November 23, 2013
Learning, Mobile Learning, Organizations
We do not have educators on leadership team. We consciously have educators as part of academic council and I interact and take their inputs seriously. I checked around with others skill providers and we are good to have thought of academic council with eminent academician. The public-private collaboration based skill development agency does not have educator represented in leadership team and is filled with industry people.
Exploring in education for more than 2 years, The teacher has a major influential role to help student and parent to enable a purchase decision. Are we aware that academicians are out of skill development initiative scope and any specific reasons ? Are suitable good academicians not available? Is the industry closed and selfish that they are not ready to engage with teacher? Is the industry not ready to take contribution of academician ?
On daily operations the skill provider is challenged to deliver in remote location. Some of guest faculty are not interested to travel and have other priorities . They help to arrive at “Train the Trainer ” program to train a set of fresh graduates by industry experts. Some of these graduates become facilitators for student interaction over chat or email or phone call. Do facilitators have real work exposure to answer questions? The answer of the industry is “Provide on-line course with videos, student would learn on-line”.
Do we forget to include teacher in solution?
- The industry expert is not available round clock. Should business depend more on him on continuous basis?
- May be the industry feels that college teachers are old school and there is no value explaining to teacher. They impress management and the management asks teachers to recommend student to join course. Why will teacher recommend the course that he has no knowledge?
- The teacher observes a parallel system where corporates are doing separate teaching and no one has explained what they are teaching and how is it better one?. The teacher is put under pressure to ask students to join the skill program, Do the teachers recommend without clarity?
- Will current approach solve academic deficit over time? Are you developing mistrust teachers? Why is teacher self-esteem damaged? What is plan to take take vocational learning main stream?
- Can we evaluate teacher and student associated for a long term in separate manner? Both of them need to be evaluated and their results, based on interactions, cannot be accurately measured.
Why will teachers get to a strong opinion “Creativity, appreciation, inquisitiveness are purpose of education and these cannot be scale. We teach to free minds, we teach to inspire, we teach to equip careers that come naturally. We do not want to prepare workers”. This does not help skill providers.
November 18, 2013
Computers and Internet, Learning
In Part 1 of the article, We started exploring how to bridge the skill gap and specifically looked at the happening in software or IT industry. We continue to explore whether skill development practices from software industry can be replicated in areas where the industry jobs are becoming 100% dependent on software. BFSI sector makes uses of computers extensively and we need to think how to bridge skill gap for fresh accountant in corporate environment, bank executive joining in branch and insurance executive in insurance office. Can the computer provide the way to scale skill development in BFSI sector. These are reflection from my thought process to arrive at approach to bridge the skill gap.
- Get theoretical instruction and practical training directly linked to the business requirements of companies in vocational areas. Does this linkage needs to reduce the gap between skills required by companies and available labour trained in those skills?
- Can theory classes be conducted in the environment closely associated with the requirements of the marketplace? The theory classes needs to be blended with working technical or pedagogical approaches to equip the student for a career, beyond the entry level job.
- Let us not attribute that skill development is for the realm of low achievers. How acquire skills desirable at entry point to a successful career for majority of youth? We find that a lot of company CEOS and senior management people had not purely come from university. They also came working their way up the organizational hierarchy and learning skills enabled them to grow higher.
- What should the student learn beyond soft skills to be empowered to visualize the career opportunities available in companies? Start salaries are higher in BPOs and student start to focus on the soft skills to enable them get high salary in their initial jobs. It is unfortunate that students miss to plan skills needed for a long term career.
- How to empower students to identify and choose their tool? Let us not push existing tool and make them learn concepts and mature in concepts than doing clicks. Today I see people are more dependent on a tool as they know how to perform things with a tool and are less aware of the concepts.
- How to expose students to working environment in companies and organizations? Can this be made hands-on experience? Can this provide a 360 degree view? This would help to create attractive skilled resources who can “hit the ground running” when they enter their first employment position.
- Across hands-on experience, how to encourage students to make mistakes and learn from mistakes in the dummy work environment? Once they join the work, the access permission settings of software does not provide them with environment to make mistakes.
- Across hands-on experience, How to collect metrics and ensure a continuous improvement and feedback loop is available?
I would also like educators and industry to partner and explore whether skill development can be offered to students as part of the college curriculum. When the the student attend vocational course along with the college system, here are benefits to students, corporates and skill development.
- The students are not shut off to the university path.
