:
“The future of work will not be based on educational degrees but on the versatile skills and competencies and also on contract based or skill-based hiring dynamics for a specified period of time (gig economy), since India is heading towards fourth industrial revolution also known as Industry 4.0- a technological revolution augmented by various innovations integrating artificial intelligence, machine learning, IOT, advanced robotics, genomics and so on.”
To make the youth understand the nuances in detail, the author structured the flow in a 4-mantra framework required to enable and sustain their future readiness journey.
In the first chapter he mentions the first Mantra to Youth envisaging on to –
I. Develop Industry Awareness:
Vijay Bandra in this chapter very uniquely mentioned the need for “Curiosity Quotient” that every youngster has to aspire to commence his career, which I felt was truly important more than IQ and EQ. He stressed the need of the youth to be curious in acquiring advanced skills with 360-degree astuteness (meaning shrewdness) apart from domain knowledge, encompassing with an improved business acumen and technological savviness. For e.g. in the domain of medicine, doctors to be equipped with the skills of AI and robotics, mechanical engineers in the manufacturing sector to be upgraded with the skills of 3D/4D printing, building architects with the skill of big data, finance and banking sector professionals with data sciences and block chain technology is called for, so that it helps them to position themselves rightly.
In the second chapter he discloses the second Mantra envisaging on to –
II. Increase Self-Awareness:
Vijay Bandra in this chapter stresses the importance of knowing oneself, since it has greatly helped him in the managerial role and in the leadership role. He mentions the need to discover and map one’s own strengths, weaknesses, in SWOT analysis, aspirations and results in SOAR analysis, his/her communication style, emotional intelligence, one’s personal core values, drivers, and other personal traits which are essential for every individual, for better clarity of thought, not only to make a right decision in their career, but also to reinvent and improvise oneself in future.
Apart from curiosity quotient, the author stresses on the most sought-after qualities of adversity quotient, adaptability quotient and spiritual quotient and how competency is a set of demonstrable characteristics and skills that enable and improve the efficiency of performance of a job by giving the following formula.
Competencies = Aptitude + Knowledge + Ability + Skills + Exposure + Experience + Positive Behavior (Intent, Attitude, self-confidence).
The author also calls for everyone to list out their traits and discover to which category one belongs to:
*Thinking style of whether one has a Logical thinking style, Practical thinking style, Creative thinking style or Relational thinking style which is truly interesting. (LPCR)
*Learning style (founded by Neil Fleming), of whether one has Visual learning style, Auditory learning style, Reading /Writing Learning style or Kinesthetic learning style. (VARK)
* Social Communication style of whether one has Dominant Social style (analytical, driver, expressive, amiable),
*Dominant Responsive style (display emotion or no emotion), Dominant Assertive style (tell style or ask style) and last but not the least
* the importance to retrospect one’s personal blind spots with famous table called Johari Window given below.
At the end of the chapter, the author concludes by enforcing, that one has to look inward to examine, introspect and to reflect on what motivates every individual in pursuit of one’s goals. (Quest for fame, Power, Money, Purpose, Sense of bliss/Joy, Positive change or accomplishment).
In the third chapter he discloses the third Mantra envisaging on to –
III. Be Adept:
Vijay Bhadra in the third chapter goes in detailing that the future of work is going to be driven by the “Gig economy” where the freelancers can select jobs and projects on worldwide based on their skills leading to “Skill based Hiring” a way of employment in the future which is getting popular as “Uberization of skills”. The modus operandi would be that an applicant needs to demonstrate that she or he has skills required to succeed in that job, independent of an academic degree which prepares future readiness. The skills could be cognitive skills, intellectual skills, soft skills, technological skills and professional skills.
The author structured this approach in why, what, and how manner and presented in 4 themes for developing one’s future skills.
In the fourth chapter he discloses the fourth Mantra envisaging on to-
IV. Attitude to Adapt:
Vijay Bandra in the last chapter stresses the importance of having “Right Attitude” to adapt to changes and new situations, which has rightly helped him to navigate through several challenges during his career journey. He resonates with a quote saying, “We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are”. The author calls for all the youth and young professionals to embrace changes in the career ladder, positively with a conviction that every change offers new opportunities provided they invest enough time to visualize, analyze and understand the long-term benefits without the fear of failure.
Further he reiterates that while IQ (a measure of general intelligence) and EQ (a measure of emotional intelligence), can help one only to get a job or start a business, it is actually AQ (Adaptability Quotient) alone that places an individual in future with success and stability. In fact, AQ= Attitude + Adaptability + Resilience
He concludes at the end, by mentioning that if all the above four Mantras are applied by the professionals in the work force, then each one of them can become a successful icon in every area of expertise they have chosen. For that achievement, one has to be a constant learner too leveraging resources like MOOC, must upskill every two years to makes his/her journey much easier to cope with the current industry changes and demands.
The above book is highly recommended to all and is a must-read book of all time, by all the students who are in pursuit of excellence in the career ladder towards success.