The Importance of Persistence and Curiosity in a Knowledge Economy

Persistence and Curiosity - Knowledge Economy

Understanding how persistence and curiosity can impact one’s career goals is important for anyone at any stage of career development, particularly in light of our continuing transformation into a knowledge economy, and the critical importance of embracing lifelong learning. It is especially important to recognize how the skills you learn, the knowledge you accrue, and the experience you gain, can translate to “value” for both yourself, and for employers. Finally, it can be instructive to explore concepts like planned happenstance and growth mindset, and to investigate differences between persistence and resilience, in order to effectively identify your personal strengths, and those areas you want to improve on.

The two most important traits in a job candidate

A recent Business Insider article highlighted an episode of Reid Hoffman’s podcast “Masters of Scale” that featured Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt as the guest. In the episode, Schmidt identifies what he believes to be the two most important traits in a job candidate—persistence and curiosity.

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Digamma.ai & Udacity: How Industry and Educators can Work Together to Address the Skills Gap in AI

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to dramatically reshape our world in ways we’re only just beginning to imagine. More so than perhaps any other technology, AI stands to become the transformative force of the future.

Talent, community, and investment

Understandably, some of the brightest minds in the world are already working in the field, and every day more innovators, risk-takers, and forward-thinkers arrive to join their ranks. In many respects it’s a simple equation—incredible new technologies attract incredible new talent.

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Building Meaningful Lives: Talking Lifelong Learning at the Milken Institute Global Conference

Building Meaningful Lives
Photo Credit: Jonathan Barenboim

The Milken Institute describes itself as “a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health.” In addition to producing actionable policy initiatives, and publishing important reports focused on issues related to human, financial, and social capital, the organization holds an annual Global Conference every year.

Building Meaningful Lives

This year’s conference, with a theme of Building Meaningful Lives, concluded on May 3rd. Shernaz Daver, Udacity’s Chief Marketing Officer, spoke at the conference, on a panel called “Unbound: Retraining The American Workforce.” Joining her were the following panelists:

Arthur Bilger, Founder and CEO, WorkingNation

Allen Blue, Co-Founder and Vice President of Product Management, LinkedIn

Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, Former Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Commerce; Advisory Board Member, WorkingNation

Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO, Lumina Foundation

The goal of the panel was to tackle questions related to this premise:

“Millions of Americans have lost the jobs they were trained for as the employment needs of entire industries have shifted, and millions still in the workforce lack the skill set for tomorrow’s jobs.”

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Are You Ready For The “Prove It” Economy?

Prove It Economy Udacity

There was a time when we spoke of education in the singular. Tell me about your education. One must have a good education. She is pursuing an education. Then came the binary world—“traditional” and “alternative” educations. Running parallel to of this, but operating in a sort of educational netherworld, was the ever shape-shifting concept of “vocational” education.

Now, as we enter what is being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution (”characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres”) we are experiencing a disrupted world of learning; a kaleidoscope of theories, strategies, and approaches each trying to gain a foothold, each making a case for being the most strategic path to a secure future.

The “Prove It” Economy

As it turns out, there may be no one right answer. Each of us may instead need to assemble our own personal learning construct—an aggregate of experiences, skills, and accomplishments that together symbolize our leverageable “value” as contributing members of a workforce. A recent article in The Atlantic offers a succinct description of this new reality:

“The country has entered a “prove it” economy in which codified skills are currency.”

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“Valuable Skills” and What This Means For The Future Of Learning

 

A recent CNBC article made the point clearly and succinctly—”There’s no question America has a skills gap.” Drawing on a study by the Career Advisory Board, in which 62% of the 501 hiring managers polled said that higher education students were “underprepared” to meet current skills needs, the article specifically looks at why industry giants like Google are partnering with learning providers like Udacity to address this critical challenge.

A Win-Win Learning Model?

The answer has to do with two key features of our learning model: 1) We are able to teach the most important, most relevant, most up-to-the-minute skills, and 2) Our students are able to turn their learnings around quickly, and demonstrate their proficiencies to prospective employers in tangible, meaningful ways. The rapidity and efficiency of this agile model results in uniquely prepared learners getting fast-tracked into critical open roles the moment they open.

At face value, this is a win-win for all—industry makes clear the skills they’re seeking, learning providers build laser-focused programs that teach those skills in targeted ways, students accrue desirable skills, and organizations hire those students.

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Beyond the Binary: Education, Disruption, and The Learning Economy

Udacity Education Disruption

The world of education is full of binary arguments, with perhaps the broadest and most tenacious being the ongoing debate around “traditional” vs. “non-traditional” systems. Other examples and variations include “academic” vs. “vocational”; “online” vs. “classroom”; “university” vs. “non-university”; and “public” vs. both “private” and “charter.” But when it comes to education, it’s not about “traditional” vs. “non-traditional” anymore, and true education disruption means going beyond the binary to promote lifelong learning for a learning economy.

Beyond The Binary

Many educational futurists would likely agree that these binaries are no longer truly relevant to the issues we face in education today. In a recent article by Dr. Liz Alexander (Co-founder, Leading Thought) entitled Women of Foresight: Changes in Education for Future Student Success, Anne Boysen (Founder, After the Millennials) refers to “an artificial boundary between theoretically and practically-based education”:

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Lifelong Learning and the Future of Work

Lifelong learning, Udacity

Job opportunities continue to grow in emerging spaces such as virtual reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles. At the same time, existing roles in fields from healthcare to finance are changing dramatically as new tools and technologies are adopted. The concept of lifelong learning is accordingly transforming from a discretionary aspiration to a career necessity. No longer is it a supplemental luxury to learn new skills, and no longer is learning new skills something you do only when you’re pursuing a significant career change. Being relevant, competitive, and in-demand in today’s fast-moving world requires an ongoing commitment to lifelong learning regardless of your role or career path.

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