Monthly Archives: October 2016

Develops Your Digital Skills

You’ve spent your entire life immersed in the digital world. So you’re pretty much already an expert, right? Not so fast. As it turns out, there’s plenty more to learn in today’s fast-moving digital space — particularly if you’re interested in becoming a change agent in your chosen field. Read on for a roundup of three reasons to pursue a master’s degree with a focus on the digital, along with one program that gets it right when it comes to helping students acquire the skills they need — not just to survive, but to truly thrive in the ever-changing digital landscape.

1. Digital skills open diverse doors.

Do a quick internet search of the words “digital skills,” and you’ll turn up countless articles on “essential,” “must-have” and “top” digital skills employers are looking for today. At the same time, US staffing and solutions company the Adecco Group reveals that 92 percent of employees aren’t prepared to navigate the contemporary business world. Claiming top four spots on the list of skills executives think workers lack? Technical and software skills.

But that’s not all, insists The Guardian, “It’s not just the scale and pace of the digital revolution that makes it exciting; it’s also the fact that it’s being democratized. No longer reserved for IT departments and tech companies, digital is becoming a critical part of every industry and is opening up opportunities across sectors, whether it’s top surgeons video linking into operating theatres from abroad or targeted mobile advertising based on clothes you’re trying on in real time.”

So whether you want to be a teacher, doctor, businessperson, lawyer, journalist, or one of a million other possible career paths, skills like SEO, coding, video editing, imaging editing, blogging and others are quickly moving from the category of nicety to necessity. The takeaway? Digital skills aren’t just highly sought-after in technology-related sectors; they’re also universally prized.

2. Digitalization is essential to corporate development.

According to a recent article in The Telegraph, ‘Why Digital Skills Matter for Your Company,” “businesses that improve the digital skills of all their employees will become more productive, innovative, profitable and secure.” For bottom-line-minded organizations, these are hard words to ignore. Just how much do businesses stand to gain by embracing all things digital? As reported by The Telegraph based on research by Oxford Economics for Virgin Media Business, the UK economy could see a boost of £92bn and more than one million jobs in the next two years alone.

Said Peter Winebloom, skills director a manufacturers’ organizations EEF, “Britain is on the cusp of a global, technology-driven fourth industrial revolution, but the challenge comes from ensuring that we have access to the right skills in the right numbers.”  In other words, if the UK — and other countries, too — is to reach its potential, it will take workers with the right digital skills make it happen.

Europes Digital Innovators

Dr. Till Wahnbaeck, CEO of Germany’s hunger-fighting NGO Welthungerhilfe, recently penned a piece for The Guardian in which she reiterated the critical need for innovation. But what, exactly, is innovation? Her explanation is a surprisingly simple one, “Innovation is the answer to a simple question: Is there a better way?”

Apply this concept to the digital world and its meaning is exponentially amplified. Because we are just dipping a toe into the digital pool, there’s no question that there is a better way. In other words, the answers are limitless. The bigger issue? Finding the people with the ken and capacity to drive these answers. Here’s a closer look at why digital innovation matters, along with three strategies for positioning yourself to become a digital innovator in this brave new world.

Why Digital Innovation Matters

Contemporary business success largely hinges on an organization’s ability to adapt to the rapidly evolving digital space. Take companies like Amazon and Netflix, for example.  Their business models inherently rely on continuously expanding and enhancing their digital products and services to remain competitive. But this evolution doesn’t happen on its own.

Says global management consulting firm North Highland Worldwide Consulting’s Alex Bombeck, “Everyone recognizes the importance of digital in today’s business environment, but the landscape is littered by companies that have been left behind the digital curve. Leaders must figure out how to meet the high expectations of customers and deliver a unique human experience, or risk becoming obsolete.”

In addition to the usual suspects of leadership like vision and managerial skills, the next generation of business leaders will also need to understand the fundamentals of digital innovation, including the economic and technological factors powering it; the intersection of former, current and future business models; differences between digital models and how they interact with each other; best practices for organizing and leading digital product and service innovation efforts;  the role of crowdsourcing; and other topics.

Echoes North Highland Global CIO Ben Grinnell of what it takes to thrive in the new digital world, “To enable digital transformation, old legacy systems are not going to cut it. Silos must be broken down and an agile mindset needs to take hold. This means building cross-functional teams that can be nimble, move fast and quickly produce results.”

Three Steps to Becoming a Digital Innovator

Now that we’ve covered how important digital innovation is, along with why having the right skill set is critical for people looking to innovate in the digital space, a final question remains: How do you prepare yourself to become one of them? These three steps are a great starting point:

1. Be international.

Digital innovation has no physical borders. And with companies like Turner increasingly prioritizing international digital innovation, it makes sense for those looking for an inside edge to cultivate a global perspective — preferably through first-hand experience.

In fact, according to a recent Erasmus Impact Study which looks into the effects of international study on the skills and employability of students, 65 percent of employers consider international experience important in job applicants, while a full 92 percent are looking for transversal skills developed through international experiences, including “openness to and curiosity about new challenges, problem-solving and decision-making skills, confidence, tolerance toward other personal values and behaviors.”

2. Know the best course of study.

We’ve already established that international experience is a major plus. What else should you be looking for in terms of degrees and certifications? Not only will you need training in key digital technology areas, but you’ll also need to develop innovation and entrepreneurship skills.

Another plus? Real-world experience, which will allow you to practice applying your newfound skills while simultaneously building a network of professional relationships.

3. Choose the right program.

All of this may sound like a tall order, but EIT Digital Academy’s Digital Master School program delivers. This two-year program at two different universities from nine countries not only sends graduates out into the world with master’s degrees from two of Europe’s leading universities, but also a certificate from the European Institute of Technology.