- Students have option to pursue for higher university studies and neither spend extra time for the vocational course. undergoing skill development has long term impact on their careers.
- Better student in skill development can encourage to become facilitator in the areas of skill development. This would motivate students to look at skill development in positive way.
- CSR of corporates can be focused on capacity building by nominating their faculty to train facilitator and also working with interested people to facilitate arriving at an approach to impart skill development to students. Corporates can provide stipend to motivate students and encourage them to become facilitators.
Let us make skill development a need for student, corporate and the country. Will it become possible to have skill development as means of learning post 5 years of work experience too? Will it be able to make use of computer based learning to offer skill development?
November 14, 2013
Computers and Internet, Learning
After looking at answers for question “What is Skill Gap? – Part 1” and “What is Skill Gap? – Part 2“. I started to learn on how to bridge the skill gap. Let us start with traditional model of apprentice training or vocational training. The student are asked to attend a set of theory classes with a specified teacher and student is required to perform 3 to 4 days of practical work in the company itself under the supervision of a mandated instructor. They need to be in physical environment and it costs to set-up physical infrastructure and only fee apprentice centres got started.
Students joining graduate courses of the university did not feel the need to undergo skill development. They studied well heir academic syllabus and college teachers have limited knowledge in corporate needs. They grew with the assumption that skill gap can be filled after the completion of the course. Getting placed in company might result in the new employer sponsoring the skill training. Or the new employer would provide them direction of the areas to get trained and training in these areas would ensure job on successful completion. This thought got matured in the minds of the students by IT companies.
Selected candidates are asked to undergo training in their college campuses, attend classes and clear exams to be eligible for joining letter. The training process gets over and student wait for joining letter. The corporate gets benefited to get cheap resources and the student has got a way to earn money. What is happenning to the student in this process?
- The student fails to learn their strengths and weakness.
- The student assumes that skill training is extension of college and they primarily need to to get good at soft skills.
- The student are taught by their trainers have never worked in corporate.
- The student is not sure impact of skill development training in his plan to go for higher studies, (more when student pays)
- The student has lost opportunity to plan a long term career plan. This is not to blame corporates. when corporate pays for the training, there is no guarantee that the trained candidate will stay with the corporate. Today the corporate focus to make student articulate and be productive to satisfy business. The student has failed to focus to empower his self with a long term career plan.
Let us look at computer degree student in college today. Is he aware of the possibility to develop skills being in the college?
The advent of cloud and personal devices has made it feasible to bridge the skill gap and some students are walking on the bridge without being aware. Let me explain what are they doing. More Students have computer at home. Most of them carry a mobile for sure and college students have trendy ones. They can deploy the program in free cloud offering provided by cloud provider and personal devices of self and friends. OK, how does this create the feasibility?
- When student can write their apps this, students apply their learning in practical manner. In the application process, they learn that some things work and some things do not work in real world.
- The student learn how to apply the knowledge based on scenario and come across real world scenario where existing knowledge is not sufficient. In process, they become mature and get better grasp of the academic concepts.
- With the arrival of github, Ant and other tools, student has the ability to learn software development process methods like code check-in and bug tracking. They can also now deploy apps and this enable them to ask friends for feedback of the application.
- With quick approach to sell the app working in personal devices, the student can learn what other perceive about his work resulting in to a powerful learning.
As student, I have learnt to apply my college knowledge, made some mistakes and learnt reason for the error and rectification steps to fix the same and also became aware of the software development process and also have got a real feedback from the market on my skills. All this happens at lower cost, no major expense from industry and also based on student’s interest.
Let us see in Part 2 and explore whether opportunities for similar skill development exists in other industries
October 28, 2013
Mobile Computing, Money Matters
Organizations look at enterprise mobility application to enable handling of business processes on mobile for employees and to equip the customer to reach enterprise using mobile with ease and at their comfort. To reach the objective level of productive employees and satisfied customers, mobile apps have to be integrated with enterprise system and data. Planning of mobile strategy needs to answer following questions first before deciding the approach.
- How easy is it to add mobile platforms on which the organization wishes to access back-end data? Can back end provide support of a single interface to each mobile platform the organization wishes to support? Or do we need to build a different back-end connection to each platform they target? With end users (even employees) insist on using their own devices and hence enterprises need to answer this difficult and important question to achieve “platform portability”.
- How the finished app might look like? Generally we develop screen mock-ups and position data to create an experience that approximates what end-users can expect and start real development work only after end-user buy-in. Do we write back end to code to get the data first or just hard-code data
- How should the back-end present its data to the outside world? What type of inputs will the client app give the back-end and what type of outputs will the client expect back? What type of API exists on the back-end? SOAP? REST? What’s the connection protocol? TCP? HTTP? How will the back-end handle errors? What response codes will be returned?
- Should the mobile developer build an interface that the back-end developer is expecting? The mobile developer needs to think of customer equally and also the back end developer and the two must negotiate and agree in order for the interface to work. One classic conflict is how to implement client side caching and another is whether legacy databases and systems should be re-engineered for mobile.
- How to handle security and policy management of enterprise in the mobile app? OAuth is can be used for integrating security for the enterprise and works very well for newly creates users. For existing users of the enterprise, one needs to design for the back-end and mobile app to manage OAuth tokens and support user authentication flow. the authentication challenge is increases with the need to manage policy that differs with organizations and also differs by department and the hierarchy level a particular person belongs to in the organization.
- Should the mobile developer think for offline support in the application? First there needs to be definition what happens when the app is not connected to the Internet. This scenario gets ignored and failures has significant consequences in real time. If support is needed, developer needs to develop a client library
- monitor the state of the server connection on continuous basis.
- trap errors when the connection is lost
- take mitigation steps to make app go offline rather than letting the app simply crash
- decide course of action once the internet connectivity is restore.
- what happens during the down time? there could be back-end update and the mobile app is expected to work to confirm that the user experience is the same as if connectivity has not been lost.
Let us be aware that a tight coupling with back-end demands that the client app must be rewritten, regenerated and redeployed for all platforms running the mobile app. This need to be true if new fields are added to the back end. The time and cost to produce a polished high quality app matters more to the enterprise than implementation details. They expect to reduce the risk of incompatibilities between front end and back end and demand a differentiating
At last what matters to the enterprise is a positive experience delivered at far less cost and on a much shorter timeline.
October 23, 2013
Community, Learning, Organizations
In Part -1 of this blog post we discussed what is critical skill for a job, what is skill gap, how managers perform skill gap analysis and arrive at the skill gap in the organization. Now comes the HR and Recruitment departments.
HR personnel applies skills gap analysis across a company and enables finding of skill and knowledge shortfalls in similar department. To maintain transparency in career growth offered to employees across all job profiles, HR comes with a skill matrix . The skill matrix lists down the skills needed by the organization today and also in the future. The human resource department plan organization wide training targeted on those necessary skills that require the most attention.
Employees start to consider the skill matrix as a guidance or reference to plan and take actions to develop needed critical skills to grow in their career. The skill matrix also starts serving as baseline to recruit when the current employee do not have the skills or interests.
The recruitment department starts to compare the skill matrix with skill level of students in colleges. They perform some tests and try to generalize the skill level and knowledge shortfalls among a specific college students. If they feel that the gap is larger and they need to invest time and effort to improve student to match to desired skill levels of the organization, the recruitment department decides not to even visit from the college campus for recruitment .
Irrespective of the domain, organizations follows a standard process to come with skill gap analysis. The organization needs a experienced HR manager, a domain manager and enabler teacher or trainer to arrive with recruitment test to filter students based on skill levels.
- The domain manager writes a set of skills that your employees must have in order to competently perform their tasks. This is what you expect from employees.
- The domain manager and trainer discuss the skills needed in the organization with a sample of colleges similar to ones where you plan to recruit fresh graduates. During the discussion with college, they understand what the course teaches and what part of the course is needed in the job and they start seeing skill gaps showing their ugly face.
- Both of them discuss and try to arrive at a training plan that can help to minimize the skill gap. It is entirely discretion of them to come with the training program that is expected to perform this.
- They go to few colleges and experiment with different set of students evaluation approach to identify the areas of skill gap. the students results are scored and the areas where many students are deficient is identified. These areas might qualify for your skill gaps. If only one or two testers perform poorly, it’s not a gap. If a large number of testers do poorly in a given area, you know there is a gap.
- Repeat this in a couple of colleges with diversified background makes them come with gap that is permissible for the college student and for one year experienced candidate.
- Now administer this test with every job candidate and then you can decide with amount of probability whether the student have an obvious gap in the knowledge needed to perform essential tasks in your organization.