What else separates EIT Digital from the rest? Students have their choice of 20 top European universities; gain a high-level technical education combined with an Innovation and Entrepreneurship minor; and build a strong professional network through internship opportunities with industrial partners and innovative startups.

The chance to specialize in the second year, meanwhile, offers in-depth studies in technical areas including cloud computing services, data science, digital media technology, embedded systems, human interaction and design, technology and architecture, security and privacy, and service design and engineering.

Says Head of the EIT Digital Master School Dr. Patrick Hartigan, “There is a heavy and increasing need for premium IT masters in Europe. This programme seeks out the best students from across the EU and beyond. It then equips them with cutting-edge technical knowledge and business skills so that they can go on to help assure Europe’s role in the global digital economy. This is a unique opportunity where learning to think as an entrepreneur is a key criterion.”

Think it all sounds perfect, but have concerns about paying for it? EIT Digital’s generous financial assistance including tuition waivers, scholarships, travel and installation support put the programs prestigious double degrees and an Innovation and Entrepreneurship EIT Certificate within your reach.

Digital innovation is all about blazing new territory in an uncharted world. Will you be following behind or at the forefront? EIT Digital Academy’s Digital Master School program can prepare you not just to be a player in the digital innovation space, but to be a game-changer.

Consider a Degree in Indigenous Studies

A December 2016 THE article highlighted the rise in both the US and Canada of indigenous language coursework. That same month, CBC News ran a story on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s prioritization of indigenous languages through the imminent proposal of the Canadian Indigenous Languages Act, while The Globe and Mail reported on Trudeau’s pledge to work toward reconciliation with the indigenous First Nations, Inuit and Métis groups through annual meetings with their leaders.

Given the media buzz over indigenous studies combined with the initiatives fueling this buzz, the question follows: Why is this field so important, and are studies in this area right for you? Read on for five reasons to consider a degree in indigenous studies.

 

1. Indigenous studies offer a more comprehensive and honest representation of history.

Indigenous people have been marginalized in countries across the globe for many years. In most cases, they’re still being marginalized today.

According to Danielle Lorenz, a PhD candidate in educational policy studies, the best way to remedy ongoing ignorance and stereotypes about indigenous people is through indigenous studies. In addition to fascinating coursework in diverse areas ranging from literature to traditional ecological knowledge, Lorenz points out that there are more general takeaways for students in this field: “They can learn about the accomplishments and contributions Indigenous peoples have made to global society, they can learn that Indigenous peoples in North America survived the world’s worst holocaust, they can learn about the true history of Canada – not as peaceful (or dull) as commonly thought, and they can learn that, today, while challenges exist – Indigenous peoples are more than just their ‘issues.’”

 

2. Indigenous studies are interdisciplinary.

Indigenous studies comprise a breadth and depth of academic fields the humanities, social sciences and beyond. Not only do students learn how to integrate this information in order to broaden their worldviews, but in doing so they also hone and refine their critical thinking skills.

These skills aren’t just applicable to directly related work in areas like indigenous governance, indigenous literature, and indigenous social work, they’re also transferrable — and highly valued by employers.

 

3. They are a necessary part of achieving reconciliation.

Many national history curricula overlook the stories of indigenous people. In Australia, for example, while Aboriginal people created a unique and impactful civilization, it is largely disregarded today. Why? Because according to an article in The Conversation, “It does not easily fit with the colonial mythologies around which popular histories of Australia have traditionally been constructed. Indeed the very use of the term ‘civilisation’ in relation to Aboriginal Australia will no doubt confound some readers. Perhaps the most insidious myth perpetuated about Aboriginal society is the idea it was ‘primitive’, ‘stone age’, ‘nomadic’, or ‘unevolved’. This type of thinking feeds racist stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes which continue to marginalize and disassociate Aboriginal Australians from the national identity. The archaeology of our continent directly refutes this type of thinking, but until recently the monuments and achievements of ancient Australia have remained largely invisible to the mainstream public.”

Top Fields to Study in the UK

For many aspiring international students, Brexit is a giant and unknowable elephant in the room: What will the UK’s vote to leave the EU mean for the country’s higher education system and opportunities for foreign students there? While it’s true that some things are bound to change, it’s also true that it would take a lot more than Brexit to wipe away the UK’s esteemed history and ongoing reputation as a world leader in higher education. The overall takeaway? Whether or not Brexit went the way you hoped it would go, there are still many reasons to choose the UK as your international study destination — especially in one of these nine top areas.

1. Marine Biology

Home to diverse marine life and some of the world’s best marine facilities, the UK is a terrific destination for students aiming to enrich their knowledge of the biology of marine organisms. Boasting five of the top 20 best universities for earth and marine sciences, according to QS World Universities, the UK also lays claims to plenty of other world-class marine biology programs, universities and institutions.

Popular UK marine biology degrees include the Master of Marine Biology at the University of Aberdeen, the MRES in Marine Biology at Plymouth University, and the MSC in Freshwater and Marine Ecology at Queen Mary University of London.

2. Medicine

The UK has been a leader in the field of medicine for hundreds of years, and many of the world’s major medical discoveries happened here. Whether you’re looking for a breadth and depth of coursework, clinical contact, the development of a global network, or access to the some of the planet’s most brilliant professors and researchers, you’ll find it here.

Degree options in medicine are also diverse, including the MA Science, Medicine, Environment & Technology at the University of Kent, the Master in Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Aberdeen, and the Master in Cancer Medicine at the University of Aberdeen.