ArthaKaushalya – Finance & Accounting Skills Assessment has been created by professionals who have years of expertise being experienced HR manger, domain manager and with the passion to enabler teacher or trainer. They are enabling the student to identify the gap ahead of time to go for a job. This equips the student to plan measures to fix any identified gaps.
October 23, 2013
Community, Learning, Organizations
In earlier blog post we talked about Skill Gap Finder in Accounting and Finance – ArthaKaushalya .
Today one hears a lot about skill gap and students seems to learn and corporates say that there is skill gap with the students. Let us identify what is skill gap. Is there skill gap only in colleges or there is skill gap also in organizations? How organizations identify skill gap in particular area of a student or employee?
The skills that are defined as basic minimal requirement required for a job profile are termed as critical skill. A critical skill is skill that is needed to complete a task with desired results. The lack of a critical skill causes problems and the possession of skill allows work to continue.
Organizations develop job profiles that enumerates critical skills needed for the job role and to help in the interview process. Organizations are engaged in continuous process of evaluating and identifying employee competencies and skill levels to enable them to grow in their career. Here comes Skill Gaps. Skill gaps are weak spots in a person’s ability to perform the task required from him. It belongs to the knowledge area of the employee or the candidate “what you do not know that you do not know”.
It is essential for a person to identify skill gaps to determine the areas where he is strong and competent and areas where he needs to improve in.
Today we talk about skill gap with respect to employment. Teams want to achieve some results. Now the team manager has a need to perform regular and ongoing skills gap analysis benchmarking the existing staff to assign the tasks based on the competency of the person. For this the manager wants to assess the exact skills required for each job in your team, and tries to get an accurate competency profile on every one in the team.
The employer at the organization level works with couple of managers to define the existing skill levels across organization. This enables individual managers to come with the necessary skill levels in your team; any differences comprise the gap or gaps. To come with the difference, the manager tries to answer the below questions to identify what skills your team needs.
- What skills do you need and want?
- What skills do you already have?
- How serious are the differences between those two levels?
- What exactly do you need to perform to close the gap or gaps?
Data across different teams in organizations is collated and analysed and this process is termed as skill gap analysis. A skills gap analysis is undertaken at organization level to identify the skills that an employee needs to carry out his or her job or to perform tasks effectively. The analysis is done by creating a series of questions over a number of topics/tasks. The questions are then administered to the candidates and all results recorded. The results are then analysed to determine where the gaps are within the individual across the topics/tasks. A skill analysis report is generated and provided to the candidate.
At the end of skill gap analysis of employee, the manager needs to determine what is the desired skill level that you need to do to move your team from the current level. Once the gaps are identified, the manager needs to come with a plan for training to be implemented.
Let us see understand in Part 2 how the skill gap done in organization gets applied also to college students.
October 22, 2013
Identify type of devices for testing
- Developer Devices(must work): used by development team confirms working of the application .They focus on unit testing and sanity and their testing is critical. We should add one new device every quarter to this set of test devices.
- Major Devices : used by QA team confirms working of mobile application. They focus on regression, interoperability and performance and their testing is critical. We should add two devices every quarter to this set of test devices
- Market Devices(popular) : used by production support team confirm working. They focus on porting and compatibility and their testing is driven by product manager and customer feedbacks. We should add 10 new devices every quarter.
Plan what needs to covered by testing in full : You can’t automate all of your functional testing and interoperability testing. For example user experience, such as “look & feel”, that can only be verified manually. Also think of new end-user engagements(air watch, eye scroll and other sophisticated mobile gestures are introduced). Hence test definition needs to involve business or product owner to identify features to be tested manually and the ones using automation .
Plan whether network variations and device variations have to be handled specially. : Network quality and technology vary between carriers, states, countries, regions and even areas (especially in populated areas). If your application is sensitive to network latency or quick response time, spend time on proper planning of network related testing. Depending on the device and OS, mobile applications may behave differently, depending on bandwidth. Latency and packet loss leads to degrade application performance. Please see to that server side degradation does not affect your mobile application.
Plan with your product manager to test the key business features : There are some features of mobile app that users care about the most and your product manager would know some realistic scenarios.You need to see how these features work in no interruption environment and in sudden interruption environment.(incoming calls, messages). Also identify how inconsistent bandwidth and packet loss.
Plan for continuous testing, Today world mobile features change, application store discovery behaviour changes and new cool features get introduced. So we nee